Donation spike credited to Netflix flick

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The stacks of gently used clothing waiting to be sorted at In The Image in Grand Rapids are much higher than they normally are this time of year.

The windfall of donated clothing is much appreciated at the Division Avenue charity, which provides clothing for free to those who need it most.

“We’re serving thousands of households each year, and it’s really for people who are either in an emergency or how are just trying to make ends meet,” said Bethann Egan, executive director of In The Image.

The latest reality show fad appears to have something to do with the increase in donations. It’s called “Tidying Up.” In each episode of the Netflix show, organization expert Marie Kondo brings her philosophy of clutter clearance to desperate dwellers. Each item undergoes her namesake test to determine whether it “sparks joy.”

“Really seeing if it sparks joy for you,” Egan explained the method. “And if it doesn’t, why are you holding on to it? Give it to somebody else and maybe it will spark joy for them.’

Egan says it appears viewers are responding.    

“I actually just had a call yesterday from somebody and they said they had a whole car full. Their whole house did it over the weekend,” Egan said.

In The Image is not the only West Michigan charity to see an increase in donations. Local Goodwill stores saw a 16 percent jump in January, much of the increase credited to “Tidying Up.” The Salvation Army has also seen an increase in donations.

In The Image has taken to social media promote the idea.

“People can post their comments. They can share their ups and downs of tidying up. We’d love to see their drawers and their closets and see what good has come from it,” Egan said.

Just how long the show’s popularity continues is anyone’s guess. Reality shows come and go. What’s hot one minute is gone the next. But Egan hopes the message viewers get out of decluttering continues even after the next big thing comes along.   

“We would love people to not hold on to the stuff that doesn’t make them happy anymore,” Egan said. “Let it make someone else happy.”

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