Marie Kondo at a book signing event at the South by Southwest Music Film Interactive Festival. Photo: Reuters

The newest tool for Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo in her global battle against messy rooms is an app.

“My goal is to have as many people as possible who can get the job done in tidying up,” she said in an interview after speaking at the South by Southwest technology conference in Austin, Texas, over the weekend.

“To achieve that, I’m implementing various measures, one of which is the app to support decluttering,” said Kondo, whose name has been turned into a verb by followers who organise their homes and say they have “Kondoed” their lives.

Kondo is known to global audiences for her best-selling books, including The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering And Organizing, which has been translated from Japanese into more than 40 languages and sold more than seven million copies worldwide.

The app called KonMari was launched a few months ago and gives organising tips, allows people to share before and after pictures, and provides a platform for her followers to socialise.

The followers of Kondo, who earned a spot on Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2015, call themselves “Konverts”. But her critics see her as an irritating presence with a cult-like following, harping on the glaringly obvious need to be better organised.

She has made an art of, for instance, folding clothes into little shapes and being able to tell at a glance what is stored in a drawer. Her disciples regard her words as a philosophy about seeking a happier life by putting their homes in order.

She spends 80 per cent of her time outside Japan, but with the help of technology, she wants to knock on the doors of more homes around the world.

“Tidying up is a broad theme that is relevant to anyone in any country,” said Kondo, who has a knack for decluttering her quotes.

This story first appeared on The Straits Times on March 15, 2017.