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The KonMari Method Is a Boon to Secondhand Stores and E-tailers

Secondhand stores have gotten a sizable inventory boost since Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" hit the U.S. this fall.
Storing clothes the Konmari way. Photo: iStock

Storing clothes the Konmari way. Photo: iStock

If you are an Instagram user who follows bloggers, or a media consumer who reads fashion magazines and websites, you’ve probably heard of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," written by professional organizer Marie Kondo. The book, a big hit in Japan — where Kondo is from — was released in the U.S. in October 2014 and is currently no. 1 on the New York Times best sellers list in the "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous" category.

Everyone is doing #konmari, which requires you to go through every item in your house — clothes, beauty products, dishware, pens, etc. — and identify the things that bring you joy. Whatever doesn't, you throw out. The book is currently sitting on a massive pile on my desk, because I’ve decided I will only follow the rules if my husband does the same. That’s never going to happen, so I will forever be a slob. But many others have tried it, with writers publishing stories like, “I Decluttered My Closet With The KonMari Method And Here's What Happened,” and “This Japanese Closet Clean-Out Method Is Going To Change Your Life.” There are more than 3,000 posts hashtagged #konmari on Instagram.

But the thousands — hundreds of thousands? — of KonMari adopters aren't the only ones enjoying the after-effects of their tidiness: Secondhand stores are, too.

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Secondhand e-tailer Poshmark had almost a half billion dollars of fresh inventory listed on its site in the first quarter of 2015, a 60 percent jump from the previous quarter. According to a Poshmark spokesperson, that number was much higher than what had been projected (even recognizing that the new year is always a time when people like to get rid of stuff). “For a variety of reasons, including the popularity of methods such as KonMari, women on Poshmark are already making some serious cash this year,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to Fashionista.

Donations to Goodwill in the New York-New Jersey region have also increased. Over 33.8 million pounds of goods were donated from November 2014 through February 2015, up from 30.4 million pounds over the same period in the previous year, according to the nonprofit.

Goodwill can’t confirm whether that jump has anything to do with Kondo’s book. (It’s a bit challenging to track down the former owners of 34 million pounds' worth of stuff.) But Beth Moon-Burgess, the managing owner of popular secondhand chain Beacon’s Closet — which has locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan and was parodied brilliantly on a recent episode of "Broad City" — says that the KonMari method is a hot topic on the sales floor. “I heard about it through several different people selling their clothes at the store,” she says. “They all had a ton of great stuff and, whenever I mentioned something about them getting rid of a lot, they couldn't wait to tell me about the book.”

In fact, Moon-Burgess was inspired to try KonMari herself. “As you can imagine, after over 10 years buying clothes from the public in New York, I had an incredible collection,” Burgess says. After nine hours of purging, she was able to donate two garbage bags of clothes to charity and sell a good chunk of her items to Beacon’s, which added up to $5,600 at retail. “I feel so much better and I can actually see what I have in my closet. I used to have to lean my whole body in to extract a dress.”

Apparently there’s more than one way to benefit from tidying up.