Nspecial section furniture
By Stephanie E. Ponder
FROM AN EARLY age,
Marie Kondo has been
obsessed with tidying up. She
even started a home-orga-nizing business at the age of
19. Her 2014 book on organization, ;e Life-Changing
Magic of Tidying Up, became
a best-seller, with more than
3 million copies sold worldwide. ;e professional organizer and declutterer’s approach
boils down to keeping only those things that
bring you joy and discarding the rest. And
once you’ve identi;ed the things that make
you happy, ;nd a home for them, where they
can easily be found and then put back.
Kondo’s ne w book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated
Master Class on the Art of Organizing and
Tidying Up, is available this month. In this
Connection interview, Kondo, who lives in
Japan and has a months-long waiting list for
her consulting services, discusses how tackling
clutter can change a person’s life.
;e Costco Connection: How did tidying
and organizing become a passion for you?
Marie Kondo: From the age of 5 years, I
loved to read the many housewife magazines
that my mother had at our family’s home.
;ose magazines really provoked my interest
in keeping the home tidy. ;at interest continued and grew as I got a little older. At
school, I would tidy my desk, even the desks
of my classmates, and sometimes even my
teacher’s desk. During recess I would come
back inside and tidy the classroom.
CC: To what would you attribute most
people’s tendency for disorganization?
MK: Everybody is di;erent, but I think
for many people they just don’t know how,
when and where to begin to organize their
stu;, and their homes. Accumulating many
The Costco Connection
Spark Joy ((Item #1035341, 1/5) and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Item #982532,
1/5) are available in most Costco warehouses.
MK: Nobody ever said, “My life is slowing down.” We all feel the push—that life is
getting more and more busy, and time is
growing shorter. But I think that for most
people, when they adopt my method, they
will ;nd that they have more energy to exert
doing the important things in their life, and
they will be more productive.
Parents, especially of small children, have
told me that they think tidying their homes is
impossible, but there are strategies in my
books for dealing with family members. One
quick tip: Each family member should keep
his or her stu; in a particular area within the
home, and take responsibility for that area.
Similarly, many people say to me,
“KonMari [Kondo’s nickname], I want my
home to be tidy, but with this husband of
mine, it’s hopeless.” One of my Golden Rules
of Tidying is this: You can only tidy for yourself; you can never force anybody else to be
tidy. My experience is that when one spouse
or partner learns my method and tidies his or
her stu;, the other person o;en gets the message and wants to learn how to be tidy also.
Tidying can be quite infectious; try it and
you’ll see. C
Professional neatnik offers tidy tips
© PAVEL L PHOTO AND VIDEO; AFRICA STUDIO / SHUTTERSTOCK
things is easy, but knowing what to do with all
the stu; and controlling the accumulation of
goods is not easy. And for most people, it’s not
a natural ability. When most people tidy, it’s
really mostly just spot tidying, which solves
the problem for maybe one day or less.
CC: Why do some people struggle with
getting rid of things they no longer need, want
MK: Many people simply don’t know
how to make the decision as to whether to
keep something or not. My method teaches
people to consider the items in their lives and
whether they truly spark joy in them. If an
item sparks joy you keep the thing, and if not
then you get rid of it.
CC: What are some of the most surprising positive emotional and physical e;ects of
MK: ;e positive e;ects of tidying would
;ll another book, I think. When people are
more comfortable in their homes, it can have
great impact on their performance at work,
and their con;dence too. When you learn to
better control the environment of your home,
you begin to realize that your life outside the
home is also something you can more positively in;uence. You can gain control of eating
problems, or even gain the discipline to keep
to that new exercise program. People use my
“spark joy” test to make changes in their
careers, to make more solid their relationships with their friends and family, and sometimes even to ;nd new loves.
I have even heard from parents that a
newly tidy home can have great impact on
their children, making them happier, more
social and more productive at school.
CC: Do you think there are reasons people might avoid tidying and organizing? If so,
what are they, typically?