Tidying up and decluttering isn’t a new thing—especially once spring arrives—and it’s reached new heights of awareness thanks to Marie Kondo and her Netflix series. I admit, I’ve used Kondo’s tip for folding t-shirts and it’s totally reorganized my dresser. But where it’s easy for me to clean up and get rid of my own stuff, the thought of doing it for someone else gives me the sweats and heart palpitations.
That’s where professional downsizer Jane Veldhoven comes in.
Premiering Monday at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on VisionTV, The Big Downsize follows Veldhoven as she helps two Canadian families as they seek to declutter, clean up and ship out.
For the MacNeil family, that involves going through 50 years of accumulated things and memories in their childhood home in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. With their mother passed away and their father living with one of his children, four of the five siblings have convened with thoughts of selling the family home. But to do that means a major cleanup.
It’s a daunting task, and not all of the MacNeil kids agree on how items should be divvied up. Throw in busy lives and nerves get jangled.
Meanwhile, Pam and Scott are on a different path. The Halifax couple is dissolving their marriage of over 20 years. The pair have a monumental task ahead: emptying a house full of items that were tied to them as a couple. Health issues have plagued Pam, adding another layer of stress to an already emotional situation. Things like key pieces of furniture are fairly easy to divide, but what about photos, clothing and the toys their son played with and, now, their grandkids?
“Even though downsizing seems like it’s just about getting rid of stuff, the stuff is usually a symbol of emotional chaos, something that’s happened in somebody’s life,” Veldhoven says during Episode 1. “In the end, that’s what we see physically but it doesn’t have a lot to do with that. People keep stuff for 20 different reasons.”
What sets the five episodes of The Big Downsize apart from other tidying-up television series or segments are the stories. This isn’t just about holding up a cracked old toy to the camera and wondering why it was kept. Tell Tale Productions, who previously made Growing Sense for AMI-tv, delves into the stories of these two families. The result is an emotional journey of togetherness, laughter, memories, tears and, ultimately, letting go.
The Big Downsize airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on VisionTV.
Images courtesy of VisionTV.