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industry insider
Cult organizational expert Marie Kondo ‘sparks joy’ with California Closets
Dec 18, 2017
Katy B. Olson

How compelling can a closet really be? Ask Marie Kondo, the cult-favorite author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She’s sold 8 million copies of her educational-meets-inspirational-meets-organizational tome, reaching best-seller status in her native Japan, and in the U.S., Germany, and the United Kingdom. For her first professional collaboration, the organizing expert is teaming up with California Closets on a content partnership focused not on cleaning house, but on “sparking joy.”

Marie Kondo; courtesy
Marie Kondo

Kondo’s KonMari Method advocates a unique approach to housecleaning that identifies which belongings help enhance their owners’ lives; it’s a philosophy that seeks to celebrate the positive rather than simply remove the negative.

It’s also the first partnership for California Closets, which earlier this year launched Ideas of Order, its new magazine, produced in-house. The currently print-only magazine will make its online debut on January 11, with a “content hub” replete with the brand’s own editorial as well as material from Kondo. The author will also play a big role in the next print edition of the magazine. The partnership coincides with California Closets’ 40th anniversary, in 2018, and will debut with a video revealing the company’s and Kondo’s “transformative processes,” as they follow an interaction with a real client.

In the video, Kondo will introduce the KonMari Method before “passing the baton to a California Closets designer, who can build the perfect closet for [the client’s] ‘spark joy’ items.”

The video will illustrate “the many parallels between our processes,” says California Closets CMO Sam Toole. It will also “highlight the California Closets customer’s journey and the specific ways in which our professional design consultants collaborate with clients, including our proprietary design tools. Ultimately, the video will give us a compelling project narrative to share and build upon.” The brand is also working on developing written content for the next print issue of Ideas of Order, which will be published in September 2018.

California Closets recently transformed Leslie Bruce's closet; courtesy Emma Feil Photography
Kimberly Lapides's closet, designed by California Closets; courtesy Monica Wang

“Our goal is to improve how our customers live,” Toole tells EAL. “We are collaborating with Marie Kondo because we value and admire the similar lasting impact she creates by guiding clients through her unique KonMari Method. The synergy between what we do and what Marie offers made this working relationship a natural fit.”

Why was it the right fit for Kondo? She tells EAL, “There is so much in common between California Closets’ philosophy and the KonMari Method. We both believe that the process of tidying and organizing your home is life-changing; we both believe that the home is more than a place, and that it is a source of comfort, connection and celebration. I have seen my clients begin a new career, find a healthy relationship or begin spending more time with their family after they have finished tidying. With an organized closet or home, people can start living their ideal life with more time and space to focus on what matters most.”

Marie Kondo's books
Marie Kondo has published four books on ‘tidying up’; courtesy Marie Kondo

Asked if she can share a new tip (particularly for those designers among us who have, perhaps, memorized her book and its principles), Kondo shares: “One comment I have heard from many readers of the book, both in Japan and in the U.S., is that they don’t have the time to tidy. They have full-time jobs, have young children, travel a lot, or are kept busy with life in general.” But, she argues, it’s not that they don’t have the time but that they are making excuses for where the time goes, or committing to cleaning only in their spare time.”

Cult organizational expert Marie Kondo ‘sparks joy’ with California ClosetsThe actual tidying process, where you re-examine each of your belongings and choose what sparks joy, does take some time. —Marie Kondo

“The truth is that tidying in your spare time is quite difficult,” she continues. “You might be able to do a quick tidying session to make your room temporarily tidy. But the actual tidying process, where you re-examine each of your belongings and choose what sparks joy, does take some time. If you find yourself in this position, my advice is to block out a good chunk of time in your calendar. Don’t wait for a spare moment to pop up! Set a deadline, make an appointment with yourself, and stick to it.” She suggests choosing a meaningful date, such as December 31 or a birthday, to give “the tidying process a meaning, rather than having it just as a task.”

In addition to Kondo’s partnership with the closets brand, what else is on the horizon for the organizational expert? She remains mum on the subject of another book (she has currently written four organization-focused books). But Kondo will continue certifying KonMari consultants around the world (the consultants go through an “intensive training to learn tidying techniques”), and there will likely be more than 100 certified KonMari consultants in over 10 countries this coming year. Kondo and her team will also host the first consultant seminar outside of Japan and the U.S., scheduled for April 2018 in London.

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