Marie Kondo reveals that after 3 kids, ‘My home is messy’

Marie Kondo
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Let’s start here: Marie, we get it. It’s fine. Welcome.

During a recent press event to promote her latest book, Marie Kondo — the serene icon of tidiness and order — revealed something totally shocking. But also kind of not shocking.

“Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times,” the 38-year-old mom of three said through an interpreter at a recent webinar, according to The Washington Post. “I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me. Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home.”

“My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life,” she said.

For those of us who struggle with keeping our homes in the immaculate condition Kondo espoused in her previous works — the overscheduled, the exhausted, the ADHDers, the parenting newbies — we may feel a touch of schadenfreude at Kondo’s revelation.

Marie Kondo
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Witness my truth: I am a slob.

As a kid, my parents rarely got worked up about the state of my room. My mom’s maxim was that doing well in school was my absolute first priority, so anything else — including making my bed, or putting dirty clothes in the hamper — was a distant second.

I shared a room for most of my childhood, too, including a stint with all three siblings in the same bedroom. I assume it was too much hassle for my parents to arbitrate the inevitable battles royale over who cleaned what or who didn’t or whatever.

And you know what? It worked! I got into my dream university with a generous financial aid package. Both of my siblings hold master’s degrees. We all also have pack-rat tendencies and — horrors — frequently leave dirty dishes in the sink. Oh no!

Guess what else? I married a neat freak. A full-on, right-angles-everywhere, earth-tones-and-clean-lines-only tidiness tyrant.


I first encountered Kondo’s first bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” after our son was born in 2012.

It wasn’t great timing.

In less than two years, I’d struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety, my father-in-law died suddenly and our baby was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 20 months.

Despite frequent conflicts over the unkempt state of our house, I read a little of the book, then let it gather dust and wine-glass rings. Spark joy with that, beautiful and organized Marie Kondo! I’m punk rock!

Our home was neither magical nor tidy. My efforts to stay on top of things were feeble. I felt guilty, but keeping myself and my kid alive took all the strength I had.


Eventually, life calmed down a bit. The second baby, a girl, came in 2016. Slowly, my husband and I adopted unspoken cleaning routines — garbage and general home maintenance for him, laundry and dishes for me. Things weren’t KonMari perfect, but we’d met in the middle of our two extremes.

Now it seems that Kondo, with her third kid born in 2021, is settling into a similar state. Her new book, “Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life,” is less about tidying physical space, and more about developing small routines that create a sense of peace.

Living with young children means peace is in short supply, and simple ways to find some are always welcome. Sometimes that requires letting go of dogged organizational projects and constant vigilance about messes.

It sounds like Kondo might agree these days. Your house is disheveled, but so what? There’s a different kind of life-changing magic at work.

Cleaning & Organization, Home, Life, News

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About the Author
Kathleen St. John
Kathleen St. John is a freelance journalist. She lives in Denver with her husband, two kids and a fiercely protective Chihuahua. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kathleen's work.

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