Marie Kondo Gives This Advice to Overwhelmed Parents

Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo | Ben Gabbe/iStock/Getty Images

If you’ve seen the Tidying Up with Marie Kondo Netflix series and you’re familiar with the KonMari method of organizing your home, your might be skeptical if you have young children. How on earth are you supposed to keep a tidy house if you have kids running around? Surprisingly, Kondo has two young children and she says she’s still able to keep her home in order. Here’s Kondo’s advice for staying tidy—even when you have kids at home.

Marie Kondo’s family

Kondo is married with two children named Satsuki and Miko. In 2012, she married Takumi Kawahara. He was a sales and marketing executive when the couple first met. Now, Kawahara is his wife’s manager and CEO of KonMari Media. He’s also responsible for taking photos for Kondo’s Instagram account and updating her social media content.

How Marie Kondo teaches her children to be tidy

Marie Kondo poses before taking part in Netflix's "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" screening and conversation at 92nd Street Y on January 08, 2019 in New York City.
Marie Kondo |  Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Being tidy doesn’t stop with Kondo. She is determined to pass her knowledge on to her daughters. She told Time she tries to clean up and fold items in front of them so they can model her habits. “I try to show my older daughter the things I do daily. I try to do some of the washing and folding in front of her, deliberately. Sometimes my daughter starts folding hats or tries to fold place mats on the dining table,” she told the publication.

Marie says she won’t force her kids to be tidy when they’re older

Although Kondo is the queen of tidy, she told Time she won’t force her views on being neat on her children. She said if they decide they don’t want to be like her when it comes to being organized, she will be OK with that.

I do think about the day that might actually happen. But one thing that’s important for me is to figure out what people’s personal spaces are. I might say from here to here is your personal space, and if you decide to organize it, that would be great. But if she says she really doesn’t want to organize, I won’t say anything about that. What’s really important is that you yourself can tidy up. If you can keep your personal space tidy, it gives you a calm mindset. Then even if your family is not as tidy, it’s OK.

Marie Kondo’s tips for tidying up with children

Marie Kondo (R) attends 2016 Time 100 Gala, Time's Most Influential People In The World - Cocktails at Jazz At Lincoln Center at the Times Warner Center on April 26, 2016 in New York City.
Marie Kondo | Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Time

In a Quora discussion, one user expressed frustration about trying to keep the home tidy with young kids present. Kondo offered these pearls of wisdom:

The most important thing is for parents to learn to tidy their own things first. If parents can keep their own belongings tidy, their kids will notice and learn by example; they’ll realize how tidying is comforting and enjoyable. Parents should avoid asking their kids to get rid of belongings. Instead, they can ask their kids “Does this spark joy in you?” or “Can you select the toys you like best?” These questions create opportunities for the kids to be conscious of their feelings for their belongings.

What’s especially effective is for parents to teach their kids how to fold their clothes. Keeping a habit of tidying up clothes, which are used every day and are clearly the kids’ own belongings, helps teach them the basic concepts of tidying up. It is ideal if you can start teaching them beginning when they are around 3.

I suggest folding the clothes with your children and framing the process as ‘giving the clothes a home.’ This creates an environment where tidying up is enjoyable. My book Spark Joy explains in detail with illustrations the specifics of how to fold different pieces of clothing.

Read more: ‘Tidying Up’: Why Does Marie Kondo Always Wear White?

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