Konmari Method: Does it Spark Joy?

Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was recently released, causing a surge of cleaning and purging in many homes near you. A variety of media outlets are recognizing the recent tidying fever, some recognizing it as a “national decluttering frenzy”.  On social media, you can find pictures of piles of items being donated or given away. You may see pictures of the opposite, very tidy areas of a home with minimal items. The Konmari folding method is also being pictured, where families have folded clothing items into small squares and stacked them vertically in a drawer.  Check out #konmari #mariekondo to see some of these pictures.

Who is Marie Kondo?

Marie Kondo began consulting for others when she was just a college student and 19 years old.  Sharing a lifelong passion for organizing quickly became a career.  Kondo founded her own company, Konmari, has written four organization books, and now has a Netflix series. In one interview, Marie commented that tidying has always been something she enjoyed, all the way back to elementary school when she enjoyed tidying bookshelves while others played on the playground.

In 2011, Marie Kondo authored the book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.  This book was released in 2014 in America and became a #1 New York Times best-seller, motivating many to declutter and live a more simplistic lifestyle.  With mixed ratings, the majority of the reviews are positive.  Powerful statements such as “life changing” are common amongst the positive reviews. Negative reviews criticized the silliness of some of Kondo’s suggestions when tossing items from your home.  The book was well-liked among Americans, but didn’t have as much publicity as the Netflix show had.


What is the Konmari Method?

Marie Kondo’s method has locations for tidying your home. When implemented correctly, Kondo claims remaining tidy is simple and becomes a way of life.

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Miscellaneous Items
  5. Sentimental Items

With each category, pick all related items in the home and move to one location.  Once all items are together, pick up each items one-by-one and ask yourself if the item “sparks joy”.  If it doesn’t, get rid of it, but thank the item before you do so.


Konmari Method: The Book vs. The Show

“The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering”

The current decluttering frenzy and publicity Kondo’s show has formed is new, and there haven’t been many shows that have caused such a widely known trend forming.  So why didn’t the book cause as much fuss as the show did?

Overall, I think Marie has great points in the book.  Her step by step process, recommendations, and rules are effective and efficient. Additionally, when done correctly, the Konmari method should (and will) last quite a long time, keeping your home less cluttered and your life and attitude more pleasant and simple.   I found the book to be less “life changing” than the show is. I’m not as much of a “book person”. I read the book before I had my own clutter-causing children.


Netflix: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

The Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo released at the perfect time, on New Year’s Day. As so many of us have resolutions for the new year, I’m willing to bet that over half of these resolutions are related to cleanliness, and organization. Those with resolutions to be tidy and live a more simple life are now immersed in learning the Konmari Method.

The Netflix show that released in January has some parts that seem a bit cheesy.  Sure, it’s a “reality show” of sorts and one would assume that there are parts that are a bit exaggerated or staged.  Marie goes into the homes of different families and couples, and walks them through the steps she recommends for tidying up.  With these steps, she has rules to follow.  Kondo also gives suggestions for various “trouble spots” like pet supplies, kid toys, and sentimental items.  The show is about thirty minutes, but it implies that the tidying up process takes much longer than a few hours.

Marie’s most recent series is relatable and gives a variety of lifestyles that you can easily understand.  When you connect with one of the families or couples, it is  certainly more impactful and emotional.  For instance, watching a family with a preschooler with toys everywhere is easily an episode that can make a difference for a stay-at-home mom or dad with a young child.

Konmari Method: Spiritual

Her Japanese origins influence the tidying up process and include a spiritual component.  She does not shy away from sharing her beliefs, despite that American’s have a vast difference in opinions, and typically put a focus on “stuff”.  In the United States, simplicity and minimalism are not encouraged through media outlets, and are concepts that are not innate to those born and raised here.  While that is the case for many, we all also yearn for the feeling of peace, declutter, relaxation, and cleanliness.

As Marie begins to work with a family, she comes into a home and “blesses the house”.   Kondo asks that each item you throw away, you hold it and tell it “thank you”. Items you would like to keep you ask yourself “does this spark joy? In the show, she does point out that finding joy is not be immediate. It develops more as you are more aware.

Additionally, Kondo’s minimalistic approach, guides you in a step by step process. Her focus is not just about tidying up “things” but also about tidying up your life.


So of course it seems that this is a trend with all of the pictures of organized closets I’m seeing.   Our culture in the US has been one with a focus on ‘stuff’, particularly short term feel-good stuff. Kondo is helping many understand the more simplistic and minimalist ways of living that not only impact your home life, but all other areas of life as well.

What do you think? Will you give it a shot? I’ve already started my own decluttering and it does feel refreshing!




About the Author

Prior to selling real estate, Brenda worked in the mortgage industry for over twenty years. She worked for companies such as Freddie Mac and HomeBanc in numerous capacities from underwriter to executive management. Her thorough knowledge of the mortgage industry is an asset in these times of stricter loan qualifications. Brenda's commitment to continual education keeps her on the cutting edge of current market conditions and trends.

Her professional confidence and easy going style comforts clients through this sometimes stressful situation. Brenda is committed to negotiating the absolute best deal for her sellers.