February 13, 2019
Four years ago, Marie Kondo was among The Times Top100 Most Influential People In The World.
But why, you might ask? Before the world was taken by storm this year with the smash Netflix show, "Tidying up with Marie Kondo," the LA-based, Japanese consultant harboured a deep love for tidying, nurtured particularly as a young child. She started her own organising consulting business at age 19, and in that time has written multiple books, including the "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying" and "Spark Joy."
Kondo's now well-known "KonMari method," a method which consists of gathering together all of one's belongings, one category at a time, and then only holding onto those objects which "spark joy." Taking her cue from the Shinto religion (of which she says her method is partly inspired by), her cleaning, organising and treasuring what you have, no matter their monetary value is what has enthralled the internet (and the world) with Marie Kondo once more.
If her perfectly timed Netflix release (complete with the verve and potential of the new year) wasn't enough, it seems like every Sarah and John is scrambling to ‘KonMari’ their homes across the world. This has swiftly flourished into a nonchalant attitude to disposing of anything (or anyone) that doesn’t “spark joy.” Have you Kondo-ed your friend list recently?
Her name has taken on the life of a viral meme and many news outlets have jumped onto this trend to criticise Kondo for enabling and encouraging capitalist consumerism to thrive at its finest; high speed churning of material goods resulting in congestion and clogging of op-shops and landfills. Trouble is, is this really the fault of Kondo? She may have indeed triggered people into a clearing out frenzy, but she can’t be blamed for our bad decisions.
We like to view "Tidying up with Marie Kondo" as a reflection on the shifting attitudes and behaviours of consumers. A shame culture associated with having too much stuff is becoming gradually realised, and as global issues like climate change, habitat destruction and reducing plastic waste flood our timelines and news stories so frequently, Kondo has merely brought our attention back to where the problem essentially begins - with us.
While minimalism remains a paradigm of flawless living reserved for the elite, Marie Kondo is making it accessible. There is more and more social pressure being placed on consumers to make ethically and morally correct choices - whether it's chocolate or clothes, you can see this increasing awareness all around you.
What the KonMari process triggers is an intimate confrontation and reevaluation of one's identity. Buy less and appreciate what you have. However, the capitalist notion that material and external objects have an intrinsic ability to define who we are is strictly reinforced. Vivienne Westwood said it best: "Buy less, choose well, make it last. Quality, not quantity." We should all try and Kondo our lives in one way or another - but let's try and remember that it's not about looking to throw things out for the sake of throwing out - find things in your life that "spark joy," hold onto them, and try and de-clutter your own life as best you can.
Perhaps you've got your tidying mode on now (in which case, awesome stuff!) but in case you're thinking about how your brand's social presence could be enhanced, why not read a little more about us?