“You could say that tidying orders the mind while cleaning purifies it.”
– Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo (@MarieKondo, also known as “KonMari”) is a Japanese organizing consultant, author, and entrepreneur.
She developed a revolutionary method of organizing known as the KonMari Method, which consists of gathering together everything you own, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that “spark joy” — as well as choosing a dedicated place to store them. Going far beyond a typical tidying how-to, her method is a way of life and a state of mind.
Marie captured the findings in her mega-best-selling books, including The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and its follow-up, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. Her books have sold more than seven million copies and have been published in more than forty countries.
Kondo’s methods have become so famous that her last name has become a verb, ‘Kondo-ing,’ and people who share her specific values are referred to as ‘Konverts.’ She has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.
Marie is also the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of KonMari Media Inc. (“KMI”), a US-based startup with a mission to “Organize the World” by combining the power of technology and a network of Konverts and partner organizations. KMI also recently launched a KonMari Consultant Training Program and certification process.
We dig into Shintoism, Marie’s upbringing, specific details of her method, and much more.
Want to hear another podcast about changing your state of mind and increasing happiness? — Listen to this episode with Pete Adeney, AKA “Mr. Money Mustache.” Learn how Pete accomplished early retirement by optimizing all aspects of his lifestyle for maximal fun at minimal expense, and how he used basic index-fund investing to live off a mere $25-27,000 per year, and not feel in want of anything. (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Marie Kondo:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering by Marie Kondo
- Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- What is Shinto?
- The Origin Story of Marie Kondo’s Decluttering Empire by Barry Yourgrau, The New Yorker
- Is It Possible to Declutter When You Have Kids? See Why Minimalism Expert Marie Kondo Says Yes by Lauren Levy, Popsugar
- Marie Kondo: Basic Folding Method
- Nyanko Aruaru
- Hira Shimizu Yaki
- Marie shares her background story: where and how she grew up. [08:02]
- Marie has always had a fascination with organizing — even arranging books in the classroom during recess when her classmates went outside to play. Where did this fascination originate? [10:01]
- We discuss Marie’s time as an attendant maiden at a Shinto shrine. [11:53]
- How did Marie switch from “a discarding machine” to saving only things that give joy? [15:02]
- When did tidying turn from hobby to livelihood? [19:47]
- What is so important about “thanking” objects that are being discarded, and when did this start for Marie? [20:44]
- What part of the KonMari Method do American fans tend to neglect? [24:03]
- What are the most difficult possessions Marie has given up. [25:31]
- Has anything in Marie’s thinking or process changed since becoming a mother? [26:12]
- Organizing is not just for making your house clean or your room tidy; the end goal is to clarify your values. [29:50]
- How would Marie recommend dealing with a family member who is a hoarder or clutter magnet? [30:20]
- Are there any routines or practices Marie would use to instill kids with the habit of tidiness? [35:14]
- How is the KonMari Method different from Minimalism? How does it tie in with Stoicism? [37:45]
- How do we get rid of things we inherit from loved ones who have passed away? [39:31]
- The order of categories Marie recommends when decluttering. [40:39]
- How observing gratitude helps reduce guilt when sorting — and discarding — sentimental items. [41:16]
- What are the most commonly misunderstood parts of the KonMari Method? [43:47]
- What does Marie’s morning routine look like? [45:36]
- What does Marie typically eat for breakfast? [49:26]
- How Marie wraps up her day. [50:48]
- What books have Marie gifted most? [52:47]
- What would Marie’s billboard say? [53:57]
- To prove Marie’s not as perfect as you might think she is, here’s a memorable failure that still haunts her. [54:28]
- A purchase of less than $100 that has brought Marie a lot of joy? [59:52]
- What comes to mind when Marie hears the word “successful?” [1:02:10]
- A fitting epitaph? [1:03:14]
- An ask of the audience. [1:05:04]
- What are the most common novice mistakes that bring chaos back into people’s lives? [1:06:47]