Sparking Joy

Marie Kondo seems to be the talk of the town as we kick off 2019.  In case you haven’t heard, Kondo is an organizing consultant and author from Japan.  On January 1st, Netflix released the first season of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, in which “world-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out the clutter — and choose joy.”  And for Goodwill, she has definitely sparked joy.

January is traditionally a very tough time for Goodwill. We usually don’t see many donations due to winter weather and cold temperatures.  It’s not unusual for Goodwills to struggle with inventory levels in stores, because as you know, our inventory comes from the generous donations of our community.  Lower inventory leads to fewer sales, which affects the ability to support job training and employment programs at the heart of our mission. This January has been a little different. Goodwills across the nation are seeing double digit increases in donation levels.  It is hard to ignore that Marie Kondo might be at the center of what is shaping up to be one of the best starts to a year that we have seen in a long time.

The news and social media are filled with examples of Marie Kondo’s impact on Goodwill.  We were excited to see one of our donors featured in the story about Marie Kondo. Our team has met with many local reporters as well, and even described donations coming in folded as Kondo teaches in this story.  On Twitter, everyone at Goodwill got a laugh about one particular tweet that proclaimed, “Marie Kondo is a fictional character created by Goodwill Industries to get me to donate half of everything I own”.

Six photos of lots of bagged donations that were submitted to Goodwill by donors after "Tidying Up" their homes

The method, which reminds us to keep only those items that “spark joy”, is allowing joy to extend beyond the walls of our newly organized homes and into our communities. The increase in donations is driving a positive trend in Goodwill store sales to start the year.  The result is Goodwill’s ability to provide the needed services in our local communities, through the funding of training and employment programs for individuals who come to us because they face obstacles to employment.

For those of you who have let go of items that no longer “spark joy” and brought them to Goodwill, I thank you.  For those of you who may not have taken the plunge yet to organize your home; I hope that as we go through the year, you will remember that giving to Goodwill will ultimately spark joy for someone who needs the “hand up, not a hand out” that Goodwill provides.


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