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Marie Kondo revealed she's 'kind of given up' on being so tidy. People freaked out

Marie Kondo speaks at a media event in New York on July 11, 2018.
Seth Wenig
Marie Kondo speaks at a media event in New York on July 11, 2018.

Marie Kondo, the queen of tidy, says her house isn't so tidy anymore.

"I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me," said Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, a self-help book that took audiences by storm.

She's also a mother of three.

"Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home," the Japanese cleaning consultant recently told listeners, according to The Washington Post.

The person behind the KonMari method — decluttering by tossing anything that doesn't "spark joy" — no longer (totally) practices what she preached. Some people shared their reactions on social media.

"The fact that Marie Kondo, leader of millennials who were taught (by her) to only keep things that spark joy, has given up on tidying up her house now that she has 3 kids, is really sending me," wrote one person on Twitter.

Parents, in particular, felt seen.

"This was both refreshing and validating to read," wrote one Twitter user. "I have 3 kids and have been trying out the KonMari method every 3 months but it's just not feasible."

But for Kondo, who says her cleaning philosophy is based partly in the native Japanese belief Shintoism, keeping a tidy house is only part of the practice.

"The ultimate goal is to spark joy every day and lead a joyful life," according to Kondo, who describes this philosophy as kurashi, which she says roughly translates to "way of life."

Plus, purging clutter isn't as much a trend as it is a necessity for many city dwellers in Japan — and other parts of Asia where apartments are small to begin with.

The average size of a home in Tokyo is just over 700 square feet, according to a 2019 housing and land survey by the Japanese government.

But that's roughly the same as what you'll get in Manhattan, where the average size of an apartment is 704 square feet, according to housing website RentCafe.

Kondo, whose organizing skills landed her two Netflix series, has faced backlash before — including for seeming to paint tidiness as something that is innately Japanese and for saying one should keep at most 30 books, the latter of which she said was a misconception.

Kondo writes in her first book, which was originally published in 2010 and released in the U.S. in 2014, that dramatically reorganizing "causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective."

"The true purpose of tidying is not to cut down on your possessions or declutter your space," Kondo says. But rather, to learn to make meaningful choices and find gratitude in everyday life.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mary Yang
Mary Yang is an intern on the Business Desk where she covers technology, media, labor and the economy. She comes to NPR from Foreign Policy where she covered the beginning of Russia's war in Ukraine and built a beat on Southeast Asia, Asia and the Pacific Islands.

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