For The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up author and professional neat freak Marie Kondo, welcoming a baby into her Tokyo home last July could have wreaked havoc on the household’s well-established order. Luckily, Kondo and husband Takumi Kawahara‘s little bundle of joy seems to have inherited some of Mom’s instinct for organization.
“Since my child was born, we have a lot more things,” Kondo tells PEOPLE, “but we also made space for the baby, and she’s still not at the age where she’s scattering things about.”
The queen of clean says she’ll wait a few years before actually schooling her daughter in her decluttering methods.
“She’s still only six months, but when she’s a little older, of course, I’ll teach her how to tidy,” Kondo shares. “Even now, when I’m folding clothes, she watches how it’s done.”
The 31-year-old, whose new book Spark Joy offers more detailed tips on the streamlining methods she shared in her bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, says the perfect age for a master class in neatening is when a child is over three.
“[Then] it’s possible to start teaching them how to tidy and put away their own clothes,” Kondo says.
And she’s sharing her wisdom on how to get your toddler started.
“Children have to learn to clean up their own toys,” she advises. “They themselves have to tidy up their own things. And second, when you teach children tidying, rather than start with their toys, it goes much better if you start with their clothes than if you start with toys.”
According to Kondo, American children have more belongings than kids in Japan, so purging may be hard.
“I’ll ask, out of all of [the toys], which ones do you like the most?” she says.
Luckily, Kondo has some help at the home office: Kawahara shares her passion for keeping clean.
She says, “Frankly I cannot tell which of us is tidier!”
— Nancy Matsumoto and Lindsay Kimble