Reset Your Closet with What Sparks Joy

marie kondo spark joy book

Every year around this time I start to notice more clutter than usual around the house. Christmas is over and as usual we didn’t donate or purge enough to make room for all of the thoughtful gifts we received from family and friends. Among other things, my closet runneth over because I may or may not have….ahem….bought myself a few Christmas gifts during some of the great sales going on in December. Time to pare down. Something that has been a great help to me in deciding what stays and what goes is the book Spark Joy by Marie Kondo.


With that in mind, today I’m sharing a post I wrote back in March 2016 because I don’t know about you, but I want to refresh my skill — and will — in the decluttering department. Here’s that post now — hope it helps you (and me!) get in the organizing and decluttering zone. In the meantime, I’ll be shocking and awe-ing my closet if you need me.


I really enjoyed 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:

Kon Mari method cheat sheet

Having read both of Kondo’s books on the KonMari Method, these tips are a great reminder of some of the key points and guidelines.


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).


Image: MakeSpace

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:

organized t-shirt drawer

T-shirt drawer: Is it bugging you as much as it does me that the white T-shirt in the middle column is facing a different direction than everything else in the drawer? How did I miss that?

organized shorts drawer

Shorts drawer: Shoot, now I see several pairs of shorts facing different directions. New rule: everything must face the front! Guess what I’m running upstairs to fix right now….

organized socks and undergarments drawer

Underwear and socks drawer: Never thought my undergarments would be proudly displayed on the Internet–guess this makes me an honorary Kardashian. The socks are not folded KonMari style, though. I prefer the roll-up method so I can dig around and the pairs won’t get separated. Guess if I got rid of a few more pairs of socks I wouldn’t need to dig around. Sorry I let you down on this one, KonMari. 🙁

organized jeans drawer

Jeans drawer: See how nice it is that they are all facing the same direction? And the colors go from dark to light!! When I went back upstairs to fix my t-shirt and shorts drawers, I put them into “gradient” order, too.

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!

organized sweaters in closet

The sweaters I chose to keep have some breathing room now. Breathe, little sweaters, breathe!

The results of my labor are these two jumbo-sized, bulging bags of non-joy sparking clothes.

donations for goodwill or salvation army

Looks like another Goodwill or Salvation Army drop-off run is in order.

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.

organized scarves

Actually there is still one empty hole so the first new scarf already has a place to hang. Time to go scarf shopping? ?

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!


Oh hey, one more January 2018 thought: Have you seen Marie Kondo’s cute new book called The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story? It’s absolutely adorable! It’s actually a fictional graphic novel!! So cool. Here’s the description from Amazon: “Chiaki, a young woman in Tokyo who struggles with a cluttered apartment, messy love life, and lack of direction. After receiving a complaint from her attractive next-door neighbor about the sad state of her balcony, Chiaki gets Kondo to take her on as a client. Through a series of entertaining and insightful lessons, Kondo helps Chiaki get her home–and life–in order. This insightful, illustrated case study is perfect for people looking for a fun introduction to the KonMari Method of tidying up, as well as tried-and-true fans of Marie Kondo eager for a new way to think about what sparks joy. Featuring illustrations by award-winning manga artist Yuko Uramoto, this book also makes a great read for manga and graphic novel lovers of all ages.”   Sounds good, huh! I haven’t read it yet, but thanks to Amazon, it’ll be here in 2 days. 😀



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