Sorry for that post title, but I just couldn’t resist. Last year I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. The main premise is that you keep only things that spark joy, and you respect the things you choose to keep by taking care of them (finding a permanent home for them, putting them back where they belong after using, etc.). Visualizing your ideal lifestyle can help you identify the things that spark joy in you–and the things that don’t.
Now Marie Kondo has a new book called Spark Joy, “an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up.” It goes into more detail about how to choose the items that spark joy for you personally, and also how to tidy and organize (and fold!! lots of illustrations!) more effectively. I’ve been reading it this past week on spring break (while drinking lotsa matcha, of course!) and it has given me the kick in the pants I needed to do things the right way around the ‘ole homestead.
If you haven’t read Marie Kondo’s books, I highly recommend them. They’re written in a clean, simple, direct (uncluttered!) style. They’re quietly brilliant, and like watching an episode of Hoarders, they make you want to start decluttering right away.
Want to get started NOW but don’t have a copy of the books? MakeSpace, an on-demand storage company, created this handy KonMari Method Cheat Sheet:
It seems like common sense to keep just what sparks joy, but it sure never occurred to me to think this way. We are pretty good about decluttering and taking a minivan full of donations to our local Goodwill and Salvation Army locations, but according to Kondo you shouldn’t have to keep decluttering over and over again. If you put your house in order the right way, it will stay that way.
According to Kondo, you are really supposed to do a “shock and awe” on your entire house all at once, but I’m trying things out on a smaller scale during spring break. I’m going to tackle the whole house this summer when I have more time.
Since Kondo recommends starting with clothing, I went through every single item in my drawers and closet over the past few days. All of my clothes are in my master bedroom, so I took everything out, piled it all on my bed, and gave each item a thumbs up (keeper: sparks joy) or a thumbs down (donate).
Once I’d been through everything, I gave the joy-sparkers a permanent home and moved the non-joy sparkers into trash bags to be donated.
Take a look at the results:
Know what? Every time I open one of these drawers and see the clothes (just the ones that spark joy!) all lined up and looking so neat and tidy, that in itself makes me smile.
Next up was my closet, and the bulk of what did not spark joy for me was the tons of sweaters I had crammed in each of the shelves you see below. I was too embarrassed to take a “before” photo–they were packed in , wadded up, and falling out everywhere. Not anymore!
The results of my labor are these two jumbo-sized, bulging bags of non-joy sparking clothes.
It’s so nice to see clean, empt(ier) spaces containing things that make you happy–and nothing more. Just a few days ago this chair was covered in scarves. I picked up a scarf rack at Ikea, got rid of all of the scarves that didn’t spark joy, and hung the keepers. From now on, whenever a new scarf comes in, an old one must go to make room.
Now when I look in my drawers and closet, I can see everything I own at once, and this makes it a snap to choose just the right pieces for each outfit. Not only that, but folded items are no longer wrinkled when I take them out.
The way my clothes are stored now makes me feel pretty good. I love Kondo’s philosophy of decluttering once, the right way, and that becoming your lifestyle. I could totally get used to this!