Why is tidying up sexy?

Le Futiloscope isn’t saying it, that’s for sure. And don’t think either that we’re ready to do a number with a cute little maid and a feather duster… This astonishing phrase was served up by one of the protagonists of the Art of Tidying Up.  But it’s the Netflix series that sends the famous Marie Kondo (major guru in the battle against disorder, with her world-wide best-seller) to re-educate American families in distress…which is astonishing on many levels.  It’s ugly, (even “mariekondo-ized” the participants’ houses are still atrocious), it’s macho (to organize is apparently a thing for girls or young gays)…and it’s ridiculous!  You have to see Marie screaming “Hiiiii” for joy – “I’m just so excited!!” when she arrives at her patients houses, or roll around in happiness on a carpet finally liberated from its mess, or “waking up” one by one books asleep in a messy bookcase.  But the most astonishing yet is the effect of this avatar on the psyche of her fans (none are masculine alas)…Le Futiloscope Paris surprised ourselves one evening – our better half being away on a business trip -- by folding all our T-shirts vertically, like the famous method KonMari.  All this, of course, after eradicating those “that no longer give us joy ”.  One of our friends, opening the lingerie drawer of her adolescent, couldn’t believe her eyes:  a battalion of panties all standing at attention, arranged by color and purged of those no longer useful!

At the basic level, this dear Marie in spite of her school-girl collars and her kawai expressions, rings true:  given the accumulations generated by chronic over-consummation (and Europeans are minor players compared to the guinea pigs in the Netflix series…), who doesn’t dream of throwing out all that stuff!  Who isn’t just a bit ashamed of the waste engendered by all that accumulated junk stuffed willy-nilly into our closets?Marie Kondo isn’t the first one to extol the “mens sana in casa sana” – just take a look at the famous US site from the 1990’s clutterbug.me .  But she has , of the Japanese touch, this figure of Zen minimalism, this zest of domestic animism – you thank items before kicking them out – who makes the task seem “profound”.  That’s the interesting aspect of the show, the penitents of chaos, in the end, all take a step on their “personal journey” very touching:  why do I save everything, why do I cram everything behind doors, all that has enslaved my personality…Marie Kondo, spiritual chief, besides being a formidable business chief who trains consultants throughout the whole world and sells her “komono” boxes (for junk you can’t categorize) at an exorbitant price? 

But there’s more.  Under the designation, now officially recognized, of Cleaning Influencers, new Instagram stars have emerged recently, by simply posting photos of perfect and immaculate sinks and recounting stories about cleaning bathrooms…like the Canadian Melissa Maker (52,000 followers on @cleanmyspace) or the English woman @lynsey_queenofclean (with 109,000 aficionados and her edifying mantras “Happiness is a freshly cleaned house”, 165 likes).  Another British woman, Sophie Hinchliffe, alias @mrshinchhome bedevils 1.8 millions disciples  (the Hinch army) with her fun approach to…cleaning – the dirty word is finally is out.  Because that’s what it’s about:  under all that digital varnish, hello the alienation of the domestic goddess, this outdated notion that we would love to bury!  Amusing nicknames that the terrifying Mrs. Hinch gives to her favorite sponges have gained widespread acceptance, it’s now acceptable to talk about scouring pads apparently.  But there again, there’s more… Following the example of Beauty influencers touting a particular brand of mascara, the enthusiasm of “Cleaning Queens” for a sponsored antibacterial spray is one thing!  But the numerous fans claiming to have found “inner peace” thanks to those cool videos of Clorox raids makes us a little nervous.  You too?