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What Marie Kondo Teaches Us About Motivation

The science behind the "tidying up" craze

If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo’s tips for tidying up, perhaps you’ve been too buried under piles of clutter to notice. I’m only partly joking.

"The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide. With over 9,000 five-star reviews on Amazon for the English-language version, a hit show on Netflix, and articles, blogs and commentaries by pundits, psychologists and professional organizers attempting to explain the phenomenon, it’s hard to ignore the success of the diminutive whirlwind whose English still requires a translator and subtitles.

I discovered Kondo’s book several years ago and it didn’t take long to deduce why I fell under her spell. Kondo’s KonMari approach to organization aligns perfectly with the science of motivation. Every human being thrives when three psychological needs are fulfilled: choice, connection and competence*. If you are hoping to generate more energy in the new year, your best bet may be creating choice, connection, and competence by using Kondo’s approach to tidying up. Let me explain.

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