Charity shops across the UK have been enjoying a bumper haul after a Netflix decluttering show became a viral sensation.
‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo’ sees the Japanese organising aficionado and author help families clear out their living space by asking them to keep only what “sparks joy”.
And as viewers inspired by her methods share pictures of bags of clothes and other items they are getting rid of – as well as their immaculately tidy drawers – on social media, the UK’s leading charity retailers are reaping the benefits.
A spokeswoman for the Salvation Army said shops generally see an increase in donations at this time of year, but that shop managers had been reporting even more than usual.
She told HuffPost UK that in Redhill, Surrey, the shop manager had reported more than double the number of donations received through the door compared to nine weeks ago.
The charity’s Peterlee shop in County Durham has also been inundated with handouts this week, with the shop manager left wondering what could have caused it. At the charity’s Morpeth shop, which is one of their Boutique stores, they have had lots of donations and everyone is talking about the programme.
While in Ormskirk, West Lancashire, volunteers have seen an increase in donations in the last couple of weeks – particularly of VHS tapes, which volunteers believe might be as a result of the series.
Karen Bertram, the charity’s retail manager in Tamworth, Staffordshire, told HuffPost UK she had received a large donation from a man who directly quoted the TV show as his inspiration.
She said: “A man dropped quite a bit of stuff off on Tuesday and said it was because his mum was having a clear out after watching that Marie Kondo show. I haven’t watched it myself but he said his mum had loads and loads of stuff and that we’d be getting a lot more.”
The man had brought in plant pots, plates and blankets and asked what other items the shop would accept.
Bertram added that in the last two weeks her donations have doubled in the shop. “I didn’t know why, but it could be to do with this TV show. A lot of people are bringing in clothes, books and bric-a-brac.”
The manager admitted it had meant she and her volunteers had been really busy. “We’re just not used to getting so much,” she added.
One shop manager for disability charity Scope, who manages the Cambridge branch, says she knows when someone has watched the show because their donations are immaculately presented in Kondo’s “signature fold”.
Another manager at the charity’s Bishop Auckland site in the north-east said she loves the show so much, she has brought in 10 bags of donations to her own shop after a de-clutter session at home.
Marc Spence, executive director of retail at Scope, said: “Over the last six weeks we have noticed a year-on-year increase in donations to our shop of 5%.
“This month, we’re being told that that donations are coming in immaculately placed in bags, in Marie Kondo’s signature fold. And, because these items are folded so neatly, more donations have been put into the donation bags than usual.
“With over 200 shops, and an efficient distribution system we ensure that all our delivered to where they are needed.”
Spence added that each bag of donated goods raises around £20 for the charity’s work with disabled people and their families.
Mike Taylor, commercial director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said their donations had also been on the up, but that it was too soon to tell if it was directly the result of the TV programme.
However, he said he was sure people donating had been inspired by Kondo’s “popular decluttering mantra” and was glad people were seeing charity shops as the sustainable solution for disposing of pre-loved items and preventing them from ending up in landfill.
Last year, the charity turned unwanted items into £30m that could be spent on research to improve the lives of those seven million people across the UK struggling every day with heart and circulatory diseases.
Taylor told HuffPost: “The whole decluttering theme is something we have been seen as a trend anyway and I think the whole Marie Kondo thing has just really added momentum to something that has obviously been going on for a while. It’s been really good for us.”
He said that the charity doesn’t just accept clothes and books. “Nearly half our sales come from furniture and homewares and obviously that means January is always a busy time of the year for us anyway because it’s the time of year that people often buy new sofas and other furniture.”
In the show, which has been a surprise smash hit, Kondo helps American families “who are at a crossroads, but willing to tackle the clutter holding them back” other a period of a few weeks.
The tidying expert does this using her ‘KonMari’ method, which breaks down items by category such as clothes, books (which has proven controversial) and kitchenware, before moving on to sentimental items.
The show has become so popular that famous fans have been joining in, including TV presenter Davina McCall, who took to Twitter to decide whether or not to throw out a bloody prop from the movie Dead Set after watching the show.