My Love/Hate Relationship with the Netflix show Tidying Up


I’m currently in the throes of a love/hate relationship with the Netflix show, Tidying Up.

It’s focused on author and “tidying expert” (not a job that was suggested to me by my high school guidance counselor) Marie Kondo, as she helps individuals and families declutter and organize their homes according to her method..

Here’s how it goes: you pick a category of things in your home and pile them all in one place – she suggests starting by piling every single clothing item onto your bed – and choose to keep only the ones that “spark joy”. As you move through your belongings, category by category, you are curating a home filled with things that bring you joy.

I love this show because we’re in the process of getting ready to move into a new home in the spring, and I don’t want to go through all the effort of packing up and moving things that we don’t need. I’m hating it because I’m being forced to face all our belongings, item by item. That takes time and effort that I don’t really feel like putting forth after a day at work and getting my family tucked in for the night. My husband isn’t necessarily loving the...ahem...encouragement I’m giving him to do the same with his belongings, and it seems that every toy, Popsicle stick and dried up tub of Play-Doh in our house brings our kids joy. The process is not for the faint of heart.

One night, as I was procrastinating my tidying, I started thinking about the non-stuff part of my life that bring me joy. Building LEGOS with my kids, digging into the Bible, baking bread, reading fiction books, praying with my friends from life group, and living life with quite possibly the best humans God ever created – the fine folks in middle and high school I get the insane privilege to spend time with. Then I made a different list of things that drain joy from my life. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say it started with laundry and ended with scrolling on my phone.

Now don’t get me wrong – some of the things that we find no joy in are simply tasks that need to be accomplished. Taxes, for example – no joy, but I’d also like to avoid getting chased down by the IRS. You’ll never be able to get rid of all the joyless tasks in your life. But what I think we can, and should, do is to be intentional about planning more of the things that bring us joy. Real joy, too, not just fleeting enjoyment.

As I read through Bible passages that referenced joy while I was thinking about this, I noticed something – so many of them reference a direct response of joy because of our Lord.

Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place. - 1 Chronicles 16:27

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. - Psalm 5:11

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. - Psalm 16:11

Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. - Psalm 21:6

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. - Psalm 43:4

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. - Matthew 13:44

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. - Luke 2:10

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. - John 15:11-12

There’s more. Lots more. A couple hundred references to the joy that comes from a relationship with God.

The question that was nagging me was this: if I’m willing to upturn every square corner of my home because of a TV show, will I be equally convinced to do the same to my daily calendar based on the truth I find in the Bible?

To be honest, this is still a work in progress in my own life. But what I’ve found is that when I prioritize Christ in my day, it brings so much more joy than a well-organized closet. I have a better perspective on the people around me and can see them with the love of Christ instead of the impatience caused by my hurry. I am spending more time talking with my kids about Jesus, and they are growing in their knowledge and understanding of Him as we have more regular conversations. I can approach my daily schedule with an eye to eternity instead of just trying to get through a to-do list. These benefits are all birthed from a firm foundation of a better understanding of God’s character and His grace in my life. And the joy from this focus on Christ lasts well past laundry day.

Jenna joined the Student Ministry team in September 2008 and serves as the Middle School Group Life Director.

Prior to coming to Orchard Hill, she worked in camp ministry in Santa Cruz, California, but is a Pittsburgh girl at heart.  She has her undergraduate degree in Student Ministry.

She and her husband, Brady, live in Valencia with their son and twin daughters.