Marie Kondo is a Japanese organising consultant and author. She introduced the KonMari Method in her best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
Here is the full text of Marie Kondo’s talk titled “Organize the World: Design Your Life to Spark Joy” at SXSW 2017 conference.
Marie Kondo – SXSW 2017 TRANSCRIPT
Hello, everyone. I’m Marie Kondo.
I feel honored to be standing here on such a wonderful stage today. Everyone at (South by Southwest) SXSW is talking about big things. But I would like to talk about something even bigger. My grandmother.
My grandmother lives in Miyazaki, a very peaceful place in Japan. Her house is not big and she does not own anything especially nice. But she took very good care of her things.
Her house was always clean and tidy. Even inside her drawers were beautifully organised. Just like her house, her presence was simple and beautiful. She never got angry no matter what happened. She was gentle. I admire her very much.
She would always tell me: Value what cannot be seen from the outside.
Normally people can’t see inside your house. However the way you organize the area and how to treat your belongings will greatly affect your way of thinking. More than we imagine, whether our house is tidy or not has a great impact on our life.
Tidying is a big thing.
Now I’d like to ask you a question. Is your house tidy? If your answer is no, don’t worry, I can help you. The answer is what I call the Konmari Method.
Let me show you some Konmari transformations before, and after, before and after. Another before and after. What a change!
Tidying with the Konmari Method will not affect only your house. It will change your life. While you are tidying using the Konmari method you will also understand yourself more and design your life you want.
Today, I am going to tell you how to put your home in order in a way that will change your life forever.
But before this, in order to understand for you how my method was created, I would like to talk about my story.
I started to have an interest in tidying up when I was 5 years old. I really liked home lifestyle magazines that my mother subscribed to.
When I was 15 years old, I started tidying seriously. I tidied up, I read every book related to tidying. And I tidied it up every place I go.
One day, I tidied up my own room. Next today, my brother’s room. Next day, my sister’s room. Then, the kitchen, living room, bathroom, the friend’s room, friend’s room, friend’s room, classrooms after the school, and then back to my own room.
I tidied up every day.
When I was 19 years old, I became an organizing consultant. My graduation thesis was about Tidying. So safe to assume, I am a crazy tidying fanatic.
Without further ado, let’s go on to the main subject, what is the Konmari method.
There are four Rules.
Rule 1. Imagine your ideal life. Before you tidy you need to face your truth — you need to face yourself. Why do you want to Tidy? What is your ideal life? Be specific. I’ll give you one example of my client.
Please imagine as you listen, my client’s ideal life is pure white wall and floor. They are simple with essential furnitures and nice front. Nothing else on the floor, very neat like hotel room. “Before I go to bed, a scent of lavender aroma, classic piano music playing in the background, doing yoga, drinking chamomile tea before go to sleep. That is the life I want to live”, my client said.
This is how specific you should be. You should be able to picture yourself living your ideal life. If it is difficult to imagine your ideal lifestyle, think about things you want to do inside your house and write it down on a piece of paper.
For some people, it’s meditating before go to bed; for others, it’s drinking coffee with your favorite mug in the morning. Imagining your ideal lifestyle is so important. Setting your final goal will help keep you motivated while you are tidying. So you should never skip this process.
Rule number 2. Tidy in one go. If you want to become an organized person, shock your mindset and change it completely. In order to do this, you need a dramatic change in a short time. You need to experience a tidy home, just once.
Your fastest step is to set a tidying deadline. Tidying is not daily work. It is a special event. If you have worked a tidying deadline, you are ready to start.
Let’s talk about the process.
Rule number 3. When you tidy, do it by category, not by location. Thinking today this closet, tomorrow the living room, does not work. So I suggest when you sort your clothes, gather all of your clothes and put them in a pile; all clothes. I mean everything.
Find all of your clothes in your house, including the item in your bedroom, in your closet, in your dresser, maybe in your car. Gather all of your clothes and put them in a pile like this.
When you sort books, do the same thing. Gather all of your books and put them in a pile like this.
Why is this important?
By making a pile you can see everything you have. Imagine. Imagine all of your clothes stacked in a pile. You will probably be shocked by how much you own.
One of my clients collected tea cups, when she gathered all of her teacups together, it looked like this. So many teacups, and she was in shock. By seeing and realizing how much you own, you will be able to choose what to keep with a calm mind.
So how do you choose what to keep?
It is the most important part of the Konmari method: To choose the item that sparks joy for you. If the item sparks joy, keep it. If it does not, get rid of it. Does this item spark joy?
What I want to tell you today is this. When you are tidying, you should focus on things, what you want to keep. Not things what you want to discard. If you try to tidy by looking for things to discard, you will become unhappy.
As a matter of fact, I used to be like that. It is my story during high school. When I was in high school, I thought tidying meant discarding things. Every day after school, I looked for things to throw away.
Even though I kept throwing things away, my home did not feel tidy. This caused me a lot of stress. I was focused on the things I didn’t like. I focused on the negative.
One day my stress reached tipping point. I passed out in my room. I did not wake up for two hours. I am probably the only person in the world to pass out because of tidying too much Yeah, that’s right.
When I was afraid, I had this strange voice in my head. The voice said, “Look at things more carefully.” I don’t know if it was the voice of tidying God or just my imagination. But when my mind opened and looked around my room, it felt as if everything in my room was shining.
At that moment I realized my way of tidying until that day was wrong. I thought ‘That’s it!’ The important thing about tidying is not choosing things to discard but choosing things to keep. I must choose only items that makes me happy — things that spark joy for me.