As a child, Marie Kondo always gravitated toward tidying. When her teacher called for volunteers to organize a classroom shelf, she yearned for the job (as the only volunteer, she landed the gig). But not all kids have an innate devotion to keeping their spaces clean.
Kondo, one of the world’s foremost experts on home organization and author of the mega-bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, stopped by our offices to meet with TIME For Kids reporters Alexa and Cameron, 14 and 13, and answer their questions about folding t-shirts and sweatshirts, organizing their book bags and keeping their moms off their backs.
“My mom always tells me to clean my room, and it drives me crazy,” Cameron says. “How can you make tidying up fun?” Imagine your ideal lifestyle and think about how your room can help you attain it, Kondo suggests. Start with the objects that surround you: “Look at the items and decide for yourself whether they actually make you happy – whether they spark joy.”