She Speaks: Tidying up ‘sparks joy’ with help from Marie Kondo
The catchphrase people are familiar with is whether an item “sparks joy” — if it does, keep it.
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Sometimes the best motivation is watching other people accomplish something you, too, would like to achieve.
In our case, my husband and I are always looking for ways to get more organized and deal with an accumulation of things that never seems to end.
Enter Marie Kondo.
The Japanese tidying expert is famous for her “KonMari” method, which encourages cleaning by category (i.e., clothing, books, sentimental items) rather than by room. The catchphrase people are familiar with is whether an item “sparks joy” — if it does, keep it. If not, thank the item for its service and get rid of it.
Kondo’s 2014 book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” quickly became a New York Times best-seller. And this year she debuted a Netflix series, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” that allows viewers to see the KonMari method in action.
While we didn’t pick up her book, we knew who Kondo was and occasionally mentioned wanting to try her approach. Then we effectively binge-watched the series and came away more motivated than ever to organize our life.
The episodes are both educational and entertaining. Kondo is a delight to watch, and it truly is inspiring to see families of all kinds transform their homes.
It’s more than just a cleaning show, though. As we watched the eight households come to grips with their messy situations, we realized that each episode also gently illuminates the frustration and challenges the couples face in their relationships. (One episode features a woman whose husband had recently died, and she had to learn how to be her own person again while honoring her husband’s memory.)
After we finished the series, my husband and I set about looking for how we could apply the KonMari method to our own space.
Some tips were no-brainers that we simply had never thought of, such as using storage bins pretty much everywhere in the house — small ones for sentimental items, large ones for things like towels and seasonal decor.
Other KonMari tricks, though, have become game-changers, namely how to fold our “sparks joy” clothes in a way that is both neat and display-worthy. I thought I knew how to store socks until Marie Kondo came along.
My husband and I still have a long way to go, and we don’t follow the KonMari method precisely; it’s easy to get distracted and organize by area rather than by category. But we’re gradually sorting through our stuff and organizing our life. Eventually, we hope, we’ll only be surrounded by things that spark joy.