Interview With KonMari Method Founder:
What inspires you?
MK: Watching my children grow is a source of daily inspiration. Their excitement and appreciation about the smallest things reminds me to be grateful for the simple things life offers. I’m constantly impressed by how much my children absorb every day. Observing them learn to communicate as siblings is very special – on their own, they’re discovering how to share toys and navigating when to play together or independently. Teaching them supportiveness and compassion has reminded me how important these values are to me.
How would others describe you?
MK: I hope that others describe me as compassionate, diligent and loyal. When I first began the development of the KonMari Method™, I was very focused on my career and passionate about sharing tidying with the world. My diligence to the organizing craft and KonMari Media, Inc. has made me realize how grateful I feel for this driven mindset. Compassion and loyalty are important to me, because I always try to show up to all scenarios in both my personal and professional life with care and support for others – two values I feel are vital for meaningful relationships and I truly hope others see these characteristics in me as well.
What do you do in your free time?
MK: I have a few favorite free time activities. I love spending time in my vegetable garden in my backyard. I like to go in the morning before my busy day begins, and then again in the late afternoon. It's really a moment for me to relax, connect with the earth and make sure the plants are healthy. My passion for the earth is evident in my tidying philosophy – the belief that all objects have energy and are worthy of care and respect. My bathing ritual is another leisure activity that has been important to me since growing up in Japan. Once the children have been put to bed, I draw the bath and prepare to wash off the fatigue of the day. Sometimes I light a candle or listen to music, but the water helps to restore my energy and calm my mind before bed. Practicing healing rituals during one's leisure time throughout the day or week will help you feel balanced. I dive deeper into the importance and value of daily rituals in my new book launching on November 15, "Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life."
What do you believe is your superpower?
MK: I believe my superpower is being a good listener. When raising small children, while they are just learning how to communicate, it is important to be patient with them and listen to their wants and needs. In my relationship with my husband and other family members, listening is key to maintaining functioning relationships and making sure your loved ones are understood. In the work setting, listening to my clients is necessary to understand what their ideal space looks like and help identify what they are looking to get out of the tidying process. I have found that being a good listener in life has gotten me very far and has built lasting relationships, so I am always striving to be the best I can at it.
What has been the most powerful piece of criticism you've received and how has it affected your career?
MK: The toughest criticism I feel I have faced was internally. When I was little, I imagined being a good mother to my children one day, just as my own mother was to me. I also had a very strong bond with my grandmother, and feel lucky to have had many good role models for how to take care of children. The time and labor involved in raising a family is more than I ever imagined – especially in their infant years, when I had no time for myself. At times, I felt unable to forgive myself for not being able to manage my life as I had before. I often felt intense internal pressure to always be perfect, a high expectation that I had placed upon myself. But with time, especially after I gave birth to my second daughter, I let go of my need for perfection altogether. I am busier than ever after having my third child, so I have grown to accept that I cannot tidy every day and things won’t always go according to plan – and that is okay! When you grow your family, expectations of what you want your life to look like can be readjusted as circumstances change.
Do you ever experience burnout and how do you handle it?
MK: There have been moments throughout my life where I have experienced burnout, but whenever I am feeling low energy or less motivated, I always turn to my daily rituals to ground me. Meditation is a lovely self-healing ritual that I rely on. It is as simple as closing my eyes, taking a deep breath and focusing on my mind and body. I use a tuning fork and crystal to purify the space, sit on a comfortable cushion, and try to have an open mind and heart. Meditation always helps me feel refreshed, focused and at ease.
What motivated you to start your company?
MK: I have been interested in tidying since my childhood, and I became captivated with the craft of organization at the age of 15 after reading “The Art of Discarding,” a bestselling book in Japan at the time. I began exploring tidying more seriously and read so many books on the subject. I began my tidying consultant business as a 19-year-old university student in Tokyo. It took years of experience and research working closely with different clients to fully develop the KonMari Method™, which is designed to help people keep clutter away by only keeping items that bring them joy. I love sharing the KonMari Method™ through writing and television and this really motivated me to grow and bring the KonMari Method™ into more people’s homes around the world, which is why we expanded the KonMari Method™ in a more impactful, global way by creating KonMari Media, Inc. in 2015 and introduced KonMari Consultant Certification Courses in August 2016. Today, we are proud to have more than 850 professionally trained, certified KonMari Consultants available to work in clients’ homes, offices and personal spaces across 60 countries and six continents… we’re just missing Antarctica!