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By the time Netflix released Tidying Up with Marie Kondo in 2019 Marie Kondo had already earned millions of followers around the world who abided by her simple principles for keeping an organized home. She has famously advocated for more efficient organizational methods and a deep culling process for belongings that only involves keeping things that “spark joy” for you. Because she also advocated for getting rid of things that no longer served -including stacks of books going unread- many people found her methods a bit on the extreme side of the cleaning spectrum. In a recent webinar however, she revealed that she hasn’t been keeping up with her own high standards of organization. And the reason for this is actually very understandable.

The Washington Post reported that Kondo had admitted (via translator), “my home is messy”. She went on to say that spending time with her growing family has taken priority over cleaning and tidying. When Kondo first wrote her best-selling book on cleaning, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, in 2011 she had no kids. A year later she married her husband and when filming her first Netflix series she had already had started having children. Now she has 3 kids and she simply isn’t spending her usual amount of time on cleaning the house.

She also noted that at this stage of her life, with young children, it doesn’t make sense for her to be overly concerned with order. She said, “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.”

dresser with sweaters stacked on top
Via: Unsplash/Markus Spiske

I’m sure that many of us can appreciate this, as cleaning is often the last thing that gets done after the kids have been picked up from school and taken to activities, fed, bathed, and put to bed. There’s not a lot of time left in the day after all that to really get much else done. And, if there is a spare hour at night it’s nearly always more alluring to spend that time on a hobby or watching some Netflix- rather than organizing the pantry or sorting through old magazines.

While Kondo has built her career on the idea of keeping a tidy home, this most recent admission of her housekeeping methods clashes somewhat with her ethos as a professional tidying consultant. However, her more relaxed stance isn’t totally new. In a 2022 she did an interview/cleaning session with Welsh journalist, Zoe Williams, and she espoused a more family-centered way of life that involved less cleaning then, too. At that time she admitted not tidying at home anymore and also indicated that she’d never said this in an interview before.

bookshelf with plant on it
Via: Unsplash/Samantha Gades

As a partial convert to the KonMari method myself I can say that no matter how hectic my life gets my t-shirts will always be folded upwards and stacked like files in a drawer just like Kondo has advised. Once you’ve been doing it that way for nearly a decade it make no sense to change it now. Plus I rarely rifle through my drawers chaotically looking for particular shirt anymore, which is worth a lot. However, ask me to get rid of any books and you may be barking up the wrong tree. Just like Marie Kondo herself, we’re all keeping organized in our own ways, and that’s ok.