Sparking Joy: Decluttering with Marie Kondo

Sparking Joy: Decluttering with Marie Kondo

5th December 2019

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She first made her name with her New York Times bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising”.

When it was originally published in 2014, Marie Kondo had established herself as a Japanese organising pro, and has since reached a wider audience.

Today, she’s has taken our closets, bookshelves, bedrooms and other cluttered areas of our homes by storm with her crazy-popular Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”, and has rightfully been named one of TIME’s “100 most influential people”.

Her revolutionary clutter-free ideas and a track record of clients who never relapsed back into their old hoarding ways are getting people off the couch… Now everyone wants a piece of the KonMari method.

What is the KonMari Method?

The KonMari Method (a portmanteau of her first and last names) is a minimalism-inspired approach that simply encourages you to re-evaluate your possessions and tackle your clutter category-by-category rather than room-by-room.

There are six basic rules to get started:

  • Commit yourself to tidying up
  • Imagine your ideal lifestyle
  • Finish discarding first
  • Tidy by category, not location
  • Follow the right order
  • Ask yourself if it sparks joy

And five categories to focus on:

  • Clothes
  • Books
  • Papers
  • Komono (miscellaneous Items)
  • Sentimental Items

Numerous studies suggest that an unkempt space can negatively affect many areas of our lives.

For example, clutter can impede progression due to the inability to focus on a task, which explains why some people can’t stand to work at a messy desk.

Clutter can also make it harder to fall asleep, leading to feelings of anxiousness and stress — while the effects of tidying can leave us feeling invigorated and satisfied.

Lighten up with the KonMari Method

While many people associate her method with simplifying and organising the home, it’s really about getting rid of physical items that do not bring joy into your life.

To determine what you need to eliminate from your space, the KonMari instructs that you start by taking stock of every article of clothing you have in your closet and drawers (category one), remove all the books off your shelves (category two), remove all the paperwork out of your desk and bins (category three) and so on.

Pick each item and ask yourself the following question: does it spark joy? If not, thank it for its service and gently set it aside.

In essence, the method’s anchoring principle that we hang onto only what “sparks joy” cleverly reconfigures the idea of tidying and decluttering as mere throwing away — setting the tone for a total life transformation appears to be Kondo’s lesson.

Once you’ve tossed items in every category, you should have a much smaller set of remaining things that you can return to various closets, drawers, shelves, and boxes.

One key thing to remember about the KonMari checklist… finish one category before moving onto the next as this helps keep you organised while organising.

How to design your home using KonMari Method

Designing your home using KonMari naturally grows from the space you have created through decluttering.

Once you’ve applied the KonMari method in making space in your home, there will be much more room for you to do the things you love! All the while surrounded by the possessions you truly adore.

More importantly, actively choosing items that spark joy and eliminating what doesn’t allows you to end up with a harmonious home that is better able to make a huge difference to your happiness, productivity and lifestyle choices.

While tidying, she encourages you to visualise your new organised life and the good feeling that come with it — to be more joyful and less anxious, for example — and what you need to get there.

Anything that won’t help on that journey isn’t deserving of your space or you.

The main KonMari tip for your home design is to know the difference between sentimental and nostalgia.

With that, you can wonderfully turn a disorderly sty into a relaxing refuge — one that showcase only most treasured and beloved possessions.

An item that brings you joy will greet you each time you step into your living space.



Marie Kondo brings her organising expertise by implementing the KonMarie method to help people transform their homes into peaceful, inspiring spaces.

The Japanese neatness guru advises that we keep only items that “spark joy” and discard those that don’t.

Through the process of clearing out unwanted items, Kondo goes on to offer specific techniques for organising every area of your home and tips for tasks like how to properly fold clothes.

After going through the KonMari method, perhaps you will find yourself thinking more carefully and consciously about the things you bring into your home — ultimately decreasing the amount of items you purchase, or that have no value in your life.

We spend a lifetime collecting things, it’s important to have patience getting rid of the unnecessary in order to create the calm and peaceful home we all crave.

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