KonMari For Kids: Marie Kondo On Her New Children’s Book
Written by Erin Feher
Photography by Photos courtesy of KonMari Media, Inc.
Loyal Mother readers know that we have been long-time fans of Marie Kondo, and believe 100 percent in her mission to help our stuff-obsessed culture cut ties with the things that don’t spark joy. Up until now, she has been patiently helping change the engrained habits of grown-ups who are ready to shed the clutter they have acquired over a lifetime. But with her latest book, she hopes to inspire a whole new generation of KonMari kids. Just released today, Kiki & Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendship was inspired by Kondo’s own two daughters (ages 3 and 4), and her desire to instill in them a few simple ideas: people are more important than things, too much stuff can get in the way of relationships, and, of course, how to properly fold a shirt. We sat down with Marie Kondo to talk tidying, kids, Kiki & Jax, and more.
What inspired you to write a children’s book?
“Becoming a mother really motivated me to write a children’s book. As a parent, 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.”
How old are your daughters now and what activities are they most into?
“Four and three. They are avid readers who regularly devour up to 10 books a night before bedtime—with help from me and my husband!”
What books—other than your own—are your current favorites to read with your daughters?
“I discovered Salina Yoon, the children’s book author and illustrator with whom I collaborated on Kiki & Jax, through her book Penguin and Pinecone, which is one of my daughters’ favorites.”
Do your daughters also have a fondness for staying tidy and organized?
“One thing I strive to do is to tidy by example. With my daughters, I make tidying playful, so they can see that it’s a fun and enjoyable everyday activity.”
What are your rules around bringing toys into your home?
“It’s important to recognize spatial limitations. Once you establish a place for your children’s belongings, you can see the finite space that you have to accommodate new toys—or practical things like wipes and diapers. Recognizing that this space is limited will keep your home from being overtaken by your children’s belongings.”
Kids’ books often clutter houses quite quickly, but they’re such a sweet thing to have and it’s nice to have lots of different options. Do you tend to buy books for your girls or check them out from the library?
“The library is a wonderful way to discover new books, and to find joy-sparking ones that you and your children may want to keep. By welcoming new things into your home, such as books, you and your children can gain a better understanding of what brings you joy.”
What makes you most excited about motherhood?
“When my kids learn something new and are able to communicate it to me and my husband, those moments spark a lot of joy.”
What makes you most nervous?
“This doesn’t make me nervous, exactly, but my girls do want sweets a lot and I try not to give them too many!”
Do you have a philosophy you apply to how you parent?
“As a mother of two, I strive to honor each girl’s individuality and respect their unique needs and what sparks joy for them.”
You have such a big career. How has it been juggling raising your two daughters and working so much?
“I pay attention to my energy levels and listen to what my body is telling me. When I’m too tired, I don’t force myself to clean or tidy at the end of the day. I acknowledge what I can’t do and say, ‘That’s okay!’ I give up for that day and do it the next morning.”
Do your daughters have any idea about your global fame? Do they know what you do for work?
“I don’t know if they’re aware that I’m globally famous, but they do know that I’ve written books, go on T.V., and do work that requires being in front of other people. Sometimes they’ll take out one of my books and say, ‘Mama’s book!'”
Can you tell us about your other upcoming book, Joy at Work, and what inspired it?
“Many people have asked how they can extend the KonMari philosophy to their careers. Joy at Work is not only about tidying your workspace, but also about transforming your work life into something that sparks joy.”
If a parent wants to teach their children about organization, what are some tiny steps they could take to get started?
“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.”
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