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Marie Kondo
JOY FULL

Marie Kondo’s key to happiness: boxes

Anne Quito
By Anne Quito

Design and architecture reporter

Perhaps it’s not entirely surprising that Marie Kondo has a rather geeky obsession with boxes.

The winsome 33-year-old organization guru who preaches a mindful method for purging clutter called “KonMari” confessed that she’s been collecting all sorts of cardboard containers for years. “This is not something I talked about very often but I am the greatest box fanatic,” said Kondo (via an English translator) at a small press gathering in New York City earlier this month. “It didn’t matter whether it’s a confectionary box or an accessory box—anything that sparks joy for me, I collect…And from time to time, I open that drawer full of my box collection and kind of daydream how I would use each box.”

All that daydreaming has led Kondo to her own line of storage boxes. Called “Hikidashi box” (drawer box) the clothes organizer set is the first of several KonMari-branded products she’ll unveil this year. (Hint: A KonMari journal is coming) After her bestselling books, a highly anticipated Netflix reality show, and a burgeoning KonMari certification program, Kondo is swiftly building a collection of products for sorting out one’s life.

Kondo says that in the 15 years she’s been helping people organize their homes, she finds that many tend to lose their zeal and never finish the purging process. “What can I do better to help more people who’ve started tidying to finish it?” muses Kondo. ”I’ve reached a conclusion: boxes.”

“There is no other tool that’s more useful in the cycle of tidying than boxes,” she adds.

Anne Quito/Quartz
Marie Kondo shows off her Hikidashi boxes at a July 11 event in New York City.

But why sell empty boxes now when there are emporiums with aisles of boxes such as The Container Store, Muji, or IKEA? Kondo says that none of the commercially available boxes have “sparked her joy,” to use her maxim.

Courtesy of KonMari
File your clothes: Boxes are manufactured in China and designed in California

The Hikidashi box, which retails for $89 for a set of six nested containers, feels like the thick laminated fiberboard boxes Apple uses to contain its products. They come with various decorative liners and perhaps most importantly for budding KonMari acolytes, they arrive bundled with Kondoisms—with buyers gaining access to folding tips, tidying newsletters and even an invitation to join a tidying support group. 

“I often hear that it’s very difficult to sustain your motivation for the tidying journey all by yourself so having a community is very important,” Kondo says.

Designing a line of bento box-inspired jewelry cases for the San Francisco fashion brand Cuyana earlier this year taught Kondo the power and strategies for selling directly to consumers. “The product sold out quickly, so we knew we had made a connection with consumers,” she says. “We learned that having a physical product really motivated people to tidy their things and we got excited about the possibility of introducing more tidying tools for the home.” 

But clutterbugs, take note: Kondo clarifies that boxes aren’t places to hide random odds and ends. Boxes, she says, are protective housing for our most precious, well-chosen items which should be perfectly folded and filed following the KonMari way. “It has to be a box that makes the items stored inside happy,” she explains.

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