From her grandmother’s home in Miyazaki to the homes of A-list celebrities, Kondo has been sparking joy for decades.

Self-professed “crazy tidying fanatic” Marie Kondo has taken the world by storm seemingly overnight, with her new Tidying Up series on Netflix drawing a huge crowd of followers devoted to the KonMari Method of decluttering.

However, Kondo’s celebrity status has been a long time in the making, starting way back when she was just a five-year-old girl who was drawn to Japanese home lifestyle magazines like ESSE and Orange Page, which her mother subscribed to.

Esse and Orange Page usually attract a much older readership.

Kondo credits her grandmother, who lived in Miyazaki Prefecture, as the inspiration behind her own desire to live neatly and simply. According to Kondo, her grandmother taught her to “value what cannot be seen from the outside”, and when Kondo was 15, she started tidying in earnest, cleaning her own home, including her brother’s and sister’s room, and even the bedrooms of her friends.

In 2003, at the age of 19, she became an organising consultant while studying sociology at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University. After graduating she went on to found her own organising consultancy, publishing The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2011, which went on to become a bestseller.

Two years later, Japan’s national broadcaster NHK screened a two-part TV drama based on Kondo and her tidying up methods.

After marrying her husband Takumi Kawahara in 2012, the couple had two children, and Kondo says they’re both very involved in tidying up with their mother.

Once Kondo’s career began to take off in earnest, her husband left his sales and marketing job at a corporation in Osaka to become her manager. Now he’s the CEO of Konmari Media, and after years of teaching others how to organise their homes through TV appearances, lectures and videos, 34-year-old Kondo was given her own series on Netflix, which began screening on 1 January.

▼ And the rest, as they say, is history.

Now Kondo has become a household name in the U.S., and famous celebrities are all clambering to meet her and try out the “Does it spark joy?” technique central to her trademarked KonMari Method of tidying up.

One of the first celebs to jump on the KonMari bandwagon was Kristen Bell. In February 2018, she had Kondo help out her friend and Scandal star Katie Lowes for a “Momsplaining” clip on The Ellen Show.

▼ Other celebrities in love with the KonMari Method include actress Jennifer Garner

▼ Actor and comedian Hasan Minhaj

▼ Journalist and author Katie Couric

▼ Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel…

▼ And talk show host Ellen Degeneres.

▼ Kondo also helped tidy up an Ellen writer’s office as well.

Stephen Colbert is the latest talk show host to feature Kondo, tidying his desk and holding on tightly to a whisky that “sparks joy” for him.

With her simple message of “Does it spark Joy?” and a method that everyone can easily adopt into their lifestyles, Kondo’s star looks set to grow even brighter in the future. And as we wait to see whether another season of her show will be approved on Netflix, we’ll be busy KonMarie-ing our drawers and cupboards, which is a lot easier to do when you’re living in one of Japan’s many tiny homes.

Featured image: Instagram/Marie Kondo
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[ Read in Japanese ]