Marie Kondo's new online store sparks controversy instead of joy

Kasey Furutani

Japan’s queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo helped the world clean and organise their homes and their lives through her books 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' and 'Spark Joy'. This is followed by her Netflix show ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’, which injected her KonMari method into American homes, reality-TV makeover style.  

Shiatsu Stick $12 (about ¥1,305)

Kondo's new website and online store, the latter launched just last month – perhaps in time for the gifting season – sparked much criticism (instead of joy, ahem) for selling products while her KonMari organising method encourages throwing away. The very American-style website (the About page introduces Kondo with the line ‘she started it’) offers consultants trained in the KonMari method and the aforementioned online store. The website oozes the aesthetics (and high prices) of upscale American wellness and style brands like Goop and Anthropologie, which are targeted towards women of a certain money class, a sure difference from the Shinto-based practices the KonMari method was inspired by. 

Small Cheese Knife and Balance Gem Water Bottle

Kondo chose items ‘for [their] ability to enhance your daily rituals and inspire a joyful lifestyle’, she says in her store introduction. These curated items appear to be of high quality and they fulfil the KonMari aesthetic, ie they definitely won't clutter up your room. If a $156 (about ¥16,992) Small Cheese Knife sparks joy in your heart, then why not add it into your online shopping cart? Or how about a Balance Gem Water Bottle for $98 (about ¥10,630)? It's definitely a beauty but not something we’d want to take to the gym.  

Tuning Fork and Clear Quartz and Tuning Fork and Rose Quartz (both $75)

At least the $75 (about ¥8,135) Tuning Fork and Clear Quartz Crystal (also offered in rose and smokey quartz) won’t take up too much space on our nightstand. We'd need it to restore balance to our bank account after spending all that money.

Rabbit Storage Box and Bunny Pouch

The Tidying and Organisation section is perhaps a closer fit to Kondo’s personal brand. The Rabbit Storage Box stole our hearts... until we saw the $89 (about ¥9,654) price tag. At least the adorable Bunny Pouch is only $14 (about ¥1,518) – though it looks similar to something we'd find at Flying Tiger Copenhagen or IKEA at a much more kid-friendly price. 

Serving Tray and Kawabon Tray

Honestly speaking, the items at the KonMari store are gorgeous. They reflect a Japanese minimalist style that is now appreciated worldwide and have the power to turn a formerly chaotic home into something of a clean and calm design gallery – if you have the cash to splash. Perhaps what many people find hard to reconcile is the fact that while the KonMari method is all about getting rid of excess and accepting a more focussed lifestyle, the $100 (about ¥10,869) Serving Tray that is sanded by hand for a matt finish or the $68 (about ¥7,391) Kawabon Tray handmade in Los Angeles from 'sculpted leather and merino wool' – both created by name-dropped designers, no less – sounds more excessive than an easy plate or catchall tray from Muji for a fraction of the price. 

Currently, the online shop only ships to the United States. In the meantime, we’ll be scouring a forest looking for our own Shiatsu Stick just to save on the $12 (about ¥1,305) price tag.

Check out the official online store here. Already finished watching Kondo's Netflix show? We recommend the second season of 'Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories'.

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