Should Christians Watch “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”?

Q: This trend of tidying up and minimizing our possessions is really great, but while watching “Tidying Up” on Netflix, I got worried when Marie Kondo started telling the homeowners to greet their house, thank their objects, and tap their books to wake them up. I want to be careful that I’m not participating in idol worship, but I also want a tidy home and I actually like some of her advice like the organization and breaking tidying down into five steps. Should Christians watch “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”?

A: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo and her Netflix series “Tidying Up” is sweeping (no pun intended!) the nation, filling thrift stores with everyone’s unwanted household clutter. Individuals and families are claiming how much more joyful they are now that their houses are mess-free! But thanking items for their service, book-tapping, and house-greeting have some Christians wondering about the Eastern, Shinto-based practices Kondo encourages her readers to follow.

What if we told you there was a Christian alternative to Kondo’s practices, and that God invites each of us into the deeply faithful practice of Christ-centered simplicity? You’re in luck! Writer and speaker Courtney Ellis (author of Uncluttered) shares her journey and experiences of uncluttering her family’s home and welcoming the Holy Spirit in:

“We prayed over each room, dedicating the house to the one who gave it to us. From the start we told our boys that it was God’s house (something that brought confusion to our five-year-old, who kept saying, “But I thought church was God’s house!”). Our dining room table was his. The guest bedroom and the kids’ bedroom and our master bedroom belonged to him. The backyard and front, the garage and the attic. Each nail, every shingle, all the wires and tiles and pipes.”

Uncluttered, Courtney Ellis

Ellis makes it clear that tidying up is not just good housekeeping–it’s biblical: “If we are slaves to our stuff or our calendars or our smart phones, we cannot also be fully devoted servants of God. Scripture is clear–we cannot serve two masters.”

Let’s not keep ourselves from simpler, tidy living. Let’s invite the Lord into our mess and let the Holy Spirit guide us instead. Happy uncluttering!

Too much stuff. Too many activities. Too much exhaustion. Too much stress. How can we sift through the busyness, the mess, and the stress to uncover the abundant life God offers? In Uncluttered, one woman shares her journey from a life of stress, stuff, and burnout to one of peace, space, and fulfillment. You’ll learn tips for paring down your possessions, simplifying your schedule, and practicing the ancient art of Sabbath.

Uncluttered is not a formula about what “stuff” you need to give up. It’s about slowing down long enough for God to remind you of his truth and what it means to be his child.

With humor, wit, and wisdom, Courtney Ellis covers topics like:

  • Stuff: Why more is not always better
  • Technology: How to ‘turn off’
  • Schedule: How to say no
  • The Secret of Simplicity
  • Sabbath: Receiving the gift of rest
  • Uncluttered Kids: Simple, soulful parenting

Uncluttered ushers you towards a lifestyle of holiness and joy in the Lord. Author Courtney Ellis’ sharp wit, clever humor, and profound insights will not only take you on an exciting journey through her walk with the Lord, but will also lead you to uniquely experience yours. Find out what happens when you simply put God first.

Paperback, approx. 220 pages, 6 x 9 inches. ISBN 978-1-62862-791-6.

About the Author

Courtney Ellis is the associate pastor for Spiritual Formation and Mission at Presbyterian Church of the Master. She holds degrees from Wheaton College, Loyola University of Chicago, and Princeton Theological Seminary, and has been published in Christianity Today Women. She is a sought-after speaker for leadership and women’s retreats, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), and young adult ministries. Courtney resides in Southern California with her family.



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