What Happened To Marie Kondo?

Though it wasn't until her Netflix show "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" premiered in 2019 that she gained worldwide recognition, Marie Kondo has been staying organized her whole life. "As a young girl fascinated with tidying, I thought the goal was to get rid of as many things as possible. [But] this single-minded focus on discarding had a negative impact on my health ... I had an epiphany: Tidying is about what you want to keep in your life, not what you want to eliminate. This is what inspired the bedrock for the KonMari Method –- choosing to keep what sparks joy," she explained to Forbes.

She went on to start her own organization consulting business that became wildly popular in Japan, per The New York Times. Success in her home country led her to write her first book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." The KonMari method famously inspires others to treat belongings as if they are alive, showing them gratitude for what they've given you and thanking them when it's time to let go. Her simple but appealing philosophy soon became popular in other parts of the world, culminating in her influential Netflix series. The fame, however, became a bit overwhelming for Kondo. She confessed to Fast Company, "I wasn't used to the process at all, so I became really physically exhausted." While she has taken a slight step back from the spotlight, she hasn't scaled back her ambitions. Let's take a closer look at what Marie Kondo has been up to.

She launched an online shop

Marie Kondo was quick to open an e-commerce shop after the success of her Netflix series in 2019. And while it may seem hypocritical to start selling items after convincing others to clear out their excess junk, Kondo claimed she wasn't "trying to encourage over-purchasing anything" in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Instead, she explained that the idea came from fans asking about the type of products she uses. "I want to express how much I enjoy each item so that it's evident to the viewers that the material item itself is effective in creating this tangible experience of joy," she told the publication.

The online store includes wellness items such as a tuning fork with a crystal to reset the energy in your home, incense, aromatherapy, and minimalistic pajamas. You can also find a whole section of Japanese staples like flower frogs, kimono robes, desktop zen gardens, tea sets, matcha whisks, and more. And of course, there's plenty of organizational items and tools.

Kondo expanded her consultant training program

For those who think they may have the organizational skills to become the next Marie Kondo, there's a way to prove it. Kondo's been training others to be official KonMari consultants for years, but she now has an online program where anyone can register for the course and be on their way to becoming a certified consultant in her "spark joy" method and even make a new career out of it.

According to the KonMari website, the course costs $2,250 plus an annual fee of $500 to renew licenses. In it, certified instructors teach the fundamentals of her method and how to start a small business in professional organizing. The website's directory demonstrates that people all over the world have started KonMari tidying businesses. It's an involved process, however. "You must attend a Consultant Certification Course, practice tidying with two clients, and then take a written exam. There are seven consecutive steps involved, which include everything from tidying your own home to attending one of these courses to taking an exam and joining the community," she explained to Forbes.

If you're not someone who is looking for a career change but would like guidance on how to organize your own life in a more visual way than reading Kondo's books, fear not. She also offers an online course called the "Fundamentals of Tidying," where at the much lower price of $39.99, you can learn from Kondo directly in pre-recorded lessons. Get to folding!

She published a new book in 2020

In 2020, Marie Kondo decided to add another book to her list of achievements. Branching out of her usual focus on the home, the book is titled "Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life." The book was co-written with author and instructor Scott Sonenshein, who holds a PhD in organizational behavior.

Together, the celebrity entrepreneur and professor created a work that was partly her philosophy applied to professional life and partly his contribution about the more psychological and behavioral aspect of organizing in corporate settings. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Kondo explained, "When we ask ourselves what sparks joy, we reconnect with our inner self and discover what's really important to us. This approach can be applied to all aspects of life –- from your home to your career."

As for Sonenshein, he noted to Fast Company, "There's a lot of clutter, not just on the desk, but in our minds, in the conference room, and on our computers ... All these distractions get in the way of doing the job that we might otherwise love." Kondo also offers practical advice in the book, like keeping your desk completely clear of any distractions and organizing papers vertically so things don't get lost in never-ending, overwhelming stacks.

The famous consultant shared decluttering tips during the pandemic

While many of us were freaking out during the chaos of 2020 from inside our work-from-home dens, Marie Kondo was all about keeping it zen. "It is a challenging and uncertain time, but it may also be an opportunity to express gratitude for your space and to tidy up if you've been wanting to," she told The New York Times. She shared her daily diary with the online newspaper in Spring 2020 during the early days of the pandemic lockdown. It should come as no surprise that her days at home were planned and organized to a T, including a schedule of lighting incense, meditating, tending to her garden, exercising, cooking, and spending time with her kids, all while somehow still managing to work several hours a day.

And of course, she also encouraged using the extra time at home to (you guessed it!) tidy. Because more people were attempting to "Marie Kondo" their lives, she noticed another wave of intense interest in the KonMari method. The tidying master explained to Forbes that in response to so many requests for help, she created an 8-week Tidy Challenge. Sharing practical advice for staying balanced in work-from-home situations, she suggested creating a strict schedule that separates work and down time. Speaking with Extra TV about tidying up tips during the pandemic, she explained that something as simple as a flower on your desk can "spark joy" in trying times.

Marie Kondo had her third child in 2021

Marie Kondo has been married to partner Takumi Kawahara since 2014. They reportedly met while waiting for an elevator in Japan around 2005, but it took a while for their relationship to fully blossom, per Fast Company. Kawahara and Kondo are more than husband and wife; they're also business partners. Their home life has centered on Kondo's "sparking joy" philosophy, and for her, having children was a large part of her dreams. "Nothing sparks joy like motherhood," she wrote on Instagram in 2020.

The couple already had two children together when in 2021, Kondo announced on her Instagram she was pregnant with her third child. She welcomed the baby in April 2021, posting a photo of the newborn on Instagram, writing, "I am over the moon welcoming this bundle of joy into our family." If you're wondering how Kondo stays as tidy as ever with two toddlers and a baby, the answer is, she doesn't always. "Motherhood taught me to be more forgiving of myself. The joy that comes from parenting exceeds any satisfaction that could have come from a perfectly neat home," she wrote in her KonMari blog.

She premiered another TV series

Though fans didn't get a full new season of "Tidying Up," they were able to get a fresh dose of uplifting organization content with Marie Kondo's three-episode special, "Sparking Joy," which aired in 2021. "We're going beyond tidying at home!" she wrote in an Instagram post announcing the series. One episode revolves around decluttering an organic garden center, another shows Kondo helping an owner of a coffee shop, and the third episode revolves around "a church volunteer with a clothing problem," per The Washington Post.

In a statement to People, Kondo said, "I am thrilled about my new series, which shifts the focus from how to tidy to why you should tidy — and the emotional benefits that resonate in relationships, businesses and communities." The trailer radiates an uplifting and joyful vibe as it displays emotional responses from the people she's helping. The show was well-liked by critics and was certainly enough to give fans some new inspiration to find a Marie Kondo-esque calm within themselves and get to tidying.

KonMari teamed up with The Container Store

If you shopped at The Container Store (or walked past one), you've likely seen a large photograph of Marie Kondo (like the one her daughters are pictured with above) advertising her new line of sustainable products at the organization mega-store. Called The Container Store x KonMari, the collaboration made sense. In 2019, during the height of the Marie Kondo frenzy in America, Container Stores sales increased by 9%, according to Fast Company. She was helping the Container Store make money before she even intended to.

Because so many organizational products are made of not-so-Earth-friendly plastic, inevitably creating more waste, Kondo decided to focus on creating products made from sustainable materials like bamboo for her Container Store line. "The collection was a bold undertaking, as we wanted to fuse sustainability, premium products, and Marie's personal style together ... Our buying team traveled all over the world to accomplish a collection [that's like] nothing you have ever seen in our stores," Container Store chief merchandising officer John Gehre told Business of Home. At the store, she sells everything from wooden hangers to aesthetically pleasing hampers.

The backlash she faced

Despite how appealing her philosophy and methods are to many fans, she certainly hasn't been immune to backlash. When Marie Kondo first gained wide popularity after her Netflix success, there was a lot of criticism and misunderstanding surrounding her ideas. One of the most common misconceptions was that she was a minimalist. The Guardian, for instance, published an article titled, "The empty promises of Marie Kondo and the craze for minimalism." But Kondo has made it clear she isn't a minimalist. "... The important thing about my method is that the concern is not with the quantity — it's not less is better, but rather being aware of your comfort level, and of what quantity makes you feel better in your home," she told The Daily Beast. Others called her a book-hater, an accusation she says is a colossal misunderstanding of her teachings.

Marie Kondo supporters and those with a more in-depth understanding of Japanese culture were quick to recognize the possible racism behind much of the criticism. Several media outlets and many Twitter users poked fun at Kondo, calling her ideas "nonsense" without taking the time to consider cultural differences. Some of Kondo's beliefs are rooted in the Japanese Shinto tradition, particularly the concept of "cherishing material objects," she explained to The Daily Beast. While the KonMari method is not for everyone, she offers guidance to a new way of organizing for those who want it. So no need to get xenophobic about it.

How much is Marie Kondo worth?

With a successful consulting empire, best-selling books, hit TV shows, and several e-commerce ventures, you're probably thinking Marie Kondo must be worth millions. And you're correct. Marie Kondo's net worth is estimated to be around $8 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2020, Japanese retail giant Rakuten became the majority shareholder in KonMari Media Inc., per S&P global. Though the amount of the deal was undisclosed, it was likely a large sum.

Kondo's business prowess has left some speculating about whether or not she has sold out. Former New York Times writer Alison Roman called Kondo "greedy" in an interview with The New Consumer. Kondo addressed the remarks via The Daily Beast, saying, "I always try to teach people to cherish what you already have, and in buying new things, I really encourage people to be as selective as possible. And I do have my online shop, but it's after you finish tidying, and you attain a life that sparks joy for you, that you start to add new things to your life that truly spark joy."

As for the Rakuten purchase, Kondo's husband, Takumi Kawahara, told Fast Company that it made sense because Rakuten is such a widespread and prevalent company in Japan ("It touches every person's life there," he said) and that is aligned with Kondo's goal. "I want tidying and organization to be spread throughout the world," she told The Guardian. And she may make a few more million in the process.

She has another book in the works

For those itching to get some new KonMari Method content, there's good news. Marie Kondo will continue to expand her philosophy in a new book called "Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life" that is set to be released in November 2022. In the press release for the new title, the tidying expert explained, "I created this book as a guide for both those who have already adopted the KonMari Method™ and those who might be new to the philosophy. My hope is that readers can learn how to visualize their ideal life so that their homes, activities and relationships can spark joy every day."

Kurashi is a Japanese word meaning "way of life," per Jisho. In it, Kondo offers suggestions and steps for finding one's own "kurashi." The book will reportedly be filled with images designed to inspire. As for Kondo's future, she plans to continue spreading the gospel of tidying to new audiences. When The Guardian asked what her greatest achievement was, she answered, "organizing the world."