Ready for Real: Why Everyone is in love with Marie Kondo, me included

I read Marie’s book about 4 years ago and it literally did change my life.  I heard about from my business coach when I was in the midst of writing my own book that has a similar concept of process.  She said Marie and I had a lot in common and should get together and do something. Needless to say, I was intrigued, but when I read Marie’s words stating that, “To put things in order means to put your past in order, too.  It’s like resetting your accounts so that you can take the next step forward.” The Aha moment was so great I found myself holding my breath and my heart. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I recognized that if I wanted a new life filled with purpose and fulfillment, I needed to “de-clutter” and purge what didn’t serve me anymore in order to create “space” for the new to come in.  

This revelation led me to close my furniture showroom, move my office, downsize my staff, and get rid of tons of stuff that was weighing me down and ultimately it triggered the start of a completely new chapter in my life.  How can all this happen from a little book called the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Well, herein lies the secret sauce to its phenomenal appeal. The fact that it is so well received does not surprise me because I too was ready to receive the message of awakening that she delivered. It’s not just me…. many of us are ready to hear the message as well. So many of us are READY FOR REAL, and not the real that we’ve been fed on TV by “real”ity shows. Real, Real as in genuine and authentic. We know the truth when we hear it, see it, and feel it.

We are all trying to find a sense of order in a time of cultural and political disorder. We are all “real”-izing, no pun intended that our consumer habits do not fill the void we feel amidst the global crises of climate change and pollution.

I repeat, People are ready for real.

For the better part of the last 10 to 15 years, we’ve been reality-obsessed. And by that, I mean fixated on the version of life we saw celebrities showing us on TV. For years, we couldn’t get enough of Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe, with their retail store openings, pro athlete engagements, night club appearances for $500,000 a pop. We were hungry for a reality that actually exists for the very few.

So, we used to watch the Kardashians, now all we want is to see is Marie Kondo organizing underwear drawers. What changed?

The short answer is, we did. We finally got tired of the feeding ourselves with fluff. We began to crave something of substance, true sustenance, and most of all some truth.  A life of health and wellbeing—what one Forbes article identified as a value shift to “a more holistic state of being, one that’s mental, physical and emotional health are in sync.” Yes, the article is talking about shifts in retail, but in doing so, it shows us the change in the point of sale, so to speak: is a desire for experiences that promote well-being and nurture our soul.

OK, so its just a start. But Marie Kondo takes the idea a step further. She shows us that what we’ve been seeking isn’t just a life experience, but a process for how to experience our lives.

I know, minds blown.

We might be intimidated by the term process as it can be polarizing. Some people swear by it, others shirk and scoff at it. The truth is that process is essential to our happiness. Ask any successful businessperson, and I doubt they’ll say process didn’t precipitate a positive outcome. Process for me as an interior designer and entrepreneur was as life-changing as Maries’ book. As soon as I clarified my process for helping people design their personal spaces, my level of satisfaction—both in my life’s work and in my clients’ lives—was elevated to a whole new level. You might say I became Enlightened.

There’s joy to be found in the step-by-step process for fulfillment of something meaningful, and what can be more meaningful than the way we live in our own homes. Whether decluttering or designing our interiors to feel sacred. In this Marie and I are completely in sync on the timeliness of this movement.  Especially when it helps inspire an opportunity to reach a higher level of self-understanding and awareness. Raising consciousness is both of our ultimate purposes. Marie has awakened us to this, tapped into a more purposeful, intentional way of being that we are all beginning to crave, and I for one am hungry to provide as well.

I write this knowing full well that there’s a certain irony in Marie Kondo’s popularity now. Thanks to the new Netflix series, people can’t stop watching, or talking about, her. One headline called out Marie’s Kondo movement for cluttering up the internet. When I searched her name the other day, every other mention was in relation to Jennifer Garner’s Instagram post asking Marie to #comeover.

Obviously, we’re still infatuated with what a celebrity has to say, but the point is, if it helps to expand us bring it on. We are all—even the most famous of us—searching for something more real. We are ready. Bring REAL on.

Bea Pila is an award-winning interior designer with 30 years of residential and commercial experience. Bea’s work has been recognized by ASID and the International Design Awards, and featured by U.S. News and World report, Houzz, and Elle Décor, among others. She is the pioneer of Design Enlightenment, a process for aligning people’s interior spaces with their interior selves.