I’ve been a fan of organization my whole life. Even as a little girl, I loved cleaning my room and having a special place for all my favourite things. As I got older, organizing my desk, making the bed and picking up clothes, shoes and other items around the house was stress relieving. I’ve never been a fan of cleaning though. Washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, kitchen or floors and I’ll put them off for as long as I can.
When Marie Kondo’s first book - The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up came out in 2014, I immediately sought out to read it. It was life changing. I realized I didn’t like 95% of the things I owned. I was so alarmed going through the process that I stopped mid-way and sadly never finished. After watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix series, I decided to give Spark Joy a chance. I picked it up in early March right before Covid-19.
Spark Joy, is split into 3 parts - Part I KonMarie Master Tips, Part II The Tidying Encyclopedia and Part III Life Changing Magic. Prior to entering part one, she explains the KonMarie method which contains the 6 basic rules of tidying.
Commit yourself to tidying: This is actually a huge endeavour. The KonMarie method takes about 6 months to complete!
Imagine your ideal lifestyle: This was the easiest part of the process. It’s like setting up a vision board in your mind of what you want your home, space and day to day interactions in your home to look like.
Finish discarding first: This one was tough because I don’t like throwing things away. I’m a bit of a hoarder and like to keep things “just incase” I might need them.
Tidy by category, not location: This is what sets the KonMarie method apart from all other tidying formulas.
Follow the right order: There is a special order to tidying your home - first clothes, then books, then paper, then all other household items (komono) and finally sentimental items.
Ask yourself if it “sparks joy”
Part I is the philosophical section. It helps you understand the psychological aspects of tidying, how to go about it, common concerns people have around tidying as well as understanding how it will benefit your life. This section also has helpful tips on how to store items, fold clothes and how to decorate your home in a meaningful way.
Part II is very pragmatic. It goes through every section of tidying with specific details on how to fold and sort items to maximize space you already have. It covers clothes, including shoes and accessories, books, papers, komono and sentimental items. It has tons of great tips on how to organize all sorts of common household items including makeup and beauty products. The kitchen section is quite intensive and offers interesting insights like not leaving anything out on your counter and how to store everything from dishes to foil to food.
I really liked the section on papers. It’s an area that I really struggle with. The main rule is to discard all papers unless you are currently using them, you need them for a specific purpose or have decided to keep them for life. She suggests keeping a “pending” box or folder with all papers that need to be addressed and deciding on a day of the week to review. For course books she recommends recycling the material because it’s quite rare that the material is ever referred to again and if you really do need to know the information in the future, you will just take the course again.
Part III Life changing. Marie Kondo claims no one has ever relapsed after completing the KonMarie method and I can understand why. If a person spends 6 months going through everything in their home in enough detail to ask if each item “sparks joy” the process is big enough to be life changing. And that is what the last part is about. It’s not just about keeping things that make you happy but also making the rest of your home a place of happiness and refuge. Adding things like pictures, rugs, plants, decor and mementos make a big impact at home. The even bigger piece that comes from putting your home in order, is that you have more time to focus on relationships, hobbies and other things in life that you enjoy.
I found Spark Joy to contain many helpful tips. I didn’t finish the KonMarie method this time either, but will give it a try sometime again in the future. It sounds so great in theory, but actually committing to complete the full process is a huge endeavour. I do believe it will be life changing when it happens!