BTokyo-born Marie Kondo, 37, was 19 and was studying sociology at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University when she started a consulting business to help people declutter and organize their homes. In 2014, she published her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up; it has been translated into 44 languages and sold over 13 million copies worldwide. She was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2015 and has a hit show on Netflix, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. His latest book is Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life. She is married with three children and lives in Los Angeles.
What is your first memory?
Welcoming my little sister into the family, around the age of three.
What would be your super power?
Help people find joy in their lives.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Several years ago, I got a call from the Japanese publisher of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up telling me that sales had exceeded 100,000 copies. I went to an upscale market in Tokyo and bought the more expensive eggs, soy sauce, rice and nori seaweed, and eggs cooked over rice. It’s Japanese comfort food, but I made it with the best ingredients available to celebrate. To this day, it’s still my guilty pleasure.
What do you owe your parents?
The many objects that I threw away without their knowledge.
What words or expressions do you overuse the most?
“Kawaii”, which means cute in Japanese.
What does love look like?
Warm and fluffy.
If not yourself, who would you most like to be?
At one point, I was interested in becoming a farmer. I love growing organic vegetables, especially carrots.
When was the last time you changed your mind about something important?
Around 2015. I had just given birth to my second child and was so busy traveling abroad to promote my book that I forgot to take care of myself. I was too busy to even realize I needed a break. Since then, I have been concerned about the balance between professional and private life.
What is your greatest achievement?
It’s still a work in progress, but I have to say, organize the world. With all the KonMari Consultants around the world, and those who read my books or watch Netflix shows, we are definitely making a difference.
How would you like to be remembered?
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Only keep items that cause joy.
Who is your celebrity crush?
I love Kumamon. It is a big black bear with red cheeks, mascot of Kumamoto prefecture in Japan.
What did you want to be growing up?
Housewife and mother of three, which I am now.
Would you choose fame or anonymity?
I want tidying up and organization to be prevalent around the world, but for me, personally, I agree with anonymity.
What was your biggest disappointment?
In elementary school: I opened my lunch box and it was empty. I was devastated.
If you could change your past, what would you change?
I have nothing to change. I’m sure I’ve done this in the past but can’t remember which means it wasn’t that bad.