The Philosophy of Marie Kondo

The Philosophy of Marie Kondo

In a world filled with chaos and clutter, the name Marie Kondo has emerged as a beacon of tidiness and tranquility. With her revolutionary KonMari method, Marie Kondo has transformed the way people approach their living spaces, helping them find not just tidiness but also a deeper sense of joy and contentment. Join us as we delve into the philosophy of Marie Kondo and uncover the secrets behind her life-changing method and how it can bring harmony into your world.


The Rise of Marie Kondo's Decluttering Empire


Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant, author, and television show host who has a unique approach to decluttering and tidying. Born in 1984 in Tokyo, Japan, Kondo developed a passion for tidying and organization from the age of 5, when she would read her mother’s lifestyle magazine. Her fascination with the art of decluttering led her to start her organizing consultancy business at the age of 19.

After working with hundreds of clients, she developed her own method of decluttering and wrote the book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," which was first published in Japan in 2011. The book's philosophy, often referred to as the KonMari method, centers around the idea that decluttering and organizing should not be a chore but a joyful experience. It led to her rise to international fame and hosting her own show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo," on Netflix, where she helps individuals and families transform their living spaces and lives through the KonMari method.

With her empire of books, television shows, and consulting services, Marie Kondo has not only changed the way people approach tidying but also inspired a shift in mindset toward intentional living and the pursuit of joy in everyday life


What Is The Marie Kondo Theory?


Marie Kondo Closet


The KonMari method, or Marie Kondo Theory, is a cleaning strategy designed by Marie Kondo to transform not just your house but your life as a whole. It emphasizes keeping only items that "spark joy" and decluttering by category, striking a chord with readers worldwide. Marie Kondo's KonMari method is more than just a decluttering strategy; it's a philosophy that encourages a mindful approach to living. At its core, it is about cherishing the things that truly matter and letting go of the rest. It's usually mistaken for minimalism, but it should be really about keeping the things you love and discarding what doesn’t spark joy anymore. 

By embracing this philosophy, you will not only have cleaner and more organized homes but also improved mental clarity, decision-making skills, a deeper sense of gratitude, and increased self-awareness.


The KonMari Rules of Tidying


These 6 steps are the basic rules of tidying and will get you started on cleaning any space.


Commit To Tidying


Decluttering can be emotionally challenging because it involves parting with items that hold sentimental value. It's essential to embrace the process with an open heart and a willingness to let go of what no longer serves you. This process is not supposed to be a short-term fix but a way to transform your home and make it organised. You’ll need to commit to staying motivated throughout.


Imagine Your Ideal Home And Lifestyle


Many people have a mental image of how they want their homes to look. There is a certain atmosphere that welcomes, and that’s what you want a home to do. Begin by clarifying your intentions and goals. What do you hope to achieve through decluttering and adopting the KonMari method? Whether it's creating a more serene home environment, reducing stress, or enhancing your overall quality of life, having a clear purpose will keep you motivated.


Finish Discarding


Kondo places a significant emphasis on the act of letting go. To her, before you understand how much you have, you should discard what you don’t need. Her philosophy encourages a grateful farewell to items you decide to discard. She suggests thanking each item for its service before parting ways to create a sense of closure and respect for the role the item played in your life.


Tidying by Category


Many people would immediately start tidying by room, moving from sitting room to bedrooms or kitchen, but the KonMari method discards that idea. Instead, the KonMari method advises tidying by category rather than by room. You can tackle five specific categories in a particular order: clothing, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and sentimental items. By sorting through each category as a whole, you gain a comprehensive view of your possessions and can make more informed decisions about what to keep and what to discard.

It also prevents you from simply relocating clutter from one room to another, which is often the case with normal cleaning methods. This approach ensures that every item gets the attention it deserves.


Follow The Right Order


Stick to the prescribed order of categories (clothing, books, papers, komono, sentimental items) for a comprehensive decluttering experience. Marie designed this order to help you build confidence and decision-making skills as you progress. When you are greeted with your organised clothes in your closet, you get the energy to move on to books and the rest of the items. 


Does It Spark Joy?


The central principle of the KonMari method is the concept of "sparking joy." Marie Kondo's philosophy urges us to hold each item in our hands and ask a simple question: "Does this spark joy?" This process may sound simple, but it changes the way we view our possessions. Marie Kondo believes that every item in your home should bring a sense of happiness or joy. If it doesn't, it's time to say goodbye. 

This principle forces us to reevaluate our relationship with our possessions, reminding us to keep only those things that hold genuine meaning in our lives. You get to connect with your belongings on an emotional level and create a sense of gratitude for the things you own.


Marie Kondo Books You Should Read


Marie Kondo's books have become essential guides for people who want to declutter their lives and embrace her unique approach to tidying. Here's a list of Marie Kondo's books you should definitely read to learn from her.


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2011): 


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up


This groundbreaking book introduced readers to the KonMari method. It has a step-by-step guide to decluttering and organizing their homes. It became an international bestseller and made Marie Kondo a household name.


Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up (2012): 


Spark Joy


In "Spark Joy," Kondo delves deeper into the KonMari method, offering practical advice on how to tidy various categories of belongings and maintain an organized lifestyle. The book is beautifully illustrated and provides visual guidance for readers. It also discusses the concept of keeping items that spark joy only. 


The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story (2017): 


The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up


For people who can’t read non-fiction books for the life of them because they find it a tad boring, this unique book presents the KonMari method in the form of a manga (comic). It follows the fictional character Chiaki as she learns the principles of tidying from KonMari herself. It's an engaging and visually appealing way to grasp the concepts of the method.


Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life (2020): 


Joy at Work


Co-authored with Scott Sonenshein, "Joy at Work" focuses on applying the KonMari method to declutter and organize your work environment. Whether you work from home or in an office, this book offers an amazing method of organizing your workspace to improve your productivity.

In essence, the Marie Kondo theory is an invitation to declutter not just your space but also your mind and your life. It's a journey towards a simpler, more intentional, and ultimately happier way of living. So, whether you're seeking to create a serene home environment, reduce stress, or embark on a path of personal growth, the Marie Kondo theory offers valuable guidance on your quest to find joy and fulfillment through decluttering and intentional living.

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This article was originally written by our freelance writer Umm-Kulthum Abdulkareem and edited by us.