Marie Kondo on turning her ‘life-changing’ book into a hit Netflix show
Millions of Americans are turning to a 34-year-old Japanese “organizing consultant” to help de-clutter their homes, and for Marie Kondo, the tidying expert and eponymous star behind Netflix’s “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” there’s nothing that “sparks joy” more than seeing people take ownership of their belongings — and their lives.
Kondo, whose eight-episode series premiered on Netflix on New Year’s Eve, touts the virtues of the “KonMari Method” of organizing, which aims to pare down the tidying experience. Rather than cleaning out room by room, the KonMari Method promotes sorting by category, and assigning a sentimentality to each item. As Kondo writes on her website, “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service — then let them go.”
The Netflix series was based on Kondo’s best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” First released in 2011, the book has since been published in more than 30 countries. The U.S. edition arrived in 2014 and has become a #1 New York Times best-seller. (Get the book here -- if it's sold out on paperback, you can also get it for Kindle).
According to Kondo, part of the reason why her book — and the show — has been so successful, is that it promotes an effective exercise that not only refreshes a space, but also helps to transform our ways of thinking. Her belief: If you can turn your home into a space of serenity and inspiration, your mind and overall well-being will follow.
How do you feel about the reception to the show so far?
I love seeing all of the posts and stories about how the show has inspired people to tidy their homes and find joy in their lives. What has surprised me the most is the speed at which people have responded. It’s only been a week, but viewers are putting the KonMari Method into action immediately — folding their clothes and joy-checking their belongings! I’m still a little bit in shock — and overwhelmed with gratitude.
What was your goal or hope for the book when it was first published?
I was working as an independent tidying consultant in Japan when I wrote my first book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I had accumulated a significant waitlist and decided to write the book so that more people could learn to tidy using my method. My goal at that point was for everyone in Japan to tidy their home.
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Were there always plans to develop the book into a show?
I had participated in several television segments to promote the book, but these were small, local television programs. I never imagined that I’d one day have my own show — with global reach!
How is the Netflix series different from the book?
With “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” I was able to introduce the fundamentals of my tidying method. The benefit of “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” is that you can see what it looks like when the KonMari Method is implemented in a home. My hope is that by witnessing this transformation, viewers will be motivated to join the movement.
What’s the biggest lesson people can take away from the show?
My greatest wish is for all the viewers to begin their own tidying festivals — and to move through the process. I hope that they will develop a greater sense of gratitude for their belongings and that their lives will spark even more joy than before!
“Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” is now streaming on Netflix. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” meantime, is available on Kindle and paperback right now on Amazon.com.