Marie Kondo has sparked a movement. “Spark Joy” and “KonMari” (the name of her tidying method) have become fixtures in the media and now with the recent Netflix hit, Tidying up with Marie Kondo, Kondo has become a household name. People are downright giddy at the prospect of tidying their homes in this way. As a New York City professional organizer my friends and clients often ask me my thoughts on the Marie Kondo phenomenon. What is it about the phrase “spark joy” that has such wide-sweeping appeal? Here are 3 reasons I believe Marie Kondo sparks so much joy and why her philosophy may be more than just a passing fad.
A powerful brand – Marie Kondo’s message is simple, clear and consistent. Her brand is positive, light and lovely and she embodies that brand. Her husband, Takumi Kawahara, has a background in marketing and he is both Kondo’s manager and the CEO of Konmari Media Inc. He has created the powerful marketing and social media machine that drives the lifestyle brand.
Pure Energy – In her first book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo writes: “One theme underlying my method of tidying is transforming the home into a sacred space, a power spot, filled with pure energy.” Kondo spent 5 years as a Shinto shrine maiden which has inspired her philosophy. The KonMari method elevates tidying of the home to a spiritual practice. Creating a home filled with pure energy is quite compelling.
Joy and gratitude – The process of going through all your worldly possessions one by one is quite an undertaking. Kondo (or perhaps Kawahara;-) has infused the KonMari brand with a rigorously positive energy. The tidying process becomes one that is both good for you and indulgent, like a week at a luxurious spa. The hallmark of the KonMari method is asking each object as you are holding it if it “sparks joy.” If it doesn’t, out it goes but before it does, you thank it for it’s service.
Joy and gratitude are powerful emotions. Marie Kondo and the KonMari brand have harnessed this positive message and elevated it to a spiritual level. One can argue that this quirky approach to organizing is a passing fad but between the powerful marketing machine and the enduring underlying principles, I believe it will be around for while.