Marie Kondo cares about your socks. In fact, she cares about all of your possessions and wants each and every one of them to “spark joy” in your life. Speaking with Cal Fussman – host of the Big Questions podcast – at Rakuten Optimism in San Francisco, Kondo shared her sock folding methods, details of her partnership with Rakuten, and the central tenants of the KonMari Method™ that propelled her to global fame.  

Embrace the things that spark joy.

“Tidying is something you do to make yourself a happier person in life. It’s that simple,” Kondo told the audience from the mainstage. She went on to explain how she’s been fascinated with tidying since childhood and could often be found clearing out her mother’s closet or throwing various family items away. Eventually all that tidying took its toll and she fainted – something she attributes to a kind of cleaning neurosis – and from then on, she decided to embrace the most positive, life-affirming aspects of her tidying passion: Choosing what to keep instead of what to discard.

Kondo insists that the KonMari Method™ isn’t just about throwing things away but holding on to what sparks joy. “By tidying things in your house, you can revisit what each item brings to your life…there isn’t a limit to the things you can keep. It’s different for each person.” The most important question to ask about an item is “Does it spark joy?”; if it doesn’t, let it go with gratitude.

Marie Kondo (center) insists that Kondo insists that the KonMari Method™ isn’t just about throwing things away but holding on to what sparks joy.
Marie Kondo (center) insists that Kondo insists that the KonMari Method™ isn’t just about throwing things away but holding on to what sparks joy.

Championing workplace tidiness

Fussman proceeded to present his guest with a series of possessions from his personal life, and for each, Kondo made a recommendation, encouraging him to assess if the possession sparked joy. Now – in partnership with Rakuten – she can inspire as many as 1.3 billion in the Rakuten ecosystem as the company’s very first Joy Ambassador. The role will see her championing workplace tidiness all over the globe.

Despite this exciting new proposition, Kondo emphasized that she is not the person that actually makes these life-cleansing changes. “Once you realize through this process what matters to your life, your life can change dramatically. But it’s not me that does it, it’s the person that tidies up,” she explained to Fussman. 

Rakuten and Marie Kondo: A sparkling new partnership

This message aligns with the Rakuten ethos, which is about empowering people and businesses in their journey to success. Rakuten itself adheres to Kondo’s methods, with tidiness being central to the corporate culture that has seen the company grow from humble origins to one with over $139 billion of transactions in the last year. Since the earliest days of the company, employees have taken part in a weekly cleaning ritual, established by Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani, as a way to elevate and cherish the work that is done in the office.

Needless to say, this feels like a natural partnership between one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and one of the world’s most optimistic companies – a relationship that will most definitely spark joy for people across the globe.

"Once you realize through this [KonMari Method™] process what matters to your life, your life can change dramatically," explained Marie Kondo to the Rakuten Optimism crowd.
“Once you realize through this [KonMari Method™] process what matters to your life, your life can change dramatically,” explained Marie Kondo to the Rakuten Optimism crowd.

For more about Rakuten Optimism, visit here.