Marie Kondo Folds Fat Stacks
Bloomberg Businessweek|February 04, 2019

Decluttering guru Marie Kondo has tapped Americans’ desire to clean up their complicated lives

Lisa Du, Isabel Reynolds, & Carmen Reinicke

On a cold January afternoon in Manhattan, Riley Soloner was visiting the Upper East Side outpost of the Container Store, a retailer that specializes in goods to help customers better organize the messes of modern life. Soloner was searching for a new laundry hamper because his old one no longer brought him joy. For many, that wouldn’t be adequate reason to consign it to the trash heap. But for adherents of Japanese home organization guru Marie Kondo— including Soloner, 30, who has watched her popular show on Netflix and read her best-selling books— even a mundane hamper is expected to bring happiness to its owner or be discarded. “I’m getting a high and mighty feeling over people [who are] just doing this now,” says Soloner, who is on his second round of winnowing down the possessions in his home.

Kondo, Japan’s reigning queen of tidiness, wants to save the millions of people like Soloner from clutter—and perhaps clean up financially along the way. The home organizing consultant is riding a huge media wave thanks to the success of her Netflix show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, which made its debut on Jan. 1. Her decluttering method, in which personal possessions are tossed or retained depending on whether they “spark joy,” is catching on with Americans oppressed by way too much stuff.

The show’s premise is simple: Kondo visits families across the U.S. to bring order to their homes and thereby their lives, item by item. As families go through their clutter, they’re told to thank and say goodbye to the things that no longer bring joy. What’s ensued has been nothing short of a cultural moment, as viewers become devotees. They’re flooding social media with photos of items stored in neat rows and containers, engaging in debates over whether things such as books should be tossed, and creating memes that poke fun at Kondo’s consumerist minimalism.

Netflix has another likely hit on its hands, and there’s been a noted uptick in social media chatter about home organization in the U.S. Meanwhile, as people say goodbye to their no- longer-wanted items, Goodwill and Salvation Army stores have reported higher donations than usual for January.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEKView All

Is the Future Of the Internet In This Van?

Tarana takes a $300 million shot at providing wireless internet that can rival fiber-based networks

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

THE DOGESTOCK GENERATION

Get-rich-quick trading is partly about entertainment, but it’s having a very real impact on markets

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

Private Equity Wants You

Managers of buyout funds are looking for more money from individual savers

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

The Chip King Faces The Crunch

TSMC has mastered the business of semiconductors, but staying on top of the politics is only getting trickier

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

Too Cool for School

Making enemies of the wrong parents has been hazardous to Juul’s health

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

For Crypto, The Price of Success May Be Regulation

Governments could finally target the anonymity that makes Bitcoin a haven for hackers

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

Decoding the Price Signals

What’s real, what’s transitory, what’s base-effect distortion? Let’s cut through the noise

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

India thought it had the virus beat. The virus had other ideas

Governments around the world keep repeating the same mistakes. In a country of 1.4 billion, the consequences are on a whole new scale

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

China's Next Export: Inflation

With prices rising at the factory gate, consumers abroad may wind up paying more

3 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

Hype Man

Chamath Palihapitiya—tech billionaire, Golden State Warriors co-owner, and all-around meme lord—has a sure-thing, 100%-can’tmiss investment for you that will definitely, absolutely pay off for him

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021