Marie-Kondo effect: Goodwill doesn't want your junk

For some Goodwill and thrift stores across the country the “Marie-Kondo effect,” or the uptick in donations seen after the launch of the Netflix reality series on decluttering, has become somewhat problematic. Since the show launched, many secondhand shops are receiving mass quantities of unsellable stuff — from moth-infested clothing to broken appliances and toys.

In “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” which made its Netflix debut in January, Japanese home organization guru Kondo teaches viewers how to rid their lives of clutter by parting with things that, as she puts it, no longer “spark joy.” A number of Goodwill markets saw a year-over-year spike in donations that they attribute directly to the show, says Lauren Lawson-Zilai, senior director of public relations at Goodwill Industries International.

“The Houston market was up 22 percent; donations in Roanoke, Virginia, rose 20 percent, Washington, D.C. was up 30 percent; and Grand Rapids, Michigan went up nearly 20 percent,” Lawson-Zilai says.

But many Goodwill and second-hand shops say the increased volume has brought with it more headaches and extra work, as people are donating things that nobody would want.

“If someone gives us something that we can’t use, like a broken refrigerator that we have to take to the landfill, or a stroller that’s been recalled, or shredded or ripped clothing, we do our best to educate them about the transaction, but they can get testy,” says Salvation Army’s national spokesperson Lt. Col. Ward Matthews.

A spokesperson for Netflix did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.

Getting ready to do your own spring cleaning? Should you donate, sell or toss it? Here is expert advice on how to know what could be another man’s treasure, vs. what belongs on the curb.

What to donate vs. throw out

Ask yourself: Is the item(s) you’re donating in working condition? Usable? Does it look appealing? Is it sellable?

“It’s a delicate dance - the donor needs to see their donations as a ‘gift’ that will have a positive effect on other people’s lives,” says Matthew. “Gifts are more cherished when they have sentiment behind them.”

In other words, do everyone a favor and throw the junk to the curb.

What to sell

“When people are purging, they have no idea what might be of value and what’s valueless because they don’t collect and aren’t following the market,” says 20th century design expert Reyne Hirsch. “Use the internet to find out. Just type in a couple of key words on eBay and see if anything pops up that is similar to what you have.”

No luck? “Call a local auction house or antique shop and find out,” says Hirsch.

This advice is the same for when you are shopping at estate sales, and/or deciding what to do with inherited items. Among those less obvious items that are currently yielding a pretty penny: costume jewelry, gold jewelry, vintage furniture, designer goods and even things like children’s vintage shoes, old video games and early Apple computers, says Hirsch.


To unload more modern items, like late model electronics or gently-used clothing, ”try using an app like Mercari, which lets you easily sell your once-loved items right from your smartphone," says personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, the founder of

Vera Gibbons is the Founder of which produces “NoPo” - a free daily newsletter that covers and curates non-political news only within Consumer/Personal Finance; Health & Wellness; Fashion/Beauty; Fitness/Diet.