Marie Kondo on Tidying Up in a Pandemic
Beyond the empire-building that Ms. Kondo’s Container Store collaboration represents, how has she fared this past pandemic year, and what are her thoughts, going forward, about 2021, already a very messy year indeed?
(The interview below, which was conducted via email, has been condensed and edited for space. Ms. Kondo’s new collection is available immediately at konmari.com and containerstore.com; and at all Container Stores nationwide Jan. 15.)
Can you tell me a little bit about what cultural traditions you bring to a new year?
Happy New Year! This is a time of rich tradition in Japan, and some of my favorite new year rituals are kakizome, hatsumode and eating osechi ryori. Kakizome is the ritual of writing a Japanese kanji character (glyph) that captures your wish or principle for the year ahead. We did this as a family and chose the Japanese character 素 (pronounced “Su”), meaning “natural” or “as you are.” My intention is to honor my truest self and remain grounded in my purpose in 2021. Writing this down serves as a helpful reminder throughout the year.
Hatsumode is the tradition of attending a local shrine at the beginning of the year to thank the land for allowing you to live upon it and use its resources. We were not able to do that this holiday, so we expressed gratitude from our home in Southern California!
Are there New Year’s rituals that are particular to you and to your family, ones you might have developed as a tidiness expert, as a partner and as a parent?
Tidying is a powerful reset, and in my experience, there is no better time to tidy up than at the start of a new year. The first step of my tidying method is to imagine your ideal lifestyle. Consider what kind of house you want to live in and how you want to live in it. By doing this, you are really clarifying why you want to tidy and envisioning your best life. Embrace the symbolic timing of the new year and use this mind-set to guide you through the tidying process.
How have you stayed organized, emotionally and practically, this past year?
The world has been very chaotic this past year, but because I spent most of it at home, it served as an opportunity to confront and organize my thoughts and emotions. There was no escaping, so to speak; therefore, I used this time to reflect, re-evaluate my priorities and ground myself. I experienced a heightened appreciation for all that I have.