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Marie Kondo exiting her Marie Kondo phase is totally OK

‘My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me’

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A photo still of Marie Kondo, facing the camera, from the shoulders up. She helps sort through things that you may not need to keep around. Photo: Denise Crew/Netflix

Marie Kondo became a household name three years ago through preaching the tidying gospels of keeping only what “sparks joy.” Now, the best-selling author and television personality — who once taught us how to fold our socks — is taking a step back and embracing the mess.

At a press event preceding her newest book, Kondo opened up about the priorities in her life after giving birth to her third child. “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,” Kondo said, via an interpreter, as reported by The Washington Post.

“Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times,” Kondo added. “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.”

Marie Kondo rose to fame through teaching others the art of tidying their homes. She led with the idea of identifying and keeping items that “spark joy,” rather than the daunting task of simply deciding what to get rid of. Her Netflix shows Tidying Up With Marie Kondo (2019) and Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo (2021) only raised her profile and the concepts she espoused.

These shows also sparked ridiculous controversy, at the time, as some viewers seemed to willfully misunderstand her advice, claiming they felt chastened about throwing things away. As she expanded her tidy empire to include organizational products people continued to shade her — even as other home network giants started their own inescapable product lines.

Kondo’s new book, Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life, is less focused on decluttering the home, and more focused on decluttering the ways in which we live our lives through mindfully building routines. Judging by the book’s description, she has repurposed the idea of sparking joy out of physical space and into the rhythms of everyday life, which makes sense given her busy life as a parent.

This is part of what makes Kondo “giving up,” so delightful. She’s still doing what sparks joy for her; and honestly, raising three kids feels like the absolute opposite of anything you might consider “giving up.” We all deserve to reorient toward our joys, or to do less of anything that we have outgrown.

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