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Marie Kondo and Her ‘Tidying Up’ Army

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The smiling face behind the “life-changing” decluttering method is setting her sights on training a battalion of Americans to proselytize her trademark vision, ready to wage war on our fixation with accumulating things. Marie Kondo, the author behind The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, created a protocol for cleaning and organizing called KonMari that has inspired a cult-like following. Now that her book is a bestseller, Kondo is sharing her art of “sparking joy,” the phrase she uses to describe surrounding yourself exclusively with things that make you happy. The minimalist guru is training an army of “Konverts,” or followers of KonMari, as tidying consultants. The New York Times Magazine‘s Taffy Brodesser-Akner caught up with Kondo to see how the new phase in the Konmari campaign was unfolding:

“Upon entering the Japan Society, the 93 Konverts in attendance (and me) were given lanyards that contained our information: our names, where we live and an option of either the proud ‘Tidying Completed!’ or the shameful ‘Tidying Not Yet Completed!’ In order to be considered tidy, you must have completed the method outlined in Kondo’s book. It includes something called a ‘once-in-a-lifetime tidying marathon,’ which means piling five categories of material possessions — clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items and sentimental items, including photos, in that order — one at a time, surveying how much of each you have, seeing that it’s way too much and then holding each item to see if it sparks joy in your body. The ones that spark joy get to stay. The ones that don’t get a heartfelt and generous goodbye, via actual verbal communication, and are then sent on their way to their next life. This is the crux of the KonMari — that soon-to-be-trademarked nickname — and it is detailed in ‘The Life-Changing Magic’ and her more recent book, ‘Spark Joy,’ which, as far as I can tell, is a more specific ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ but with folding diagrams. She is often mistaken for someone who thinks you shouldn’t own anything, but that’s wrong. Rather, she thinks you can own as much or as little as you like, as long as every possession brings you true joy.”

Read the full story here. Want to try KonMari for yourself? Watch this starter video at the bottom to get a sense of what you’re in for.

(Creative RF/Getty Images)
(Creative RF/Getty Images)