The untold truth of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo premiered on New Year's Day 2019, and Netflix subscribers everywhere excitedly tuned in to the new series all about decluttering your home and changing your life. Tidying Up With Marie Kondo instantly captivated audiences with star Marie Kondo's charming and sweet personality and joyful take on how to get clean and organized. The show was an instant hit, to say the least, and soon had viewers everywhere trying out the KonMari method for themselves.

If you aren't familiar with the method, it separates itself from other cleaning strategies by encouraging users to hold items before deciding what to do with them and determine whether or not they spark joy. According to Kondo herself, this mindset allows those who adopt it to keep a tidy home forever. "The KonMari Method isn't meant to make your home tidy for a short amount of time," she told HelloGiggles in an interview back in January 2019. "Rather, it is an experience you go through using both your heart and mind."

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo all started with a book

Unfortunately, not just anyone can host their own hit Netflix show, so how did Marie Kondo get to that point? Well, it actually all started with a book Kondo wrote and published in 2014, which has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide, according to her website. The book, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, encourages readers to find joy in decluttering and organizing their home, and it obviously works. After Kondo published the book, it didn't take long for the KonMari method to gain traction, and people all over the world started trying to "spark joy" by straightening up their homes.

On top of her best-selling book and hit show, Kondo can also boast at having over 3 million followers on Instagram, as of this writing. As strange as it may sound, Kondo truly did find fame and fortune doing what she loves, which just so happens to be cleaning and organizing.

There were hundreds of applicants for Tidying Up

If you've watched Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, then you know how much of an impact Marie Kondo has made on the families and homes she's visited. But how did those people get to be on the show? Well, it turns out that the application process was seriously competitive. According to Vulture, Netflix had to work their way through hundreds of applications to get to a top 45 and then narrow it down even more to the eight families that made up the show's first season. While it's unclear how Netflix ended up deciding on the eight clients they chose, Kondo herself actually shared the original casting call to her Facebook page back in December 2017, and the post got hundreds of likes. So, even before the show was formally announced, it was obviously something people wanted in on.

As intense as that sounds, it also makes sense. Who wouldn't want a professional and world-renowned organizer helping them sort through their home? It sounds like a dream, albeit a competitive one.

The families from Tidying Up With Marie Kondo are still all tidied up

In Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, star Marie Kondo manages to take cluttered homes and turn them into living spaces worthy of Pinterest. It's almost like magic, but the spark doesn't fade when Kondo and the cameras leave. In fact, Good Morning America actually reached out to several of the families from the show to see if they were able to maintain the organizational systems they had set up with Kondo.

One of the homeowners, Margie Hodge, told GMA that tidying up refreshed her life in the best way. "I was thinking of how much money people spend on a vacation to get away from it all, but if you want to make a life-altering change, rather than a week in Mexico, where you come home and have it all to deal with still, to have your house organized like I did, it's life-altering," she told GMA. She added, "The whole house feels a little lighter."

GMA spoke to three families in total, and, while the first season of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo featured eight episodes with eight different clients, it still seems clear that Kondo's method works long-term.

Tidying Up shows that organizing can help break cultural barriers

While Marie Kondo is originally from Japan, she currently lives in Los Angeles, though she didn't move to the United States until she was an adult. You might expect that she may have had some trouble with the cultural barriers between her and the clients on the show, but, as Kondo told HelloGiggles, it almost seems as though tidying up is the same in every language. "When I first started professionally tidying, I assumed there would be more differences in how people tidied based on where they're from," she said. "But in reality, the differences have been much less than I expected. The issues people encounter through tidying are the same — no matter where you live." The art of organizing your home is universal, according to Kondo, and that's pretty amazing.

However, that doesn't mean Kondo didn't take note of certain cultural differences while working on the show. "[Americans] are more likely to take large, drastic actions, and Japanese people often get so caught up in thinking about things that they get stuck," she told Vulture.

The language barrier doesn't get in the way on Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

Much like how Marie Kondo found common ground with the clients on her Netflix hit in terms of culture, she also was able to communicate with them almost perfectly. As Japanese is Kondo's first language, the show made use of a translator — interpreter Marie Iida — to help Kondo speak with the clients. While language barriers are inevitable, one client said that it really wasn't an issue. "After the first hour, we were fine," homeowner Margie told Vulture. "She seemed comfortable; I was comfortable. I did have to stop and laugh at the way we're smiling at each other over organizing."

Additionally, those extra moments spent with Kondo and the translator might have been helpful in the long run. "It takes longer, but the families say the longer they work with her, the more they understand what she's saying," Bianca Barnes-Williams, showrunner for Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, told Vulture. With Kondo's joyful spirit, who wouldn't want more time with the professional organizer no matter a language barrier?

Marie Kondo never forces someone to get rid of something on Tidying Up

While Marie Kondo's entire method might be focused on throwing out things that no longer bring you joy, that doesn't mean she's forceful about it. Behind the scenes of homeowner Margie's Tidying Up With Marie Kondo episode, which featured the widow sorting through her late husband's belongings, Kondo was helpful while Margie went through the items, and the organizer made sure her client felt comfortable every step of the way. In fact, as showrunner Bianca Barnes-Williams told Vulture, Kondo has never really forced a client to get rid of something. "This is not like Dr. Phil, where you have to do this or that," Barnes-Williams said.

And Kondo herself offered Margie some words of wisdom during their time tidying up, telling her, "Don't force yourself to tidy," according to Vulture. She reportedly noted, "It's an experience in itself." Because Kondo is aware that there might be some items that are harder to part with, she doesn't push clients to say goodbye to possessions, even though organizing and throwing things out is kind of her specialty.

Marie Kondo's husband executive produced Tidying Up

When it comes to her personal life, Marie Kondo is fairly private, posting photos of her adorable daughters to Instagram only occasionally and staying quiet about her home life. However, it turns out that the organizational guru actually prefers to mix business with pleasure, as her husband, Takumi Kawahara, was an executive producer for the premiere season of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kawahara is also credited as Kondo's manager and photographer.

Kondo clearly likes to keep things in the family, and who could blame her? In an interview with Good Housekeeping in 2016, Kondo revealed that Kawahara shared her appreciation for all things tidy. "He was able to clean and be very organized even before he read my book, but it was certainly even more pronounced after he read my book," she told the magazine. "He became even more efficient. Fundamentally speaking, we're in the same groove." Having her husband be such a big part of her professional life has definitely worked well for Kondo, so clearly she knows what she's doing and so does he.

Why Marie Kondo always wears white

For fans of Marie Kondo, the Netflix star is fairly easy to spot in most scenes of her show, or just in general. Sure, it could partly be due to her signature stick-straight hair and ever-present style, but it probably has more to do with the fact that Kondo has a signature color: She always wears white. Whether it's a shirt, a jacket, or a sweater, Kondo makes sure to incorporate white into her wardrobe at all times. "It is part of my brand," she told The New Yorker, "my image color. It is easy to recognize me."

As the color white is often associated with cleanliness, this makes perfect sense. And those who have watched Tidying Up With Marie Kondo can attest to the fact that seeing Kondo on screen in her white jacket definitely brings a sense of calm, even if she's surrounded by piles of clothes taller than she is. Her signature look works for her, for sure.

Marie Kondo's net worth proves people love decluttering

It's no secret that Tidying Up With Marie Kondo has been a huge success for both Netflix and Marie Kondo herself, but Kondo's own net worth is still somewhat startling. According to AOL, Kondo's net worth comes in at around $8 million. Yes, you read that right: 8 million dollars. Now that is a lot of storage containers! It's important to note that Kondo's entire net worth and income didn't come from the show alone. She has published multiple best-selling books, speaks at events, and owns her own company, as well. But the Netflix hit show probably didn't hurt her net worth.

After all, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo was a huge hit, and the show even has a pretty high Rotten Tomatoes score (79 percent), which is quite an admirable feat for a reality show. Kondo's method and joy for tidying up, as well as her obvious love of helping people, have clearly struck a chord with audiences, and her bank account is reaping the rewards.

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo stars didn't understand everything at first

The KonMari method of "sparking joy" and thanking items you give away for what they've done for you might seem odd to some people, and Marie Kondo herself is aware of this fact. Speaking to Vulture, Kondo explained that, while filming, there were a few clients who didn't entirely understand the need to talk to an item of clothing or old book. "Some people on the show questioned why they would thank an inanimate object for its service," she said. "This was a revelation. I know now that I must explain some aspects of my work more clearly." But thanking items you no longer want or need is all a part of her method.

According to her website, the method is fairly simple: "Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service — then let them go." As confusing or strange as it may sound, it's appeared to work for the clients on the show and for the millions of fans and followers Kondo has amassed.

Marie Kondo's had her fair share of drama since Tidying Up aired

Marie Kondo has had to deal with some drama since rising to fame. As unbelievable as it sounds, another celebrity organizer has accused Kondo of stealing her folding method. As viewers can see on Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, Kondo has her clients fold items in their drawers upright, so as to create more space and make it easier for them to see everything. However, fellow professional organizer Linda Koopersmith told People that the folding method was actually her idea, not Kondo's.

"I was a single mom living in a one-bedroom apartment with my daughter, sharing our room, and she was always going through her drawers and messing them up," Koopersmith claimed while speaking to People. "That's when I created the fold, and that was out of need to come up with a solution so when she opened her drawers, she could see everything at a bird's eye view." She also noted that she'd shared the folding method on YouTube and on the show Clean House.

Of course, folding clothes upright is just one mere facet of the KonMari method, and Kondo likely isn't too concerned with these accusations.

There was some outrage after Tidying Up With Marie Kondo aired

After Tidying Up With Marie Kondo hit Netflix — and more and more viewers learned about the KonMari method and began using it in their own homes — there was a bit of confusion. Because Kondo told clients to throw out their books that no longer brought them joy, Twitter users took it to mean that Kondo wanted everyone to throw away all of their books, and outrage, of course, followed. Twitter practically blew up when users thought about the idea of having to throw out all of their books, but, the thing is, that's not what Kondo meant.

Speaking to IndieWire, Kondo confirmed that you do not have to throw out all your books to follow her method. In fact, she said that if books were precious to you, you should keep them. "If the image of someone getting rid of books or having only a few books makes you angry, that should tell you how passionate you are about books, what's clearly so important in your life," she said. So, no, you definitely don't have to chuck all your old books to tidy up your home.

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo earned multiple award nominations

As beloved as Tidying Up With Marie Kondo has been, it should come as no shock that the popular Netflix reality TV series has won and been nominated for multiple awards. For her work on Tidying Up, Marie Kondo won a Shorty Award in the House & Home category in May 2019, beating out five other finalists including Hermione Chantal, a popular YouTuber with over 400,000 subscribers.

On top of that, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo and its star were nominated for not just one, not just two, but three 2019 Critics' Choice Real TV Awards total. The show was nominated for the Lifestyle Show: Home & Garden and Structured Show categories, and Kondo herself was nominated for Female Star of the Year. Clearly, 2019 has been a big year for Kondo, and, with her successful show, it doesn't seem like she's going anywhere anytime soon.

Marie Kondo's always had that star quality

The world may now know Marie Kondo as a superstar on and off the screen, but before Tidying Up With Marie Kondo premiered, there was someone who predicted that Kondo would get all the success she now has. Back in 2010, Kondo won first prize in a publishing training course in Japan, and one of the judges of the competition told Japanese website Shin-bunka that he could see big things in Kondo's future. "She's going to be on TV and become famous," Tomohiro Takahashi told the site, according to The New Yorker. "I felt a mysterious energy around her that I had never experienced around other people," he continued.

Now, given Kondo's success, that quote seems nearly prophetic in its accuracy. Kondo has taken the world by storm, first with her books and now with her hit show, and everyone can't help but fall in love with her charming personality. Tidying Up With Marie Kondo is a smash hit and for good reason. There really is no denying Kondo's own star quality, as Takahashi said, and no one has ever made organizing your closet as fun and joyful as Kondo has.