Marie Kondo Has Finally Embraced Messy—Here’s Why

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

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Way back in 2011, one little book hit the bookstore shelves that would change our home lives forever. That book? The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by clean 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 is often used as a slang verb: “She helps people ‘Marie Kondo’ their lives.”

What’s the Marie Kondo method?

To “Marie Kondo” is to employ her KonMari philosophy to clean, tidy and organize one’s way to well-being. The method includes six essential rules (and one exception!), but basically involves a two-step process. First, one touches everything they own and asks themself if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, they sell, donate or throw it away. If it does, the item must be appropriately stored among other happiness-inducing items so that they are all easily visible and accessible.

To Kondo, this organization can lead to inner peace because “tidying up means dealing with all the ‘things’ in your life.” Curious readers can experiment with the KonMari method by implementing it to just one type of item at first, such as folding clothes.

Has Marie Kondo given up on tidying?

In the next iteration of her renowned lifestyle brand, Marie Kondo returned to the spotlight last year to promote her new book, Marie Kondo Karashi at Home (2022). She made particular waves on her press tour when she confessed that her home is “messy” now and she has “kind of given up on tidying.” Say it isn’t so! Get to know about the strengths of messy people.

Her reasons for her newly cluttered home are incredibly sweet though, as she cites the birth of her third child as the motivating 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.” Aww!

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 also recognizes that a tidy environment is a 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 practicing an attitude of gratitude and freely envisioning what your ideal life may look like—not just your ideal home space. For more specialized advice, be sure to check out our brief guide to kurashi, as well as Kondo’s new book. Above all, remember that the “perfect is the enemy of the good”; a little gratitude or a little tidying can go a long way toward finding happiness.