Marie Kondo, the famous tidying expert known for bringing joy while reducing clutter and chaos to homes around the world has stepped into a new role recently—children’s book author. The mom of two has written a charming book with illustrator Salina Yoon, called “Kiki & Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendship,”  and it cleverly tells the story of two friends who overcome personal obstacles to learn the art and joy of friendship. See our exclusive interview below.

1. What do you see that is missing or getting in the way when it came to children, the art of friendship?

“In “Kiki & Jax,” Kiki’s clutter gets in the way; through tidying, the two learn to really value their friendship. This lesson can apply to anyone—distractions make it difficult to focus on what really matters.”

ADVERTISEMENT

2. For children who are still resistant to the notion of donating and getting rid of things (even after thanking it and acknowledge they don’t need it any longer), how should parents approach getting rid of clutter with their kids? 

“Children learn by example, so first make sure you have completed your own tidying festival! If you discover something that no longer sparks joy for you, include your children in the process of thanking the item and letting it go. Also, make sure your children understand where their toys belong. By returning items to their homes, children develop an awareness—and ultimately, an appreciation—of what they already possess.”

3. Where did you find inspiration for this book?

“As a parent of two young girls, I’ve observed firsthand the impact that books can have on children. I wrote ‘Kiki & Jax’ as a way to communicate the joy of tidying and friendship to young readers.”

4. What are the biggest obstacles in terms of stuff that you see when it comes to kids?

“Children’s toys seem to multiply and quickly become scattered throughout the house. Designate a set location where each of these toys will be kept and make sure your children are aware of where their toys belong. Then they can assist you with putting them away!”

5. How do you recommend approaching gift-giving holidays and birthdays and the influx of so much stuff? 

“Before I search for a gift, I recall things about my loved one’s lifestyle, work, and interests; I try to imagine what would spark joy based on their personality. I know I’ve found a meaningful gift when I can articulate what aspects I think the recipient will like about it.

My three rules for receiving gifts are:

1. Open immediately.
2. Remove packaging.
3. Start using it right away.

Try out every gift at least once—even those that don’t immediately spark joy. The ability to feel what truly excites you is only gained through experience. If you try it out and intend to keep it, designate a home for the new item, as you’ve done with everything else you own. However, if you try using the item and decide that it doesn’t suit you, thank it and bid it farewell. The true purpose of a present is to be received. When viewed from this perspective, there is no need to feel guilty about parting with a gift that ultimately doesn’t spark joy.”

6. Is there another children’s book in the future?

“Right now, I’m finishing ‘Joy at Work,’ which will be published in spring 2020. This book offers stories, studies and strategies to help you eliminate clutter and make space for work that really matters. I’m also excited to announce the launch of KonMari’s new shop this holiday season. We’ll be offering a collection of items that I use in my everyday life and that spark joy for me!”

7. Any tips for sorting stacks of photos and children’s artwork?

“The order in which you tidy is very important. In the KonMari Method™, you work your way through the categories from easiest to the most difficult because this process allows you to gradually hone your sensitivity to what sparks joy in you. Sentimental items—like photos and artwork—are the last category, so by the time you tackle them, you will have a much clearer sense of joy. While tidying sentimental items, always ask yourself if these items will continue to spark joy as you move forward in your life.”

8. Where do you find inspiration?

“When I am tidying and examining my possessions, I enter a state of deep reflection. Those moments are inspirational for me. My family also provides me with a great deal of inspiration. And nature, of course!”

9. What do you think of the clutter of social media apps like Facebook and Instagram? 

“Technology, like physical clutter, can distract us from what’s truly important. Before applying the KonMari Method™ to your digital life, make sure you’ve already finished tidying your home, which will clear your mind and soul—and hone your decision-making skills. People who have finished tidying their home tend to begin digital tidying on their own initiative.

10. What item gives you the biggest spark of joy and will never throw away?

“The first Mother’s Day card I received from my daughters. My husband helped them make it, with their handprints stamped inside.”