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'Marie Kondo Effect' Leaves Bay Area Thrift Stores Swamped With Donations

CONCORD (KPIX 5) -- It's well known that living in a cluttered house creates stress, but now, it's sparked the creation of a hit TV show that has people rethinking all the "stuff" in their lives.

The new Netflix show "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" has struck a nerve with people living in cluttered homes. In it, Kondo, the tiny soft-spoken Japanese organizer who speaks almost no English, helps Americans with strategies to get rid of excess junk clogging up their homes and psyches.

In his Concord garage, Frank Stratton has nearly every woodworking tool known to man and a few that man probably forgot about.

"I know I have a lot of stuff here, that's for sure," Frank said. "But I've always said you can never have enough tools!"

Frank may be happy with lots of stuff around, but it turns out a lot of people aren't.

Kondo advocates only keeping things that "spark joy" in your life, and as a result, the Hospice Thrift Shoppe in Walnut Creek and thrift stores all around the Bay Area are being inundated with donations.

What's being called "The Marie Kondo Effect" is making it hard for some stores to deal with all the incoming material. Many have begun limiting when, and how much, they will accept.

"There will be sometimes where somebody's going to have to put a sign out, you know, just for the day, or they'll limit per box per person so they don't have to turn everybody away," said Nicole Kannier, manager of the Hospice Thrift Shoppe.

Like Kondo, Kiera Rain is also a professional organizer who helped Valerie Zelmer de-clutter her Martinez home. She says a "minimalist" feel makes a house more tranquil.

"It's all about helping the person feel in control of their space and the stuff not controlling them," Rain said. "And it's about the emotions behind the stuff not about the actual stuff."

She says a little de-cluttering would probably help everybody, because even if the clutter doesn't bother you, there's a good chance it bothers someone else in the house.

The Marie Kondo show just debuted on January 1st, but thrift stores say it is already causing donation levels they usually only see during the "Spring Cleaning" months.

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