Let’s talk about Marie Kondo, the Japanese organization expert who’s convincing the world to tidy up.
Kondo’s philosophy is distinctive: she wants us to touch each item we own and see if it “sparks joy.” If it doesn’t, she encourages us to get rid of it. This simple but surprising advice has made Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, a worldwide bestseller. It’s also laid the groundwork for her popular Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
As you might notice, Kondo’s method is unconventional. It has nothing to do with how frequently we use an item, how much it’s worth, how much storage space we have, or any other criteria you might expect from an organization expert. If I touch my toppling stacks of dusty old yearbooks and they spark joy, then I have full permission to hold on to them for as long as I’d like.
(Spoiler: Those yearbooks didn’t spark joy. I’ve already gotten rid of them.)
So, you might wonder, what kind of person would come up with this unusual method – and convince the world to care about it?
Based on our research, we believe that Marie Kondo has a Turbulent Advocate (INFJ-T) personality type. Here’s why.
Marie Kondo has built her career around helping people create peaceful, pleasant homes that they enjoy retreating to. Like any Introverted personality type, she knows how soothing it is to have a home that keeps out the chaos of the world.
Before she works on a client’s home, Kondo kneels, closes her eyes, and tunes into the energy of the house. This practice might seem strange or frivolous to Observant personality types, but Kondo’s belief that there’s more to this world (and to a house) than meets the eye is common among Intuitive personalities.
This might come as a surprise to those of you who haven’t read her book or watched her show, but Kondo believes that things have feelings. Where most of us would see a pile of stuff, Kondo sees a collection of items that deserve respect, gratitude, and care.
Here, for example, is her surprisingly considerate attitude toward clothing:
“The act of folding is far more than making clothes compact for storage. It is an act of caring, an expression of love and appreciation for the way these clothes support your lifestyle. Therefore, when we fold, we should put our heart into it, thanking our clothes for protecting our bodies.”
Feeling personality types attune themselves to other people’s emotional states. Kondo takes this trait a (sizable) step further by considering the feelings of things as well as people.
Marie Kondo has built a multinational empire around a method for tidying. Need we say more?
All right, here’s more evidence that Kondo is a Judging personality type: she always wears variations of the same outfit, a full skirt and a slim-fitting cardigan or knit top with ballet flats. You won’t catch her experimenting with jumpsuits or jeggings or jeans or any of the other infinite things she could wear. Like many people with the Judging trait, she recognizes the value of making a decision and sticking with it.
In her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo shares that, as an adolescent, she became so perfectionistic about tidying that she broke down and cried: “I don’t want to tidy anymore!” Turbulent personalities can relate to this relentless drive to get things exactly right.
Fortunately, Kondo found a way to focus on joy rather than perfection, and in doing so, she reclaimed her love of... well, tidying up.
Marie Kondo stands as an excellent example of a Turbulent Advocate. She reminds us that Introverts can have a global influence, Intuitive personality types can take action, Feeling types can share their ideas without shame, Judging types can be decisive without sacrificing creativity, and Turbulent types can find inspiration amid imperfection.
And what could spark more joy than that?
So, what do you think? Do you agree that Marie Kondo is a Turbulent Advocate, or do you think she’s a different personality type? How do you feel about her philosophy of tidying? Let us know in the comments below!