Why Marie Kondo Has Finally Embraced Messy

The world-famous tidying expert has a sweet new set of priorities.

Way back in 2011, a little book hit bookstore shelves that would change our home lives forever. That book? The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by organizing queen Marie Kondo.

Since then the charming lifestyle icon has built a veritable empire of tidying, including a second book, Spark Joy (2016), and two Netflix series — Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (2019) and Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo (2021). Both shows feature Kondo helping the less organized discover their inner neat freaks and embrace the joys of cleanliness.

Her name has become so synonymous with tidying that it’s often used as a slang verb: “She helps people ‘Marie Kondo’ their lives.”

What’s the Marie Kondo Method?

To “Marie Kondo” means employing her KonMari philosophy to clean, tidy and organize one’s way to well-being. The method includes six essential rules, but basically involves two steps.

First, touch everything you own and ask if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, sell, donate or throw it away. If it does, the item must be appropriately stored among other happiness-inducing items so all are easily visible and accessible.

To Kondo, this organization can lead to inner peace because, she says, “tidying up means dealing with all the ‘things’ in your life.” Curious readers can experiment with the KonMari method on one category of items first, like folding clothes.

Has Marie Kondo Given up on Tidying?

Marie Kondo returned to the spotlight last year to promote her new book, Marie Kondo Karashi at Home (2022). She made waves on her press tour by confessing her home is “messy” now and she has “kind of given up on tidying.” Say it isn’t so!

Her reasons for her newly cluttered home are incredibly sweet, though. She cites the birth of her third child as the primary factor.

“My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life,” she told the Washington Post.

“Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times … I have kind of given up on that, in a good way for me. Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home.”

What is Kurashi?

Kondo’s new life philosophy ties in beautifully to the Japanese concept of kurashi, roughly meaning “the ideal way of spending our time” or “way of life.”

According to Kondo, kurashi takes a holistic approach to well-being, including her signature organization and mindfulness. But it also recognizes a tidy environment as the foundation for realizing one’s dream life, not necessarily an end unto itself. In embodying this balance, the reader can intentionally identify what they want out of life and consciously cultivate those goals.

How Can I Employ Kurashi In My Life?

To start, try being grateful while envisioning what your ideal life may look like — not just your ideal home space. Above all, remember that “perfect is the enemy of the good.” A little gratitude or a little tidying can go a long way toward finding happiness.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest