Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Type-A Creativity

Recently I stumbled upon the book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up."  I realize a book like this may not spark everyone's interest; I haven't run into many people like myself who like to clean to de-stress.  That being said, I do think the contents of this book, though seemingly dull, hold a lot of creativity and could be useful to the general public.  As the author, Marie Kondo, points out early on, whether or not a person does tidy, he or she more than likely would prefer their home to be tidy.  After devoting what sounds like her entire life to the endeavor of tidying and organizing, Kondo has created a fool-proof way to tidy, once and for all.

As described in her book, Kondo took to tidying at a very young age.  Just by her descriptions of efforts, I am not only reminded of my tendency to tidy and then a few days later be surrounded by a mess, but am exhausted by her efforts too.  Kondo claims, however, that all other tidying theories will only result in the re-cluttering of a home.  She has devised a way to clean, organize, de-clutter, and tidy one time and claims it is because her method is unlike any other; Kondo's method is focused on joy.  This might sound cheesy, and I cannot personally attest to the success, but Kondo's success rate is a mind-blowing 100%.  By assessing every item in a home, having the owner determine whether or not it "sparks joy," tossing if it does not, and properly organizing the rest, a home will never become cluttered.  This method is a new creation on the market for organization, and one that apparently works, which explains the success of Kondo's business.

Possibly more creative than Marie Kondo's one-of-a-kind method of tidying, is the business she has developed from it.  Kondo is a "professional cleaning consultant with a three-month waiting list," according to her online bio.  Contrasting her 100% success rate, Kondo also boasts a 0% return rate.  On top of that, she wrote a New York Times best seller outlining her business services, reaching people she cannot set up consults with.  That one book, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up," has flourished into a sequel, "Spark Joy," and a journal.  Now exceedingly successful in her field of study, Kondo did not start off this way.

In Kondo's book, she outlines some of her young childhood habits; she tells of her favorite pastime of reading home magazines. It is easy to assume the Kondo spent well over 10,000 hours dedicated to her passion, by most definitions, an expert.  She was "inspired by the Japanese book Throw-Out Skills and a lifelong love of all things house and home, she began her study of the art of cleaning, established her consulting business, and founded the KonMari Method."  When reading about Kondo's originally devised method, fervor for tidying, and young age at which she started, I was reminded of David Feldman's article "Child Prodigies: A Distinctive form of Giftedness."   I do not believe Kondo was a child prodigy, having taken more years to develop her theory, in late adolescence/ early adulthood.  Kondo did, however, definitely possess a "distinctive form of giftedness," exhibiting unlikely dedication from an early age simply because of personal interest in the topic, pure intrinsic motivation.  Creativity is found in so many interesting ways and places.  I surprised myself when I began thinking how creative this seemingly very type-A person had to be to come up with her own method and business.  It seems to me that Kondo goes against the grain as a rigid personality birthing creativity.

Here's a short example of Marie Kondo's work:
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, Marie Kondo
Child Prodigies: A Distinctive form of Giftedness, David Feldman


  1. So this is awesome, because my supervisor at my internship is CRAZY passionate about the KonMari method. She's "KonMari'd" her apartment, her office, our work art storage closet, everything! Until reading this article, I did not make any connection to creativity. I simply clicked on your article because I'm insanely Type A. The thing I love about this class is how it really changes our definition of what creativity is. What do you think Gardner would have thought of Kondo?

  2. Her ability to look at tidying up from such a different perspective definitely makes her unique. I like how her form of creativity can go on to inspire others to be more efficient and happy in their daily lives. While most people think of tidying as a chore or a necessity, she seems to view it as a way to bring joy and destress your life. Her outlook is especially unique. I think this outlook on organizing and decluttering can probably be applied to other aspects of life. It goes to show that your outlook and attitude is what really determines your experience.


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