“In order to tidy your house, you must tidy your mind,” says Japanese organizational consultant Marie Kondo, who instructs disciples to clean quickly and purge their homes of anything that does not bring them joy. Her book, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering and Organizing, has gained a cult following in the U.S. and sold more than 2 million copies worldwide; tens of thousands of Kondophiles post Instagram photos of their clean rooms with hashtags like #kondo and #tidyingup. The biggest difference between her Japanese and American clients? “Children in the U.S. have more toys, and that makes it harder for my American clients to tidy up,” says Kondo, who will soon launch her own training program for followers who want to become professional Kondos, too.
Watch Marie Kondo organize Fast Company editor Erin Schulte’s messy desk
Where or how do you seek out creative inspiration?
From excitement. When I touch things, whether I get the excitement or not, that is how I decide things, how I judge things. When I go around the places that I tidy up, I accumulate my experience and knowledge on organizing.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
The first thing I do in the morning is I open the windows and I breathe the air, I ventilate my body, the old air and the new air.
What is one thing about your job that you think would surprise people?
My profession itself surprises everybody! “Tidying up is a job?” That itself is making everybody surprised.
What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why?
I recently started Instagram and I enjoy the accounts of all my clients–they actually tidy up their rooms and use the hashtag #tidyingup. I enjoy going around and seeing all their photos.
How do you keep track of everything you have to do? Can you send us a snapshot of your to-do list?
I use Evernote to keep track of my schedule.
What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you’re in a rut?
I cross my legs and go into zazen [meditation]. I keep it as a habit. It’s not just when I feel down–I keep it as a habit to keep my mind calm.