Posts tagged with "Marie Kondo"

From biting your nails to being late, how so-called bad habits actually might be good for you

July 26, 2022

Nobody’s perfect, but researcher’s at Britain’s Oxford University have some good news for us: Some bad habits and bad manners might actually be good for us, according to a report by The Sun.

Below, are six things that we might not want to be caught doing in polite company, but that really could help, not hurt, according to researchers:

  • Biting nails–boosts immune system: Gnawing at your fingernails might make some people shudder, but biters have the last laugh. Some scientists believe such nibbling can keep you healthy. The theory is that introducing new bacteria into your body could help your immune system learn to recognize it in the future—like a vaccination.
  • Chewing gum—sharpens memory: Chewing on a stick of gum might get you a lecture from the dentist, but it could be worth it. Chewing is more effective than caffeine at helping with focus and memory, according to research. It raises levels of stress hormone cortisol, which keeps you on your toes and concentrating for longer.
  • Not tidying up—a sign of intelligence: If you constantly find yourself tripping over your kids’ shoes or standing on their Legos, your child might be a genius. Being messy is a sign of intelligence, according to the University of Minnesota.  Smarter people don’t waste time tidying or organizing things, they say (which may not “spark joy” for Marie Kondo). The chaotic clutter also boosts creativity.
  • Bad posture—can benefit your spine: The next time someone ticks you off for bad posture after a long day, tell them this: After hard physical work, leaning forward for a bit can benefit your spine, says University Hospital of North Tees. The position helps alleviate back stiffness by allowing fluid to grease up spinal discs, its study discovered.
  • Being late—makes you happy: Arriving late to parties might infuriate hostsm, but it keeps guests easy-going. Those with a relaxed approach to timekeeping are likely to have lower stress levels, says a study by Harvard Medical School. They are also more likely to lead a healthier, happier lifestyle.
  • Playing with your hair—stops boredom: Next time you find yourself zoning out, twiddling with your hair could help. A 2014 study found that playing with your locks can alleviate boredom when your concentration is waning. Messing with your tresses can even reduce anxiety and help you to wind down before going to bed.

Research contact: @TheSun

Dirt, be gone: Clean your home in short, productive spurts with the Flylady Technique

June 9, 2020

Many of us wouldn’t necessarily choose to organize, even with Marie Kondo; or to use the white-glove method to test our dusting skills. And, even during the pandemic, we will sheepishly admit that we’re not disinfecting all of our food purchases or our delivery boxes. In fact—dare we say it?—the less time spent cleaning, the better.

But now, there’s a daily cleaning and organizing method that seems to be just for us—and it’s called the FlyLady Technique, according to a report by Better Homes and Gardens.

In fact, between January 2019 and January 2020, Pinterest searches for “fly lady cleaning schedule” have surged 40%, while queries for “Marie Kondo” have plummeted 80%.

Marla Cilley, a cleaning and organizing specialist from North Carolina, started the FlyLady mentoring group more than 20 years ago (the name FlyLady was inspired by her love of fly-fishing). Her aim was to offer a practical approach to organizing that prevents homeowners from feeling overwhelmed.

The FlyLady system breaks down household cleaning and organizing projects into focused 15-minute increments. The easiest way to follow the method is to sign up for Cilley’s emails, which you can do for free on the FlyLady website. You’ll receive daily messages—including a checklist for the day, suggested cleaning routines, projects to tackle for the week, and testimonials from other FlyLady users.

Otherwise,  Better Homes and Gardens suggests, you can access FlyLady’s content via FlyLadyPlus, a free app for iOS devices that gives users access to her basic routines and cleaning tasks. Cilley also offers a subscription-based app called FlyLady Messenger, which sends her daily messages, testimonials, and “behavior modification reminders,” such as to drink water or start a load of laundry, as push notifications instead of emails and costs $29.95 per year (available only for iOS devices).

Based on Cilley’s observation that it takes 28 days to form a habit, the FlyLady cleaning schedule begins with four weeks of small, daily tasks that she calls BabySteps. (One example is to shine your sink, a simple cleaning task that Cilley says kicked off her own process of whipping her home into shape and later led her to create FlyLady.) For the remaining 27 days, subscribers receive daily emails to help them establish consistent routines for cleaning and organizing.

The next phase in the FlyLady schedule is decluttering. Dividing the home’s major living areas into five areas, Cilley focuses on one zone per week for 15 minutes a day, then rotates through all the areas each month:

  • Zone 1: Front porch, entryway, dining room
  • Zone 2: Kitchen
  • Zone 3: Master bathroom, plus one other room (home office, kids’ playroom, guest bedroom, or craft area)
  • Zone 4: Master bedroom, bathrooms, and closets
  • Zone 5: Living room

Zone one always starts on the first of the month and you move on to another space every Sunday. (Depending on how the dates fall on the calendar, zones one and five might not always receive a full seven days’ worth of cleaning and organizing.) Every month, you repeat the schedule, which should become more manageable over time. “As one area gets cleaned, it will become easier to do, and you will have more time to face those areas that don’t seem to fit in any zone,” Cilley writes on her website.

Within those daily 15-minute periods, FlyLady recommends rapid-fire organizing projects such as the “27 Fling Boogie,” which involves gathering 27 household items to throw away as quickly as possible; and the “Hot Spot Fire Drill,” a strategy for tackling a specific area that attracts clutter, such as the dining room table. These short spurts are designed to divide an out-of-control mess into bite-sized tasks you can tackle over time.

And, at least according to her half-million-plus followers on Facebook, the FlyLady method works. One Facebook reviewer writes, “Flylady helped me get a handle on home maintenance and decluttering when I was overwhelmed with homeschooling and part-time work. She has great, supportive and wise counsel. She freed me from thinking I had to do things perfectly and taught me I can do anything for 15 minutes.”

That’s the idea: Making your impossibly long to-do list more manageable through short bursts of activity.

Research contact: @BHG

A new kind of ‘Goop’: Marie Kondo’s new website sells highly curated items that ‘spark joy’

November 21, 2019

Just as actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, Goop, sells curated—and expensive—items in a “shop of clean beauty, fashion, and home”  (think: Luxe Brass Fire Extinguisher for $250), now decluttering expert Marie Kondo is producing a lifestyle platform that offers pricey products that will “spark joy” (think: cement live edge bowl for $145).

In her best-selling book and popular Netflix series, both entitled, Tidying Up With Marie Kondothe Japanese organizing consultant advises clients to clean up their homes (and, by extension, their lives) by decluttering and getting rid of excess junk so that they can be happier and healthier overall.

But isn’t buying new stuff at an online store just a way to clutter up again? It seems counter-intuitive.

“The shop came about because I always like to share how I tidy every day, and in the process of doing that, I always ask myself, ‘Well, why do we tidy in the first place?’ The answer is to live a life that sparks joy,” Kondo told Fortune Magazine in a recent interview.

Kondo explained that she received a lot of queries and feedback from fans about the products she uses  on an everyday basis, and this is meant to be reflected in the catalog of items.

“When something sparks joy, you should feel a little thrill, as if the cells in your body are slowly rising,” is just one of the Kondo quotes serving as taglines for the collection.

The collection will launch with approximately 150 items, ranging in price from $10 to $300, applying to various situations that one might encounter around the home and organized by activity—dinner parties, bathing routines, aromatherapy, and purification rituals. Kondo helps illustrate the concept of a purification ritual with a tuning fork ($50)—among her favorite products included in the collection—which she uses to purify the air in her home

Among Kondo’s other favorite items are incense and a donabe (a $150 Japanese clay pot described by Bon Appetit  magazine as a “one-pot wonder”), which she uses on a daily basis. As Kondo explains, it’s one of the oldest types of cooking vessels in Japan; and in the wintertime, it’s Japanese tradition to have a “donabe party,” at which hosts have their friends and family over, make a big pot with vegetables and tofu, and share it over conversation.

Each item was chosen for its ability to enhance the owner’s daily rituals and inspire a joyful lifestyle. They come from brands deemed to specialize in simple, elegant design across categories, including kitchenware, decor, bath essentials, and aromatherapy. And of course, there are be tidying products, including trays, shelves, and baskets.

“They are ‘tidy chic’ because even your dustpan should spark joy,” notes a spokesperson for the brand.

Arguably, it may seem counterintuitive that the next step for KonMari is encouraging followers to go out and buy more stuff, especially given the fervor to start spring cleaning in midwinter earlier this year.

“That’s something we carefully considered, of course,” Kondo replies. “For me, the emphasis is not on trying to throw out as much as possible but to choose what sparks joy for you. The ultimate goal with my method is for people to really hone their sensitivity to what sparks joy for them so they can make a considered, cautious purchase.”

In regards to how this should work, Kondo advises that you first finish tidying. Once you’ve done that, you might then consider looking at the shop. “It’s not my intention at all to encourage you to buy something that is redundant to you,” Kondo explains.

The collection will went live online on Monday, November 18, via, with new products expected to be added monthly.

Kondo offers a closing piece of advice: “I know it’s an odd thing for a founder to say—they’re lovely products—but don’t overbuy! Tidy first, and then consider the products.”

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Ten steps to better skin? Dermatologists weigh in.

January 31, 2019

American women are buying into Eastern wisdom bigtime: While hordes of U.S. females are following “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo of Japan; many others have gone on to buy and try board-certified esthetician Charlotte Cho’s Soko Glam ten-step Korean Skin Care Routine.

Founded in 2012 with products curated from South Korea, Soko Glam advances an already rampant trend: If there’s a skin “problem,” there must be a cream, mask, serum, or scrub for that.

And, as the Huffington Post points out in a January 29 story, at a time when high-profile politicians— yes, we’re talking about Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) —are sharing their own skin care secrets, and other beauty-obsessed influencers are boasting about their own favorite elixirs and panaceas; it’s easy to convince ourselves that more is more, and more is better—especially on the path to “perfect” skin.

But are all those products really helping us? Do we really need to be spending all that money and piling a ton of stuff on our faces to keep our skin at its best? The HuffPost spoke to dermatologists to get some answers.

It’s true that plenty of people out there really do love their skin care routines. As Dr. Jennifer Chwalek, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City, told the news outlet, “I think part of this whole trend of wanting to do multi-step skin care comes from a real need or desire in our society to do more self-care.”

So it feels good, but is that a good reason to spend so much time and money on your skin?

“Need is a relative term,” Dr. Anna Guanche, a board-certified dermatologist at Bella Skin Institute in Calabasas, California, told the HuffPost via email. She explained that if someone has, say, a ten-step process, that would be “optimal if all ingredients are compatible, stay active on the skin when layered, penetrate, and most importantly, are applied consistently.”

And therein lies one problem: compatibility. There’s a good chance most people aren’t scientists who’ve studied every ingredient in every formula and know exactly how all their products interact with each other.

Chwalek noted that skin care and beauty products are studied for their efficacy on an individual basis, not as part of a layered routine. When you put multiple layers of products on your skin, you can’t always be sure the active ingredients in each of them are penetrating as deeply as they should be for the results you want, she said.

“Not only that, you’re also adding on top of something where there are other ingredients that could be deactivating the active ingredient, or affecting the pH at which the active ingredient works,” Chwalek told the online news source. “It’s hard to know if the active ingredient of the last thing you added actually got [to where it needed] to be in the skin, and if it wasn’t deactivated by something else you put on.”

Chwalek and Guanche both agreed that doing too much to our skin can actually irritate it. And if you’re using so many products, it becomes difficult to pinpoint which one or which ingredient is causing that reaction.

If you do have a large arsenal of products you like using, Dr. Angela Lamb, director of the Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology Faculty Practice in New York City, suggested alternating them. “For example,” she told HuffPost “if you have two cleansers you love, use one in the morning and one at night. If you have two anti-aging serums, use one in the morning and one at night, or one Monday, Wednesday, Friday and another Tuesday, Sunday.”

In Guanche’s opinion, a few high-quality products and consistent application are key when it comes to skin care. Lamb agreed, noting that she likes to walk through exactly which products her patients are using and why.

“I try to pin down their goals for each product,” Lamb said. “Once I get my arms around that, then I can really trim down their regimens.”

Chwalek offered a similar viewpoint, saying that each product should have a purpose.

“Each time you’re putting something on your face, you have to ask yourself, why are you doing it? What is its purpose? If you’re using a bunch of stuff and you can’t say why you’re doing it or what it’s doing for you, I think you have to rethink it.”

It’s no surprise, therefore, that it turns out, it’s possible for a good skin care routine to be composed of only two or three basic products.

According to Guanche, the musts in beauty care are few: a cleanser, a sunscreen, and a moisturizer.

Some people might not even need moisturizers, Chwalek said, especially those who find that their skin naturally produces more oil. In her opinion, not every single person should be using the exact same products ― “it needs to be individualized,” she said ― but her typical recommendations include a gentle cleanser, a vitamin C or antioxidant serum in the morning and sunscreen.

Lamb’s essentials were similar: cleanser twice a day (once for those with drier skin), serum, eye cream, moisturizer and sunscreen. She did note, however, that some products, like combo moisturizers with SPF, can simplify things even more.

All three dermatologists told the HuffPost that toner is one product that’s not necessary for everyone. Chwalek noted it could be beneficial for those with oily skin, and Guanche suggested it for acne-prone individuals.

The reality with skin care, Chwalek said, is that we’re all “wowed by marketing and there’s new products coming out every day.”

“It’s such a huge industry. I understand the desire for people to want to use multiple things, but I do think keeping it simple is best,” she said.

Ultimately, “the best skin care is the is skin care you actually use,” Guanche said. And in this case, that doesn’t always mean more.

Research contact: @juliabruc