‘Tidying Up’ Frenzy Sparks Business (and Joy) for Local Decluttering Service
Decluttering expert Michele Vig picked up 15,000 new Instagram followers this month—almost doubling the social media following for her year-old Edina-based business, Neat Little Nest. That’s the joy of being a Marie Kondo disciple in 2019.
Perhaps even more than her bestselling 2014 book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Kondo’s new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, is inspiring a national purge that has thrift stores running out of shelf space.
For Neat Little Nest, the first Minnesota business to get certified in the KonMari Method, the halo effect is brighter than Vig could have hoped. Client inquiries have spiked since Netflix released the first season of Tidying Up on New Year’s Day, along with Vig’s social media followers.
“I’ve definitely seen more engagement from my community on Instagram,” she says.
Of course, Vig knows first-hand Kondo’s power to inspire. Reading Kondo’s book gave Vig the idea for what she wanted to do after her tenure as Caribou Coffee’s vice president of strategic organization design ended in March 2017. She’d started a blog about decluttering and tidying a few years prior, but her day job had kept her from maintaining it. Then in early 2017, just as Vig was leaving Caribou, she learned Kondo was launching a KonMari Consultant Seminar, offering people the chance to get certified in the KonMari Method.
Kondo’s way of folding clothes into “files” that stand on their side gets a lot of air time on her show, but the crux of her method entails discarding items that don’t “spark joy” when you hold them. “People around the world have been drawn to this philosophy,” Kondo writes on her website, “not only due to its effectiveness, but also because it places great importance on being mindful, introspective and forward looking.”
That spoke to Vig, who says she’s always appreciated keeping personal spaces tidy.
“I grew up in kind of a cluttered house,” Vig says. “So I’ve always found myself trying to make some sense of my parents’ house.”
Even in her professional life, Vig was the person who fixed messes.
“I made this choice because I wanted the back half of my life to look a lot different than the first half,” says Vig. “I wanted to bring my strengths to help other people thrive.”
Vig became one of the first 50 people certified in the KonMari Method in 2017. She’s been building Neat Little Nest since. The Netflix show is the best advertising she could never buy.
“It shows a lot of empathy, it shows a nice storyline between the people and how much decluttering can help transform lives, I love all that,” Vig says of the show. The “spark joy” message comes across well on TV, she adds.
But Vig says the show focuses on decluttering, and not much on the organizing aspect of the business – which is crucial to her work at Neat Little Nest. She doesn’t go into peoples’ homes and clean their mess; she takes them, hands-on, through a system of where things go, so that they can keep things neat and not get to the point of needing to declutter again.
“Everything has a home,” Vig says. “and if everything has a home, then it’s not really hard to stay tidy.”
Michele Vig, working in a home. (Photo courtesy of Neat Little Nest)
A peek into the work of professional tidier Michele Vig of Neat Little Nest:
- The majority of “miscellaneous” category issues involve the kitchen
- The mudroom is the second most problematic “miscellaneous” area
- Clients say the category the most hate to organize is paper
- KonMari doesn’t happen overnight. Clothing alone takes 5-6 hours, Vig estimates. She typically visits a home up to five times to complete the job
- Most of her clients are executives, or executives’ spouses
Vig’s quick tips for organizing:
- Separate decluttering and organizing. Declutter first, organize second, always.
- Take things out of store-bought packaging and get it into a more suitable storage container.
- Learn how to file fold – Kondo’s method of folding clothes so they stand up and can be seen like a file, instead of a stack.
- Label everything, so the whole family knows what goes where.