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A popular new Netflix show is spurring people across the country to clean up the chaos in their lives, but the craze is also having a huge impact in central Iowa.

Marie Kondo is a Japanese professional organizer who stars in the series “Tidying Up.”


“I saw one episode, and then all of a sudden, I was taking things out of drawers,” said Ashley Hartkorn, who like any working mother with young children, barely has time to keep up with the chaos of her cluttered West Des Moines home.

“I have always just told my husband, ‘I need one room where I can just shut the door,’ but then it just ends up piling up and piling up and then it just ends up a huge disaster,” she said.

She posted videos on Instagram that show one room in her home last month was “a hot mess before,” but now, the craft room looks like a completely different space.

“I ended up getting boxes and putting labels on them,” Hartkorn said.


She said she joined the Kondo craze after watching the show, which promotes and organized, minimalist lifestyle in a world in which we’re often inundated with stuff.

“Any time I would walk in here, it was just anxiety before,” Hartkorn said.

Kondo preaches purging – unless an item “sparks joy.”

“It’s something that has resonated with me where I really, I find joy in the things I am actually keeping around,” Hartkorn said.

From folding clothes a certain way to making sure everything has a home, Hartkorn has transformed each room of her house -- even the dreaded pantry.

“We ended up getting bins for each category,” she said.

Everything is more organized, and there’s less clutter after Hartkorn donated three car loads full of stuff.

“Starting to thinjk about it as it could bring someone else joy really helped me part with some of that stuff,” Hartkorn said.

Nonprofit organizations, such as Dress for Success in Des Moines, are seeing double the donations because of the show.

Dress for Success helps more than 300 women a year who are getting back into the workforce.

“About 50 percent of the women that we serve have never owned a suit before,” said Jody White, with Dress for Success.

Now, donated suits and professional attire are coming in nonstop, helping dress women for job interviews. Many of them are overcoming addiction or are domestic abuse survivors looking for a second chance.

“From the moment they put on that suit jacket, their shoulders go back,” White said. “Their confidence just changes. They are really ready to go into that interview.”

The newfound obsession with “Tidying Up” is filling up Dress for Success’s inventory.

“All of this has been organized by size, by color, the blouses, the jackets,” White said.

If you think that’s a lot of clothes, resale shops including Plato’s Closet and Style Encore can barely keep up with people purging their closets.

“Our back storage room has filled up really fast,” co-owner Kelsi Tedesco said. “Everybody keeps telling us they’re cleaning out and cleaning out. And with snow days, it’s giving them even more time to Marie Kondo their house.”

Tedesco said the back storage room is never this full this early in the year.

“It’s totally nuts,” she said.

Bins of shoes, shirts and jeans keep coming in.

“People are excited,” Tedesco said. “They feel better. They are getting cash for their clothes. They are cleaning out their closets and feel lighter and excited.”

Feeling lighter is brining a new sense of calm to Hartkorn. With less chaos, she has more time to focus on what matters.

“I think some of that stress is gone, and I am able to be there for my kids more,” she said.


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People are obsessed with 'Tidying Up' and it's helping nonprofits across Iowa
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