Should I Greet My Home? A Christian Response to Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Are you one of the many people who binge-watched Tidying Up by Marie Kondo on Netflix? I am! Years ago I read Marie Kondo’s two books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy. Marie Kondo approaches decluttering differently than any other method out there. Her approach is also very spiritual. Does her spiritual approach fit into a Biblical worldview? Find out in this blog series: A Christian’s Response to Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

Recently my children were going to meet a new friend. Before we went to the family gathering, we practiced a polite greeting. I had the kids smile, shake hands with one another, and say “nice to meet you.” They thought the practice was ridiculous, but it paid off. I was proud at how nicely they greeted the new friend. 

In Tidying Up, after organizing expert Marie Kondo meets the family who she will be helping in the tidying up process, Marie asks if they minds if she takes a minute to greet their home. The family gives permission and Marie, in stocking feet, paces the floor until she finds exactly the right spot. Silently she drops to her knees, feet tucked beneath her. She closes her eyes and lightly traces her fingers on the floor. She bows slowly, all while the family and her interpreter look on in reverent silence.

Marie Kondo bows on the ground with eyes closed greeting the house

Some of the families on the show are drawn to this ritual. Marie Kondo sees her job and the world we live in as a spiritual place. Marie Kondo is originally from Japan. She mentions in her books that Shinto beliefs have informed the way she tidies up. Shintoism includes the idea that inanimate objects can be inhabited by spirits or gods. Therefore, Marie takes the time to personally greet the house.

What should a Christian response be to Marie Kondo greeting the home? Should a Christian participate in this practice?

Here is what the Bible says.

Humans were created as spiritual beings, but the rest of creation was not. In Genesis 1, only humans were made in God’s image. In Genesis 2, mankind was brought to life with God’s breath which sets us apart from all other creation.

This is not to say that we should treat inanimate objects carelessly. In the same passage we are given dominion over creation. The term dominion is not to be seen as domineering, but with respect and care because of our love and respect for the God who made the earth and gave us responsibility over it.

So should I greet my house before I declutter?

No.

But we should pause and pray before we interact with what God has made. That includes our home and the objects in it.

Decluttering our home and tidying up is a spiritual practice. Not because our home is spirit, but because we are spiritual beings. As a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and the decisions you make should be done with the conscience presence of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26).  

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Also in this blog series:

Why does “spark joy” work?

17 comments

  1. I saw a few episodes this weekend. My clothes are now folded differently than before and I hope I am more mindful of the blessing of having lovely things. As I smoothed and folded my clothes, I didn’t thank my clothes, but I thanked the Lord for His provision, especially at this unsettled period in our life. I didnt greet the house reverently, but again thanked the Lord that He provides for us through the people He has placed in our life.

  2. Great job. It seems stress relieving when, as much as possible, your home is guest ready. Not just beneficial and enjoyable for the guest but for the family also whenever you come in your home.

    • Stress relief! you are exactly right! It’s not as stressful now, but when my kids were younger, I wish we had decluttered more so we could have been guest ready or somewhat presentable all the time.

  3. I like this perspective Rachel. We can pray over our home not because the inanimate objects have spirits but because we live there, and I could use as much of God’s presence there as possible.

  4. Another way to look at it is that God granted us to be good stewards of the home. Welcoming the home is an interesting concept especially since I find other cultures fascinating. However actually believing that the home has a spirit or that maybe that it is a spirit is something that I don’t believe that we should practice but it is something that God has given us: something that we are to take care of.

  5. I saw a few episodes and was feeling like I was doing something wrong in watching. I did take some of her recommendations but could not do the spirit thing. This helped me, thank you

    • I recently watched the series with an objective view. Growing up in an evangelical Christian Church we were taught that worldly possessions and material wealth were distractions and that our purpose was to love God, be obedient to God, and love others as we love ourselves. In watching the show and being aware of Shintoism it is obvious that Marie’s beliefs influence her life practices. Do I believe that all things have spirits no, but that’s not the point. The takeaway from the show for me was that we should be grateful and have respect for the blessings we have in our lives with reverence and the mindfulness to be good stewards of what we have. The thing that stuck out to me as being ungodly was the attachment to possessions and the oppression that families experienced because their focus was on an accumulation of things. The recurring theme was “I have too much and I can’t manage it.”
      Places can be sacred, a refuge. When we respect our environments whether it is nature or the spaces we inhabit we show gratitude, a beautiful practice. The lifestyles of the clients was what spoke to my spirit, and after their experience with Marie they showed a huge shift in focus and priorities. Regardless of her belief system she is using her influence for good. The moral of the story for me was your family and your space is more important than the things we put in it.

      • That’s a great takeaway–that we should be grateful and have respect for what we have. I don’t think we say that enough in the evangelical church. We tend to focus so much on the eternal that we lose sight of the importance of respecting material things we have. I know I’m guilty of that! And our church traditions in the evangelical church downplay the sacredness of spaces…we are so concentrated on “the church is the people and not the building” that we don’t treat places with proper respect…hmmmm….I’m going to let those thoughts simmer…thanks for your comments!

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