Netflix series ‘Tidying Up’ sparks joy at Hotline thrift stores

By on February 14, 2019

Tammy Cross, general manager of Hotline Thrift Stores, shows off new offerings at Hotline Too! in Nags Head. (Dee Langston)

A popular Netflix series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” has sparked joy for a local organization that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The show, which promises to help people “tidy their spaces by choosing joy,” may have contributed in an uptick of donations to Outer Banks Hotline’s five thrift stores, keeping staff busier than usual after the holidays.

“Usually we get a break this time of year, but I haven’t noticed one,” said Tammy Cross, the general manager of Hotline’s five thrift stores. Donations just keep coming, she said.

At Hotline Pink thrift shop in Kitty Hawk, a row of donations several feet deep ran the length of the building before it opened on a recent Monday. “There were days that we couldn’t bring it all inside,” Cross said.

“It’s wonderful because that’s how we make our money,” she added. Thrift shop profits help fund all of Hotline’s programs, including a 24-hour crisis hotline and a safe house.

Keri Calbio, the manager of Hotline Too, said she’s also noticed an increase in donations. She’s watched all eight episodes of the home makeover show, which premiered Jan. 1.

“I like it,” she said of the series. “It’s interesting and makes me feel good about my own clutter. It gets you in the mood to clean stuff up and make it look better.”

Keri Calbio, manager of Hotline Too in Nags Head, tackles a cart of miscellaneous items. (Dee Langston)

In the Netflix series, best-selling author Marie Kondo pitches the KonMari method of tidying, which involves organizing things by category, rather than location.

The first category Kondo addresses is clothing. She suggests viewers handle each item, and then decide if it “sparks joy.” If it doesn’t, it should be thanked and discarded. If it does spark joy, she offers a specific way to fold and store it, ever cheerful in her approach. “Folding clothes is so much fun,” Kondo says frequently during the series.

At the Nags Head store, Calbio noted that usually, donations fall into three categories — clothing, toys and sports equipment.

However, she’s recently noticed more miscellaneous items. The KonMari method refers to miscellaneous items as komono, and apparently, people on the Outer Banks have a lot of it. Or did.

Friday afternoon, Calbio and Cross were surrounded by boxes and bags of Tupperware, plastic cups, random utensils, pots and pans, small appliances and a plethora of coffee mugs as they sorted through the morning’s leavings, which included four large boxes of kitchen items.

Books are another category Kondo addresses. After piling the books on the floor, Kondo recommends tapping them to wake them up. Then, each book is handled. If it sparks joy, it’s kept. If it doesn’t, the KonMari method suggests thanking it before sending it away.

Hotline Too has plenty of books that may spark joy for their new owners. (Dee Langston)

At the Nags Head store, thankful readers have filled almost an entire room with books that apparently didn’t spark joy. Bins and boxes of books are stacked on floor-to-ceiling shelves, and shopping carts filled with books are parked around the room.

Staff has worked diligently to organize the space, Cross said. “This is tame compared to what it’s been like,” she added.

Connie Croom, a Hotline volunteer, said she agrees that donations have been on the uptick since the Netflix show began airing, and is appreciative of the show’s message.

“That thing’s not bringing me joy, so I’m throwing it out,” she said with a laugh.

To learn more about Outer Banks Hotline, including how to volunteer for the thrift shops’ current busy season, visit Outer Banks Hotline.

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