Following the instructions set forth by Marie Kondo in her book “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” resulted in half a day of non-stop sneezing and a very tidy room that’s still tidy a week later. As advertised.
It’s been a few years since Konmari became a household name in Japan but I finally read the book after she penetrated the American market, fascinated that such a topic could be popular across cultures.
In “Marie Kondo and the Cult of Tidying Up”, the WSJ explains how the book came at the right moment:
Ms. Kondo’s book has captured the imaginations of readers around the world at a moment when many people seem to have reached a tipping point of clutter in their lives. It coincides with the recovering economy, an increase in donations of clothing and household goods to charity and a trend toward downsizing as U.S. population growth shifts from the suburbs to city centers in many areas.
And goes on to contextualize it as an extension of the self-help category:
The popularity of “Tidying Up” dovetails with an expansion of the entire self-help category to include a younger, hipper, mindfulness-practicing audience of women and men. “It’s the Ted Talk audience,” says Jessica Sindler, the editor who acquired “Stuffocation” at Spiegel & Grau. “It’s about changing your life and self-improvement but it’s sort of a happier, smarter approach.”
The phrase “Ted Talk audience” induces a cringe but I probably belong to this market segment. I find her methodology to have a comfortable mix of philosophical and logical reasoning, and appreciate that everything is actionable. Add to that the personal stories of how Kondo has been passionate (read: freakish) about tidying since she was five years old… I alternated between slapping myself on the forehead and rolling my eyes, laughing during both these moments.
A lot of this enjoyment comes from knowing that we’re the same age and had what sounds like a similar middle class upbringing in the city. I don’t know her but I kind of do…
Anyway, I’m still incredulous that I read an entire book about cleaning up, spent a weekend doing it, and that it seems to be working. My success with sticking to the blogging experiment may actually be related to having a very pleasant room. Excuse me – a joyful room.
I’ll check back in three months and let you know if it stuck.
And on the public discourse side of things: the media coverage will slow down a bit now that her U.S. book tour is done but it will be interesting to follow how the Konmari empire will continue to be build.
It’s always a fascinating learning opportunity about digital when people start calling something a cult… 😉
— Marie Kondo (@KonMari_Method) September 3, 2015