Thrift stores, shoppers seeing spike in donated treasures as ‘Tidying Up’ gains popularity

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Marie Kondo is having a moment thanks to the new Netflix series devoted to her method of tidying up and decluttering a home.

As people get rid of stuff, thrift shops have noticed what’s being called the “Marie Kondo effect” — a spike in donations.

So who’s buying all this extra stuff? Gwen Hefner, an experienced thrifter with an eye for design, is one of them.

“I love to look up all kinds of things whether it’s looking for a new desk or rug or chair,” Hefner said.

Even on the coldest of days, the home design blogger for The Makerista has a knack for finding the hottest deals.

Gwen Hefner

“I’m thrilled when I find something in a thrift store that I’m going to love and cherish, that somebody didn’t see the value in,” she said.

For this thrift shopper, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

“People want the new thing. They want to go to Nebraska Furniture Mart and get what everyone else has, but that’s not me,” Hefner said. “I love getting people’s old things.”

Those treasures can be found throughout her Blue Springs home.

Hefner said the thrifting trend has increased in recent years, making those treasures harder to find.

So when the Netflix show “Tidying Up” puts a boost on secondhand inventory, “I’m excited if there’s more treasures to be had,” she said.

For secondhand stores like Goodwill, the side-effect of the show’s popularity can only be a good thing.

Marie Kondo (Photo courtesy Denise Crew/Netflix)

“This didn’t spark joy for whatever reason, but it might spark joy for somebody else,” said Max Cortinaz with the Goodwill in Blue Springs.

Although Goodwill can’t say for certain whether the recent bump in donations can be attributed to the “Kondo-Effect” or just a spike from some New Year’s resolutions, they’re happy to see more donors parting with old items.

“You can help satisfy somebody else’s life with whatever you just pushed away, which is essentially what the show is about and what our mission is,” Cortinaz said.

Hefner agrees and thinks that the show’s influence can only help make us love our homes more.

“Americans have so much stuff, more than we can ever need,” she said. “And I do think that it’s a great thing if it helps people release some of that stuff and find peace and joy. I think that’s wonderful.”

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