Organization Guru Marie Kondo's Netflix Show Transforms People's Homes and Their Lives. Learn Her Simple Method to Increase Joy and Decrease Clutter.

The beloved Japanese author and consultant's television show isn't just about transforming living spaces.

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By Stephen J. Bronner


It's unfair to call Marie Kondo, the author of the hit books The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, simply an organizational expert. Her namesake KonMari Method is not simply a way to get your home more organized -- it's a way to get your life back on track as well.

The method is elegant yet simple. With it, you go through five different categories of belongings -- clothing, books, paper, komono (miscellaneous items) and sentimental -- in that order. Kondo founded her consulting business at the age of 19 after a childhood spent organizing her possessions as well as those around her. She released her first book in 2012 in her native Japan, and it proved to be a big hit. It was translated and published in the U.S. in 2014. Kondo recently made her debut on Netflix with her series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, where she teaches the KonMari Method to Americans.

Related: How to KonMari Your Way to a Happier Digital Life

Here's how the process goes: Take every piece of clothing you own out of closets, drawers and other spaces, then put them into a giant pile (usually on your bed). Then, you take each item in hand and determine whether it sparks joy in you. Kondo describes the feeling as an internal "ching!" Those pieces of clothing that generate the feeling are the ones you keep. Those that don't, you express gratitude to then aside to be donated/discarded.

You repeat this process for each of the categories. Sentimental items are last because they can be the hardest to sort, but usually, by then, practitioners of the KonMari Method have sharpened their joy-sparking abilities.

The goal of the process isn't to get rid of your stuff -- that's just a byproduct of the method. Instead, Kondo's method allows you to focus only on the things you truly love so that when you're home, you're surrounded by beloved things.

What's amazing about her Netflix series is not the amazing transformations of the living spaces of the eight featured families, although seeing their rooms after the clutter is cleaned is satisfying. Where Kondo separates herself from other home experts is that she isn't just converting spaces, she's teaching valuable life skills to people they can apply to other areas of their lives.

Related: 6 Ways Well Organized People Get More Done Every Day

Tidying Up is a stark denouncement of our need to fill the empty spaces in our lives with stuff, which eventually becomes a burden that weighs us down. The KonMari Method is a tool to take back what we most value in life, so we can focus on what makes us happy.

Entrepreneurs should not only take note of Tidying Up's notes on the burdens of materialism, but also apply the method to reach the ideal of focusing on doing the things that spark joy in them.

Stephen J. Bronner

Entrepreneur Staff

News Director

Stephen J. Bronner writes mostly about packaged foods. His weekly column is The Digest. He is very much on top of his email.

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