How Marie Kondo Is Teaching Kids To Tidy Up

The mom and decluttering expert is sharing her method with kids in a new children's book.
Kondo was inspired by her daughters to write a children's book.
Kondo was inspired by her daughters to write a children's book.

Marie Kondo became a household name thanks to her “spark joy” approach to decluttering, as outlined in her bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Now she’s hoping to reach children with her message of tidying and sparking joy.

The Japanese organizing expert and mother of two wrote a children’s book called “Kiki & Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendship.” Co-written and illustrated by children’s book veteran Salina Yoon, “Kiki & Jax” follows a pair of animal friends who embark on a tidying journey to discover the value of quality time together.

“Learning to tidy is very important,” Kondo told HuffPost. “It’s a skill that you can have and use for a lifetime. As long as we are surrounded by things and spend a lot of time at home, it’s a skill that’s so necessary for us. So I think it’s important we learn the philosophy surrounding tidying at an early age.”

Kondo has two young daughters, Satsuki and Miko. She told HuffPost that becoming a mother inspired her to write a children’s book.

“I was thinking about how I could teach my daughters how to tidy, and I noticed that they loved books,” she explained. “They always wanted to mimic what they learned in books, so I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could somehow use books to teach them how to tidy?’”

She decided to approach Yoon because she was a big fan of her books, particularly “Penguin and Pinecone.” Yoon jumped at the opportunity, and the rest is history.

Kondo collaborated with children’s book veteran Salina Yoon.
Kondo collaborated with children’s book veteran Salina Yoon.

According to the mom, Satsuki and Miko love her book, especially the sweet characters and illustrations. Kondo even made sure to include a few Easter eggs just for her daughters: Some of Kiki and Jax’s toys are based on toys the girls love and have in their home ― including a favorite stuffed donkey and ukulele.

Decluttering has been a lifelong passion for Kondo. “I was very much driven by a sense of curiosity ― ‘How can I tidy this space?’ That was the question that was always motivating me, even when I was little,” she noted.

She hopes “Kiki & Jax” inspires children around the world to take pleasure in decluttering.

I’d love for them to see that organizing and tidying is something that’s fun,” said Kondo. ”By reading the book, children will hopefully learn that organizing means to choose what sparks the most joy for them. In the book, Kiki is not very good at tidying, but by learning how to tidy, she discovers what’s truly invaluable to her ― the time she spends with Jax.”

Parents can also play a role in sharing these messages with their children and instilling a love of cleaning and organizing.

“My advice is for parents themselves to enjoy the process of tidying,” Kondo said. “When you’re folding clothes, try doing it with the children. Dedicate time and try approaching it as a game or singing a little song. There are little tools you can use.”

Beyond her foray into children’s literature, Kondo has written a book set for release in April called “Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life,” which focuses on tidying office spaces, as well as the digital side of work. (She also recently unveiled a product line that has been the subject of a bit of criticism and mockery.)

Kondo believes parents can help their children cultivate a love for cleaning and organizing. 
Kondo believes parents can help their children cultivate a love for cleaning and organizing. 

Otherwise, Kondo is spending the end of the year doing what she does best: Tidying.

“For Japanese people, the end of the year is a time to tidy, so it’s an equivalent of spring cleaning,” she explained. “It’s a mini tidying festival for me.”

When asked if she believes the popularity of her method sparked “a tidying revolution,” Kondo deflected suggestions about her influence.

“People say that to me often, but I feel it’s not me that created a revolution.” she noted. “I feel as if I’m witnessing the power of tidying along with everyone else, and I’m constantly awed by it.”