Chances are you know Marie Kondo, the world-renowned tidying expert, if you have ever looked around your cluttered home and asked yourself if your belongings "spark joy." The petite, soft-spoken Japanese organizing guru and author of the New York Times bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was introduced to the rest of the world through her hit Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, in 2019. The Emmy-nominated show follows Kondo as she helps people learn how to bring joy to their homes by reassessing the clutter in their lives.
The series turned Kondo’s name into a verb and sparked a lot more than joy for homeowners and apartment dwellers globally. Kondo’s cleaning philosophies made individuals obsessed with folding their clothes to stand upright inside their drawers, and Kondo’s groundbreaking KonMari Method became a phenomenon, making the tidying expert a worldwide sensation.
While viewers enjoyed watching one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People help others reorganize their homes, many began to wonder just how Kondo organizes her own home. This is what Marie Kondo’s home is really like.
Marie Kondo is used to small Japanese homes
Marie Kondo has made a name for herself in America as a decluttering guru, turning many home dwellers on to her unique KonMari Method. The Japanese tidying expert, who developed a love for organizing at the age of 5, bases many of her organizing and simplifying tips on Japanese culture, where tidiness is a part of everyday life.
The expert explained her minimalistic approach in an interview with HuffPost in January 2019, saying, "Properties and homes in Japan are tiny!" She went on to describe her home growing up, explaining, "I grew up in a house where my family of five would unfold futons and sleep side-by-side in a room of about 13m x 13m. There isn’t much space for storage, so small furniture and appliances are necessary."
Kondo had to learn to keep her living space clutter-free after the birth of her daughter in 2015, as she explained to Good Housekeeping in April 2016. She said, "Spatially, it was a big challenge after I gave birth to my baby. … a lot of clothes and diapers and things like that. Storage space became a big challenge."
Marie Kondo’s home doesn’t have a set decorating style
While Marie Kondo grew up in Japan, the tidying guru has taken her organizing skills to California. Kondo, who believes that things should be discarded if they no longer "spark joy," explained in a Q&A on her blog, "I usually move once a year. The longest my husband and I have lived in one house is a year and a half!"
Not long before her Netflix series premiered in January 2019, Kondo moved into a home in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters (via the Los Angeles Times). This is likely because the eight families featured on the show’s first season all live around California.
Due to Kondo’s minimalist approach to cleaning, as seen on her series, it’s easy to assume Marie Kondo’s home is also minimalistic. However, that’s not exactly the case. In an interview with Elle Decor in January 2019, the queen of clean explained, "I don’t have a particular decorating style, but one thing that I like to maintain in my house is to have a very purified environment." The "purified environment" involves letting fresh air into her home, placing crystals in different rooms throughout the house, and putting salt in different rooms as part of a Japanese tradition.
There’s a space for prayer in Marie Kondo’s home
Marie Kondo’s daily life consists of setting the mood, restoring balance, and being thankful for what she has. One of the places in Marie Kondo’s home where she expresses her gratitude is at her Japanese-style kamidana, a Shinto household altar.
Every morning, the bestselling author wakes up around 6 a.m. — often naturally, without an alarm clock — burns some incense, opens her windows to let in fresh air, and kneels before the altar to pray. The tidying expert explained to The Cut in March 2018, "I’ll pray for the health of my family and friends, and also for myself to get done as much as possible what needs to be done."
While the miniature shrine stems from the Shinto religion, Kondo explained her practices are not a religious one, saying in the same interview, "This is not a religious thing really at all. It’s just for me to take this time every morning to feel gratitude. It’s a practice I started when I was still single, maybe about seven years ago."
Where Marie Kondo gets work done at home
Since launching KonMari, a tidying consultant business centered around helping clients tidy their houses, at age 19, Marie Kondo has amassed a large fan following and over 200 KonMari Consultants helping to spread her gospel. With help from her consultants, Kondo can change people’s lives all without ever leaving her home.
The decluttering queen surprisingly doesn’t have an office of her own. Instead, Kondo works in a corner of her house, as she explained to The Cut in March 2018, saying, "I don’t have a separate room that I use as an office, but I do have my corner, with an antique desk and chair, that I use for work."
The business-savvy mother of two usually works on her laptop and sips on tea, and she has a "small flower vase" or a scented spray on her desk. To The Cut, she noted, "For work, I like a scent with a mint or a grapefruit base. So I’ll spray some of that and then get started writing down the day’s tasks on a notepad." Sounds like Marie Kondo’s home is the place to work!
This kitchen item sparks joy in Marie Kondo’s home
Marie Kondo makes a living helping others find things that "spark joy" in their lives, so it’s not surprising that the petite tidying consultant would have no trouble finding things that bring happiness in her own life.
In January 2019, the KonMari founder talked to HelloGiggles about the three items that "spark joy" in her life, saying, "The crystal in my bedroom, my earthen pot, ‘donabe,’ in which I cook special rice, [and] my antique writing desk."
Kondo described cooking in her donabe, a ceramic Japanese pot, to Bon Appétit in January 2019, saying, "The last thing I cooked was a rice dish cooked in fish stock, made in my donabe. I got the cooking bug last January. I’ve always liked it, but when I got married, my husband was very much into cooking. So I got into it too. The first thing I cooked was a chicken soup that my mother taught me the recipe for." The same interview revealed that there are three donabes, each with its own purpose in the kitchen, in Marie Kondo’s home.
Marie Kondo’s home has a very tidy kitchen
While Marie Kondo has a love for cooking and being in the kitchen, the cleaning guru doesn’t spend a lot of time organizing that room in her house. Unlike some of her clients who are featured on her hit Netflix series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, Kondo doesn’t need a lot of help reorganizing her kitchen cupboards and drawers because she doesn’t have a ton of items in her kitchen to begin with.
As she explained in a January 2019 interview with Bon Appétit, "The last thing I KonMaried from my kitchen was nothing! I have the opposite problem. I always have very few items in the kitchen, so right now I’m actually adding to it." She continued, "Recently I’ve replaced my cutting boards to something that truly sparks joy for me, made from Gingko trees. I’m also in the market for a big, sharp knife."
In the KonMari Method, kitchen items fall under the miscellaneous category, so the process for organizing kitchen clutter isn’t as detailed as the processes for other categories. However, as with the rest of the areas in the home, it’s important to only keep items that spark joy.
Marie Kondo’s home has a cupboard full of tea
There are many things that spark joy in Marie Kondo’s home, and one of them is tea. The tidying expert consumes multiple cups of tea each day as part of her routine. As she explained to The Cut in March 2018, "I probably have about 15 different kinds of tea in my cupboard at any given time."
Kondo utilizes her tea time as her break time from work, and she usually rewards herself with an additional cup after completing a task. She told The Cut, "I drink multiple cups of tea a day. So that will be my break. After I’ve accomplished a few things or start to feel tired, I’ll get up and make another cup."
Some of Kondo’s go-to teas include green tea, white tea, and matcha tea (via Bon Appétit), which she drinks at breakfast, and herb tea when she wakes up in the morning and at night. According to Kondo’s website, her tea drinking originates from childhood, where Kondo was introduced to the Japanese tea ceremony from her paternal grandmother.
There are flowers everywhere in Marie Kondo’s home
As part of Marie Kondo’s popular decluttering KonMari Method, the Japanese organizing expert urges people to express gratitude for the beauty in the world around them. Kondo can often be seen expressing her gratitude toward nature and plant life on Instagram because it’s one of the things that brings joy to her life. One can assume the tidying expert loves flowers — because they’re all over her house! In a March 2018 interview with The Cut, Kondo explained, "Before I go to bed, I’ll go around the house and change the water in the flower vases. I have flowers all over the place."
Kondo usually keeps "a small flower vase" on her desk, too. Along with filling her home with colorful flowers that bring inspiration, Kondo likes to fill any hotel rooms she checks into with flower arrangements to spark joy when traveling. The mom includes her family in on her flower excursions, as shown in an Instagram photo from 2017, and Kondo also boasts plants in her yard. Marie Kondo’s home must smell amazing!
Marie Kondo’s home has no more than 30 books
After Marie Kondo’s series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, premiered on Netflix, most viewers around the globe were hooked on the expert’s decluttering tactics. However, some took issue with her rule to get rid of books. In her show and in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Kondo advocates for tossing things that don’t bring joy to a person’s life. For Kondo, having 30 books in her home was too much for her.
While her comments were met with criticism, Kondo explained to the Los Angeles Times in January 2019 that there may have been a misunderstanding to the concept, saying, "I do think there are misconceptions." She added, "I think this occurred because in one of my books I said that when I was tidying and going through my books I had about 30 books left. Maybe misreading there." To IndieWire earlier that month, Kondo shared, "So it’s not so much what I personally think about books. The question you should be asking is what do you think about books."
Things aren’t always properly put away in Marie Kondo’s home
Everyone has a habit they can’t break — even Marie Kondo. While most of her philosophy revolves around finding a home for every item you own, sometimes the soft-spoken organizer can’t follow her own rules. In an interview with The Guardian in December 2018, Kondo said via her translator, "I love wearing slippers, but I take them off in random places around the house — I can’t keep them on for long, so they’re scattered."
In Kondo’s perfect world, she makes sure to wipe off her shoes as soon as she enters her home before slipping on her comfy slippers. She explained to People in March 2019, "When I come home at the end of the day, I wipe the soles of shoes with gratitude before storing them in the closet near the entryway of my home. I then change into my house slippers."
In between running a decluttering empire, raising two small children, and starring in her own Netflix series, it’s understandable why Kondo might leave her slippers lying around occasionally. Still, we doubt Marie Kondo’s home ever gets too messy.
The one item Marie Kondo can’t part with in her home
Sorting through sentimental items can be the hardest part of Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method, which is why she recommends saving that part of the decluttering process for last. In the episode "Sparking Joy After a Loss" of her hit Netflix series, Kondo took a widow through the tidying process, which included sorting through her late husband’s belongings. Along every step of the way, Kondo explained the importance of saying a heartfelt thank you to the personal items before discarding them.
While Kondo is a pro when it comes to helping others say goodbye to sentimental items, she reluctantly admitted to her inability to get rid of a particular sentimental item in an interview with Good Housekeeping in April 2016. She shared, "So… I have this stuffed seal," explaining, "It’s very small. It was a gift from my father, and even though I’m an adult, I still keep it on my shelf. It’s something I can’t part with!" So, you’ll find at least one stuffed animal in Marie Kondo’s home.
Shampoo does not stay out at Marie Kondo’s home
Marie Kondo is serious about getting rid of items that don’t "spark joy" or have a rightful place in the home, and that includes items in the bathroom. In a chapter of her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (via Chatelaine), Kondo explained that one must keep things out of their bath and shower — including shampoo.
The rule stems from Kondo’s horrible experience with a wire rack that resulted in her shampoo bottles being covered in slime — an incident that almost left her in tears. After realizing the bathroom is one of the most humid areas of the home, making it unsuitable for storage, Kondo vowed to keep everything out of her shower to avoid similar gross mishaps in the future.
In an interview with People in March 2019, Kondo explained, "I do not keep my shampoo bottles in the shower or bathtub; I wipe them down and make sure they’re completely dry after use, returning them to their home in a basket under the sink." She added, "This makes cleaning the bathroom easier and prevents the buildup of mildew."
Marie Kondo’s home boasts physical reminders of her girls
Marie Kondo is a successful mother of two lively little girls, and she’s doing her best to maintain her tidying business while raising them to be tidy as well. Often traveling for interviews and public appearances, Kondo can look back on the happy memories of her girls taking up storage space on her phone when she needs to. While her phone is filled with photos, Kondo also likes to have physical photos around as well — specifically around the writing space of Marie Kondo’s home — because, as she told Variety in August 2019, it "replenishes [her] energy."
In the same interview, she described the two pictures that "give [her] a little bit of a squeeze in the heart." They are of her younger daughter smiling from ear to ear for the first time and a self-portrait of her oldest daughter. As Kondo wrote in a January 2019 Instagram post, "My children show me how joy manifests itself in the body."
You can find crystals in Marie Kondo’s home
Marie Kondo’s home has many items that spark joy for her. After all, it’s important for her to create a serene space where she can unleash her creativity. And in order for Kondo to get any work done, she likes to have a purified space.
One of the things she surrounds herself with when working at home are crystals. As she explains in an interview with Variety in August 2019, she likes to place a small crystal "on or near [her] laptop," while she places larger crystals around the room.
She uses the crystals to cleanse the air around her, a practice she picked up before publishing her hit book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In January 2019, Kondo told HelloGiggles that she also likes to place a crystal in her bedroom. She explained to Variety, "I am usually writing about how to spark more joy in our lives and how to let the atmosphere around us spark more joy, so it’s very important that the spaces in which I create also spark joy for me."