This Is Why We Need Marie Kondo in Our Lives

It goes beyond just tidying up.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo either through her book,
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, or more recently, through the hit Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Even if you haven’t, your friends and family certainly have, if the number of joy-sparking posts on your feed are any indication. 

But as huge as she is in the Philippines and everywhere else, the creator of the KonMari method seems to be lesser-known in her homeland of Japan. We asked a small number of Japanese locals in our company if they’ve ever heard of the queen of tidying, and from our initial survey, it appears that some of them have never heard of her and those who do don’t really know much.

Then again, perhaps it makes perfect sense. According to an article on The Huffington Post, the Japanese are largely influenced by the Zen philosophy of minimalism, and being neat and organized is nothing new. “Tidying in Japan is normal,” says Ayako, one of our respondents. “It’s a cultural thing to clean before the new year.”

Hajime, another one of our respondents, admits that while he has heard about Kondo, he’s more familiar with Matsui Kazuyo, a lifestyle personality. Hikari, another respondent, says she has never heard of her, but that “there are many cleaning professionals in Japan and organizing professionals. There are also too many books about cleaning.”

Rika, another respondent, agreed that Kondo is good. “However, Japanese housewives don't really want to be told how to clean their own houses,” she says. “Japanese people don't have too many things either because of the small space.”

Despite the lack of Kondo worship in Japan, the tidying expert appears to have become the ultimate antidote in the eyes of the world. When life is so unpredictable, being able to, say, organize the kitchen cabinets, may be one of the few things that gives other people some semblance of control.

In this digital age, feeling like you don’t have any control over anything also extends online. “On the internet, which is everywhere, notifications pop up as fast as I delete them,” says Wired writer Nitasha Tiku. “Easy-to-reach shelves are filled with distraction. I can’t sort through my data, because I don’t control it. There is no way to opt out of surveillance capitalism’s grand experiment. With iMessage and Instagram and WhatsApp and Slack, anyone can barge into my house at any time.”

According to an article on Vox, “Organizing is a potent fantasy because it offers the possibility of control” and that the KonMari method does a good job of selling that fantasy. This isn’t a one-off either. Vanity Fair cites the popularity of similar home improvement shows in the past.

Then again, it’s possible that we’ve just reached a point wherein we’re so sick and tired of living in clutter that Kondo’s philosophy is simply a reflection of our own desire to finally shape up.

Image courtesy of Netflix.


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