Some phrases instantly remind you of the person who coined them, and “sparking joy” is certainly Marie Kondo’s. The organizational guru changed the world with her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up ten years ago, and this concept of finding happiness at home continues to guide her work.

With that in mind, we wanted to learn more about Marie’s own home life and how she creates a peaceful environment for herself and her family. We asked her about how she chooses furnishings for her spaces, how she starts her incredibly active days, who inspires her, and much more. See what she had to say, and be sure to shop a curation of some of her Chairish favorites. And to learn even more about Marie Kondo — as well as how she feels about maximalism — check out our interview with her from earlier this year.

Marie Kondo poses on a wood sideboard with gray, textured painting

We’d love to know more about how you design your own spaces. How do you shop for pieces for your own home?

I don’t have a particular decorating style, but one thing that I like to maintain is having a very purified environment in my house. Every morning, I open all the windows and burn incense to purify the space. I let the old air out and allow the new air to come in. I also like crystals and place them in different parts of my home to help with purification.

The KonMari shop is a collection of my favorite things that spark joy for me and that I use in my everyday life. Each item was selected for its ability to enhance daily rituals and inspire a joyful lifestyle. 

Are there any vintage / antique furnishings in your own home? Do you like to shop vintage?

I received an antique sewing box for Christmas when I was a little girl. It’s in my bedroom, near my vanity. I now use it to store makeup, so I get to experience the joy it brings me every day.

Who are some artists or designers who inspire you personally?

I like the paintings of Paweł Łącki, an artist in Poland. I also like classical art that uses rich colors. Also, on a daily basis, I enjoy the simplicity and gloss of lacquered Japanese housewares.

Open wood shelving with black, white, and brass decor with white flowers

You recommend creating schedules each day to accomplish goals and stay organized. What are some of the things on your own schedule every morning?

As I mentioned, the first thing I do when I wake is to open the windows and light incense to purify the air and energy in my home. Then I’ll make myself a cup of fresh lemon and hot water and meditate to start my day.

After that, I start preparing a traditional Japanese breakfast for my family to eat together in the dining room. We’ve been enjoying longer mealtimes together because usually we’re scurrying off to school after breakfast! My husband and I review our most important work of the day to align our schedules and caretaking responsibilities.

I like to tidy up before I officially start my work day. I strike a tuning fork and diffuse essential oils to signal to my body that I’m switching gears. 

You like to use flowers and plants to add color to your spaces. What are some of your favorites?

There are so many. Flowers serve as reminders to live in the moment and to appreciate beauty as it comes. Different colored flowers offer me different types of energy. The Peperomia is my favorite houseplant. It’s got an adorable round shape. It gives off a very gentle and easy vibe — plus it’s easy to raise!

Everyone is so eager to get back to traveling when it’s safe. What are some of your favorite destinations, and which places inspire your work the most?

A favorite destination of mine is Sweden. I learned that the people there take great care to create joy-sparking homes and are intentional about spending time at home — very much akin to the KonMari philosophy!

Some Favorites… 

Favorite piece of decor in your home:

I like to use a tuning fork to purify the air in my home. The sound vibration resonates through my mind and body, creating a sense of calm. 

Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received:

My grandmother is my greatest inspiration. She always cherished her things and kept her home neat and tidy, even parts where nobody could see. She taught me the importance of valuing and taking care of each item I own. She also gave me one of the most important pieces of advice I ever received from anyone. She told me, “value what cannot be seen from the outside.” My grandmother’s life was not luxurious, but she was always happy and fulfilled. I always respected my grandmother, so this advice reached my heart. After I grew up and began working as an organizing consultant, I became all the more certain that her advice was correct.

Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift:

Right now my favorite gift items are both the Glass Bubble Incense Holder and Traditional Japanese Incense – Rose.

Favorite way to unwind at home:

Spending time with my family is when I am happiest.

Favorite entertaining essential:

Some of my favorite items are featured within the tabletop and entertaining collection including the Ideal Lifestyle Embroidered Cocktail Napkins and Japanese Rice Bowl Inspired by Kimonos.

All images courtesy of KonMari

May 27, 2021

Dennis Sarlo is the executive editor of Chairish and a lover of all things design-related. Prior to joining the team, he served as the executive editor of Dering Hall and was the first site director of Architectural Digest. He was also part of the founding team of travel startup Jetsetter. He lives in New York.