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This Is Our Fave Folding Tip From Marie Kondo's New Netflix Show

portrait of Marie Kondo
Image by mbg Creative x Gary Gershoff / Getty
January 3, 2019

"I'm so excited—because I love mess," Marie Kondo smiles into the camera to kick-start her American television debut, Tidying Up, which premiered on Netflix on January 1.

Trust the world's favorite organizer to turn a show all about folding and tidying into a viral hit. Dubbed by some to be "Netflix's next Queer Eye," the series spotlights one household per episode and follows its residents in their quest to find simplicity under piles and piles of stuff. It speaks to those of us looking to get organized in the new year, providing both entertainment (it's hard not to fall in love with Kondo's gentle, charming way of delivering harsh advice) and tangible tips on how to get better at letting go.

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When mbg polled a handful of professional organizers, they all agreed that Kondo's insistence on finding joy is smart: It gives people a simple "yes-or-no" framework to follow to make the process less overwhelming. Another universally loved facet of the Kondo method? Its emphasis on the perfect fold.

How Kondo says you should be folding your scarves.

Episode 6, which follows LA-based couple Aaron and Sehnita and their two young kids, is a lesson in folding etiquette. When talking about her veritable mountain of clothes, Sehnita says she feels overwhelmed by her shawls in particular, which are nods to her Pakistani heritage. She doesn't wear them as often as she'd like to because the way they're stored makes them difficult to see.

Kondo then offers up a new way to store scarves and shawls: Instead of hanging them or stacking them vertically, store them side-by-side in an open box, like you would socks or T-shirts. Fold each scarf in half lengthwise, making sure the fringe is at the bottom. Then, loosely roll down until the scarf can stand upright in a box and the fringe is on the inside of the roll. This way, you'll protect the fringe and avoid unwanted wrinkles. Place similarly sized scarves close together in your box.

Kondo explains the reasoning behind using boxes for seasonal accessories in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, writing, "When you can open the drawer and see everything that's inside, it's really useful… Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are similar in type." She also cautions against storing colder-weather items like scarves away during warmer months. Keeping them easily accessible in your closet throughout the year will mean you don't forget about them and leave them to collect dust.

And if you run into a wall when deciding which accessories to keep and which ones to part with, Kondo has a tip for that too: "If you feel stuck while tidying, try to clear the air," she says on her show. "Create a sound that has a great vibration. Light a candle. Spray an aromatic room spray. Lighting some incense is also an option. By creating smoke, you will purify the space." She herself does this every single day to clear up physical and mental space to keep moving forward.

This year, may all of your folding and decluttering endeavors look and smell this good.

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Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.