An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – The star of the hit Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up helps you visualize your ideal lifestyle.
Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo has revolutionized homes–and lives–across the world. Now, Kondo presents an illustrated guide to usingher acclaimed KonMari Method to create a joy-filled home that works the way you need it to.
Spark Joy features step-by-step folding illustrations for everything from shirts to socks, plus drawings of perfectly organized drawers and closets. Kondo also answers frequently asked questions, such as whether to keep “necessary” items that may not bring you joy. With guidance on specific categories including kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, hobby goods, digital photos, and even building your own personal “power spot” in your home, this comprehensive companion is sure to spark joy in anyone who wants to simplify their life.
If you’ve ever happened upon Marie Kondo’s brilliant “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” we don’t need to tell you that “a messy room equals a messy mind.”
Well, Marie – once the “maiden of mess,” now organizing consultant extraordinaire – is back with an update:
You could say that tidying orders the mind while cleaning purifies it… tidying is the act of confronting yourself; cleaning is the act of confronting nature.
In other words: tidying and cleaning are not merely practical activities, but also spiritual quests to self-discovery.
Lots of joy.
No wonder “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” created a cult of “Konverts,” a worldwide community of people practicing and advocating the KonMari method with an almost religious zeal.
And there is certainly something sacred in it.
After all, not many people can talk of “the god of tidying up” or write a sentence such as this one:
At the age of fifteen or so, having awakened to the call of tidying, I spent every day tidying not just my own room but virtually every space in our home, from my siblings’ rooms to the kitchen, the living room, and the bathroom.
Want to hear the call of tidying yourself?
A good way to start is by redefining tidying up from “a process of decluttering your house to make it look neat for your guests” into “a life-changing act of sparking joy in your life.”
From then on – it’s all about the six basic rules of tidying.
Let’s have a look at them all.
#1. Commit yourself to tidying up
This may seem like something trivial, but it’s actually very important.
In other words, the KonMari method (as you’ll learn in an instant) is based on a stay-or-go approach which is certainly not for the faint of heart.
It requires time and effort – and a lot of belief and courage.
These are all rooted in commitment.
So, you’re either fully in or fully out.
If the latter – the KonMari method is not for you.
If the former – move on to step #2.
#2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle
The problem why many people suffer rebound after tidying up is fairly simple: they haven’t redefined the process, understanding it as something you do on-the-go, and something you can start doing right away.
This is not true.
Tidying up only works if you have an objective.
And that objective, in this case, is your ideal lifestyle.
Creative visualization is a powerful technique.
Whether you’ll draw the room of your dreams or you’ll write a diary entry about it makes no difference whatsoever.
The point is – to give yourself an objective and a “why” to your cleaning project.
No matter what you do – always start with why.
#3. Finish discarding first
The key to success in tidying is to finish discarding first.
As Kondo says – this is the secret to getting the job done both quickly and right.
You must – and, believe us, you have many reasons to – get rid of some things to make room for others. However, worrying about where to store the ones you’ll keep is something you should do later.
After all, you don’t know how much room you have for storing until you see what you will store no more.
#4. Tidy up by category, not by location
“It’s very important to get an accurate grasp of the sheer volume for each category” of things you own.
So, tidying up one room at a time simply won’t work!
Because most probably you have clothes/books/tools in more than one room and shuffling them around rooms will result in merely another form of the same mess – possibly neater only for the moment.
The correct approach is to first gather all items of a single category at one place and then, after seeing objectively how much of them you own, deciding where and how you can store them.
#5. Follow the right order
Have you ever happened upon some old photos of your family while cleaning around your house and ended up spending hours looking at them?
You sure have!
That’s why “it is crucial not only to tidy by category but also to follow the correct order.”
And the correct order is:
d. Komono (miscellany)
e. Sentimental items
“Spark Joy” lists many useful advices on how you should approach to tidying up each of these categories.
And did we mention that they are illustrated?
#6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy
It’s sometimes difficult to decide which things you should keep and which things you shouldn’t.
However, it’s only obvious that this is an important skill to master.
Marie Kondo suggests comparing items to each other. After you’ve put every piece of clothing you own in a single category, give yourself three minutes to choose your favorite three items. There: these certainly spark joy within you.
Repeat the process until you can, before moving on to trying out or even hugging items to see if they (still) spark joy.
But don’t hesitate: if in doubt, throw it away.
Never ever forget that “it might come in handy” is a taboo during tidying.
Key Lessons from “Spark Joy”
- The Six Basic Rules of Tidying
2. The Fundamentals of Storing
3. Fill Your Home with Joy
The Six Basic Rules of Tidying
The KonMari method adheres to a strict six-rule manual:
#1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
#2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
#3. Finish discarding first.
#4. Tidy by category, not by location.
#5. Follow the right order.
#6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
No skipping, no circumventing is allowed.
The “no rebound” part is Kondo’s promise.
The Fundamentals of Storing
Generally speaking, there are four tenets of storage, summarize by Marie Kondo thus:
fold it, stand it upright, store it in one spot and divide your storage space into square compartments.
There are some things you’ll be unable to fold, and others that are not designed to stand upright.
However, most things you own adhere to this rule, and it is essential that you add one of your own: dividing your storage space the way a bento box is divided, i.e., into square compartments.
That way, your drawers will always be neat – and only 90% full.
Fill Your Home with Joy
Once you’re finished with tidying (that is, separating and organizing the items which spark joy in you), it’s time that you move on to adding some joy to your surroundings.
For example, instead of storing your cherished items in some far corner of your drawer, use them to decorate your home.
Add flowers, towels, curtains – and other colorful things which may enhance your joy factor.
It’s your home we’re talking about here!
“Spark Joy Quotes”
A joy-filled home is like your own personal art museum.
There are only two choices: keep it or chuck it. And if you’re going to keep it, make sure to take care of it.
The important thing in tidying is not deciding what to discard but rather what you want to keep in your life.
The real tragedy is to live your entire life without anything that brings you joy and never even realize it.
I want to live my life in such a way that it colors my things with memories.