Book Review: Spark Joy

spark joyTitle: Spark Joy
Author: Marie Kondo
Genre: Nonfiction; Self-Help
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Pages: 291
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Series (Companion)
Where I got the book: Library Libby App
Date finished reading: January 21, 2020

Goodreads Description: Spark Joy is an in-depth, line illustrated, room-by-room guide to decluttering and organising your home. It covers every room in the house from bedrooms and kitchens to bathrooms and living rooms as well as a wide range of items in different categories, including clothes, photographs, paperwork, books, cutlery, cosmetics, shoes, bags, wallets and valuables. Charming line drawings explain how to properly organise drawers, wardrobes, cupboards and cabinets. The illustrations also show Ms Kondo’s unique folding method, clearly showing how to fold anything from shirts, trousers and jackets to skirts, socks and bras.

The secret to Marie Kondo’s unique and simple KonMari tidying method is to focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of. Ask yourself if something ‘sparks joy’ and suddenly it becomes so much easier to understand if you really need it in your home and your life. When you surround yourself with things you love you will find that your whole life begins to change.

Marie Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, presents her unique tidying philosophy and introduces readers to the basics of her KonMari method. It has already transformed the homes and lives of millions of people around the world. Spark Joy is Marie Kondo’s in-depth tidying masterclass, focusing on the detail of how to declutter and organise your home.

My Review: Two years ago I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I think it was right at the beginning of the Marie Kondo movement. Since that time, many online debates have occurred regarding Marie Kondo’s methods of organizing and “tidying up”, and she has her own show that aired on Netflix.

While I am one of those people that did not agree with some of the statements made in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (especially regarding books and wall artwork), I cannot deny that Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of organizing has become a movement that speaks to many individuals, especially of my generation. My mom always said that I’m part of the “throw-away” generation. That statement always seemed negative to me, and I would always defend myself by saying that moments and experiences mean more to me than stuff. Marie Kondo has created this atmosphere of organizing that makes it so I do not have to justify not surrounding myself with a lot of stuff.

Spark Joy is a follow-up to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It provides the readers with more detailed instructions on how to actually accomplish some of her organizational techniques that she previously discussed.

She first discusses the psychology of organizing by explaining the difference between cleaning and tidying. “With cleaning we can let our minds empty, while our hands keep moving, but tidying requires us to think about what to discard, what to keep and where to put it.” She also states that, “tidying orders the mind while cleaning purifies it.” I 100% agree with these statements. When I am cleaning, I am on auto-pilot, doing my thing while listening to an audiobook. The task of tidying/organizing definitely takes more attention and concentration.

For those that do not know, the KonMari method contains these three main steps:

  1. Gather all items in that category in one place
  2. Choose only those items that spark joy
  3. Store by category

What I enjoyed about Spark Joy is the details she provided on how to accomplish the 3rd step. She gives very specific instructions on folding clothes and storing items in drawers. I especially got a lot out of the section where she discusses organizing stationery supplies, as those are items in my house that really tend to get messy and disorganized.

I still want to say that I do have hundreds of books on my shelves that I have not read, and that I fully intend on keeping at least until I have read them. That may not spark joy for Marie Kondo, but that sparks joy for me. There are also a lot of items in my house that do not spark joy for me, but I still keep them. I have a whole filing cabinet of paperwork related to my tax filings and other household documents that do not necessarily spark joy, but I still have to keep them. All that being said, I understand what Marie Kondo is trying to help people accomplish with her KonMari method. While I choose to interpret her method a bit differently (especially step 2), I still find a lot of value in the KonMari method and understand why this has become an organizing movement.

“Success depends 90% on your mindset.”

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Spark Joy

  1. I was a sceptic too but I have used her folding technique and its made a big difference. I no longer have to rummage around in the drawer looking for a particular pair of socks. Your point about the items that don’t spark joy but are necessary is valid. I think she gives us some leeway on that. i tend to follow William Morris mantra “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” My can opener isn’t beautiful but it is useful!

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