I got very interested in tidying and organizing things when I was 5, and I've been doing this job for more than 10 years.

I started my business, and the number of clients kept growing and growing, and my waiting list became more than 6 months, and so many of my clients asked me to write a book, because there were so many people in-need of my help.

So I wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which has since become an international best-seller.

So I am here in the United States to do some press, and Victoria from reddit will be helping me out with my AMA in-person as part of this along with my translator. AMA!

PROOF: http://imgur.com/A5gOoQe

Update: Well, I pretty much enjoyed my time in the United States. And we are also planning an English website, and we would like to make further announcements on that website in the future. And you can check out my publisher's site for further information. Thank you!

Comments: 156 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

lesserAjax24 karma

Hello! I love your book and especially its simple approach. So much decluttering advice seems to involve complex rules and storage solutions. Simply asking "does this bring joy" really gets to the heart of the matter.

My question is: What do you recommend to your clients when something does not bring joy, but is necessary and can't simply be discarded? For example, a winter coat if you live in a cold climate, or a set of dishes. Do you recommend that people keep those items or buy joyful items to replace them?

MarieKondo57 karma

I actually mentioned a similar answer before, but if the person already found the similar item that sparks joy to you, go ahead and replace it with that new item. However, if you have not found anything replaceable with, just stick with what you have again and again. Those things are helping you every single day. So you should appreciate how they are contributing to your life. Change the relationship with those items, by appreciating their contributions to your life.

matthewgibson18 karma

Hi Marie! Thank you for doing this AMA. I just finished reading your book this morning.

What are your thoughts on how to handle/process digital clutter on the computer - thousands of emails, documents, songs, videos, articles, website bookmarks, photos? It's easy to forget or ignore this clutter because it is out of sight but it is still clutter. I can't pick these items up physically and ask if they spark joy. I assume I should go through the same process as with the physical objects and maybe avoid scanning/converting papers/photos to go paperless from now on.


MarieKondo22 karma

This is kind of a common question, even in Japan.

Well, I recommend to take the same method as you tidying up your house. For example, you should dedicate the whole day to tidying up your email inbox (or in one shot). In the same way, you move on to the next category of documents and files - for example, you just want to work on this specific folder today. But you want to get it ALL done. It is important to finish up this category in one shot.

I know your eyes get very tired! You can take a break while doing it.

personamb18 karma

It seems like when you wrote "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up", you had already worked with many clients, but mostly people living in Japan. Have you found any significant differences with people from other cultures?

MarieKondo29 karma

I am actually in the research process on that, because after I wrote a book, and it was released in different languages, I have been receiving different questions from different cultures. So I want to hear different opinions based on different cultures, so I can adjust my advice to what people in different cultures need. For example, Japan has more limited space, maybe some people in America might not have that space issue, so maybe they need a different way of thinking to de-clutter the space, just as an example. So I would like to make some method adjustments as well.

nspikeu16 karma


MarieKondo12 karma

I am glad to hear it is working out!

It can be a common dilemma, because you are definitely using the method, which is great, but you should probably figure out what is the obstacle for you to make a decision. That way you can figure out what your priority is. Then you can make a stronger, or more concrete, decision on each item.

Of course, my clients sometimes need my support and encouragement as well. But if they are working on their own, they sometimes come to a dilemma, they sometimes get overwhelmed because most of them have so many items. And in Japan, I started seeing some people telling everybody around them that they are organizing, tidying their own space, so that the others are watching them, so they have the motivation going. They sometimes post it online, the fact they are working on their clutter, and there are some online communities where they are in similar situations. Maybe that can help you? Even on Twitter, if you follow #KonmariMethod, there are a lot of people tweeting their experience and plans, or their progress, and it might be encouraging for people in a similar situation.

poupiu14 karma

Hello Ms Kondo, I have read your book, and I have run into one problem again and again. After I have made a pile of things that I don't want, I have difficulties getting them out of my house. I have troubles selling them, finding someone to give them to, and the easiest way is to leave it on the curbside/toss in the trash.. but since they are hardly used or good condition, I don't feel comfortable tossing them, so what do I do? I can't get to a donation place because I don't have a car and no support from my parents to bring them elsewhere..

So, how do you manage the process after deciding what to discard? It's difficult getting my parents and brother motivated to declutter and so, I must start with myself, but even that is a little difficult...

MarieKondo14 karma

In Japan, I suggest my clients to find an online service or charity organization that can come pick it up. In America, there are some organizations that will come and pick up donated gently-used items, or you can use online services to list items for free.

matthewgibson13 karma

Dear Marie,

What about keeping objects that don't spark joy but that I don't want to spend money or time replacing right now and which are still helpful - for example a computer, a mattress, a toothbrush, a frying pan, a suit, a blender, a coffee table? Should I keep these if they don't spark joy but I still use them regularly?


MarieKondo43 karma

So those things are helping you every day. Because you are using them.

Even if they are not sparking joy, they are helping you every day. They are making your days go by - meaning, you have not realized that they are making you happy. They are sparking joy to you, subconsciously. So it's you, just not realizing that sparks joy for you. So you should convince yourself that they are sparking joy, and you should prioritize their status, because they are making your day, everyday. Then, gradually, you will start seeing some sparking joy concepts from those items.

Tardytimetraveller12 karma

Hello Ms Kondo. I really enjoyed your book, and the Konmarie Method is amazing. I also like the beautifully simple way of writing. My questions are:

  1. How can I put myself into the right mindset before a tidying session, so that I am concentrated and focused? Sometimes when I start to tidy I have trouble connecting with my things and feeling the spark.

  2. What is your advice for shopping? When I need to buy something, how can I be sure that it will continue to spark joy, even after the "rush" of shopping has gone down?

  3. In what ways has Shintoism influenced the Konmarie method?

  4. Any chance that we will see interviews or talks from you? I found a couple on Youtube but most don't have English subtitles. I would really love to hear you talk about tidying.

  5. I read that you have written three books in total. Do you know when the other two will be available in English?

Also, I just wanted to let you know that I am one of those very few persons that actually do sew on buttons back :)

MarieKondo19 karma

1.) Try to imagine the realistic life you want, before you even start tidying. That is the first advice I can give you.

2.) It might be a little bit difficult to do right now, but I would recommend brushing up the sense of ability on what items spark the joy when you go shopping. So when you tidy up your space first, and during that, you can sharpen your senses / ability to figure out what item spark joy, you can know what will spark joy when you shop next time.

3.) Well, I don't particularly have specific religious connotations to Shintoism in my daily life, but it is true that I did have a part-time job at a Shinto shrine when I was younger, so I think that is what that has to do with it. It is reflected in some ways. So Shintoism, for me, is not particularly a religion in my life, but it is a natural habit in our daily life. Shintoism, for Japanese people, is not the same religious feeling as a lot of American people might feel, but is pretty much blended into our daily lifestyle or habits. It influences me, but not as strongly as you might think.

4.) I just spoke at a Google talk a few days ago, and it will come alive in about 2 weeks. So look for that.

5.) laughs

I actually have 4 books in total. And I hope book 2 will be out next year in English!

Tulipbunch10 karma

Hello Ms. Kondo, your book is a great inspiration to me. Thank you!

My question is about heirlooms, items that have been in the family, sometimes for generations. Some have been handed down with the comment that they should never be sold or given to anyone outside the family. Yet sometimes they no-one in the family particularly cares for them, or they are very bulky, taking up an enormous amount of otherwise usable living space. What is your guidance on such items? Many thanks

MarieKondo9 karma

I might not be the perfect person to answer that, because it is definitely a family item. But it might be a good idea to have the family meet, to discuss what to do with those items. If there is at least one person who feels that really important value of it, maybe that person can keep it. But also, if you are tidying up your space, using the KonMari method, because you develop an ability to make a decision about items, you might start feeling differently about those items, and then decide to keep those in a different way. It is a difficult decision, and would be sad if you had to let it go eventually, but you might start seeing more historical value on it after you go through KonMari method.

lkdef10 karma

Konnichiwa, I'm half-way through your book and am enjoying it very much. (.)

How would you organize kids' toys and books? They takeover my house the most! We have wooden toy bins and bookcases, but they still look very messy. Arigato Gozaimasu!

MarieKondo6 karma

Well, this is a common question from my clients as well. If the children are much younger than 3 years old, of course, they don't have much ability to decide what to keep or not, so adults can organize children's items in the same way. If the children are over 3 years old, they have some ability to figure out if it sparks joy or not. And they can make a decision based on that. So even for them, if they are older than 3 years old, they can start tidying up the room exactly in the same way - like bringing out all the items by category in one spot, and picking up every item to see if it sparks joy or not.

There is always a limitation of the space. So I think it is very important to decide the capacity of the items to keep. That can be the wooden toy bin, or bookcase.

lkdef3 karma

Kids are ages 4 and 2 so will involve the 4 yr old in some decisions and see what happens! Thanks very much.

nspikeu3 karma


MarieKondo14 karma

I think it is important to grow up seeing beautiful things so that you can develop that sense of beauty, and comfortable space.

matthewgibson9 karma

what do you think about trying to selling objects that I have decided to get rid of? For example, I have 500 books which are maybe worth $2,500. Should I spend a 100 hours trying to sell them?

MarieKondo13 karma

Personally, I think it is a great idea.

I am sure there are several different ways to get rid of books, by selling them or donating them. You should figure out which way sparks joy, makes you happy. If it sparks joy to sell them one-by-one, go for it. But it takes so much time and energy, if it does not spark joy, maybe you can donate them to a library or sell to one organization.

SafeAsMilk8 karma


I love your beautiful book, but I have a question: Do you have any advice for someone with ADHD? Although intellectually I understand what I have to do, at times I just... forget. Thanks!

MarieKondo24 karma

It might be better to organize by smaller categories. For example, I always recommend to start with clothes. But instead of working on the whole closet, maybe you can start only with the tops, or maybe just the skirts. Of course you you have to finish the category in one shot, but it might not take as much time so you can focus on one small category.

Enphuego6 karma

How do you recommend dealing with declutter categories that more than one person owns? For instance, I can't just go through the kitchen and get rid of the pots and pans we don't need because my wife gets upset. I also don't want to back her into a corner to get rid of stuff, that's no fun.

MarieKondo11 karma

If there are multiple people sharing the one space, they should focus on their own space first.

So assuming that you are done tidying up your own space first, then suggest your family members work together to tidy up common space.

It is definitely true that you should not say no to her if she insists on a specific item, because that item definitely sparks joy in her, maybe not in him. So you should definitely respect her feeling.

Even in the common space, it will be definitely helpful if each of you picks your own space - because there is limitations. You can't have unlimited amounts of space. So if she has personal items, she should store them in her own space, and not cross over the border.

[deleted]6 karma


MarieKondo8 karma

My advice?

I think he can tell her that this is one of the best-sellers!


matthewgibson6 karma

Do you think it is better to borrow objects from friends or the library (books) rather than to spend time buying, owning and managing them?

MarieKondo8 karma

I think that is a great idea, a service, and if you feel that renting sparks more joy in you, then it is a great idea for you. And if owning sparks more joy in you, then you should own an item, but if it does not spark that much joy, perhaps renting is better for you.

MMForTheWin5 karma

Would you consider yourself a minimalist? Would you recommend that after you discover which items around your house "spark joy" that you put them out of site?

MarieKondo7 karma

Well, not really.

Because the best feeling for me is the fact that I realize that the space is so organized, and it has a lot of items that spark joy for me. That is the best feeling. That is what makes me happy. Not because of the amount to get rid of.

matthewgibson5 karma

I don't want to spend time every week or month buying non-perishable items like toilet paper, tooth paste, etc. - is it okay to buy 6-12 months worth of these kinds of supplies to reduce time spent shopping if I have the space to store these items?

MarieKondo12 karma

Well, this is definitely a situation unique to America because this does not really happen in Japan. But as long as you can keep the space that sparks joy to you - it is still comfortable conditions - it is still good to do that. If it causes clutter, that is not good.

makn8085 karma

What is your recommendation for applying the konmari method to children under 10 years old?

MarieKondo10 karma

Well, the Konmari method is basically designed for people who can make personal decisions to keep things or not, based on whether the item sparks joy (as I repeatedly say). However, if the child is under 10 years old, my recommendation is the way to train organizing, tidying, for young children should be started with how to fold clothes.

Yes, children under 10 years old can definitely figure out if a thing sparks joy or not. But it is also important with them to get the feeling, get the habit of tidying their own space by putting things back into position - and the best way to teach them is to teach them how to fold clothes.

matthewgibson4 karma

Do you personally prefer scanning important documents and keeping them digitally or just keeping them as a paper document?

MarieKondo5 karma

Scanning is a great technology for tidying up space. Of course, there are some documents that need to be kept in-paper. Otherwise, scanning is a great idea so you can tidy up your space.

Digitaldude5554 karma

How much does it bother you to see a cluttered and messy house?

MarieKondo26 karma

I am a kind of person who gets excited to see clutter!

That is because it is a good feeling for me to imagine how this person can declutter, imagine the whole process of that person decluttering their own space.

BUT if the room has some garbage, like stinky garbage, old food and stuff, yes it does bother me sometimes. But not because of the amount of clutter, it is just the smell.

matthewgibson4 karma

What if I don't love most the clothes in my closet? Should I get rid of all of them and go spend money buying new ones?

MarieKondo30 karma

You should calm down a little bit. You do not want to be that extreme. You should try to be more realistic and try to think about what you can do to use the current items you already have, and add different items to those to realize the other style that sparks joy to you.

matthewgibson4 karma

I think you mentioned in your book that it can take 6 months to complete the declutter & organizing process. How many hours did your clients spend every day and total on average to complete the whole process? 3 hours a day and 500 hours total?

MarieKondo7 karma

Well, six months is actually the record number for a client (longest duration). But basically, the lessons say to work about 5 hours per day, but if you can take more than 5 hours every day, you can probably go much faster, and finish much sooner.

BookLover12343 karma

Hi KonMari! My friend asked me to ask this question for her, because she's at work right now: She has diaries, sketchbooks, and notes on books she would like to read, going back over 20 years. How do you recommend going through so much sentimental material, especially since she thinks some of it contains good ideas she has forgotten, or events she would like to remember? Thanks!

MarieKondo8 karma

There is a strict order in the Konmari method - which one to start, in tidying up things gradually. And the memento items / emotional items from the past - those are the last category they should do. The reason why the mementos should be the last category to work on is that those items are very difficult to see if it sparks joy or not. So you need to sharpen your ability to figure out and see the difference while you are working on different categories of items like clothes, or books.

So that should be the last category you work on.

From my experience with my clients, those who actually complete the whole KonMari method - meaning they reach the point where they work on the memento category, they already have the ability to decide what to go and what not to go, and they end up keeping the majority of the diaries and gifts, but by the time they make those decisions, they are confident those are the items they should keep. So they are happier.

matthewgibson3 karma

Hello Marie,

Is there another word/phrase that I can use instead of "sparking joy?" Can I ask instead if I really love or like or enjoy an object? Would that be the same question in your mind? Thanks!

MarieKondo10 karma

Well, the item that "sparks joy" means that is the item you are happy to have with you. And you can definitely keep it as an important item in your life.

matthewgibson2 karma

Any plans to translate your website into English?

MarieKondo7 karma

We do have a plan! We have been very busy, and procrastinating on it, but will try to make it within this year.

Frajer2 karma

I am a very disorganized person, what are your general pointers for me ?

MarieKondo4 karma

Of course, I would be very happy if you read my book! smiles

And it's available in audio-book format too.

One of the most important points I can give you is that if you start with clothes - take out ALL the clothes you own in one spot in your house, because it is important to tidy up items by category, clothes are the first category you should start with.

matthewgibson1 karma

Any recommendations for decluttering to-do lists with 100 items on them?

MarieKondo4 karma

Maybe... you should go over the list to figure out which item, which listing sparks joy or not?