The Magic of Tidying Up – Does it Spark Joy?

Tidying Up-Marie KondoPart 3 of 4*

Does It Spark Joy?

This is the third in a series of four articles that chronicles my experiences and impressions of Marie Kondo’s hugely popular book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpTo catch up and read the previous posts, click the active links at the bottom of this page.

Even if you haven’t read Kondo’s book, you may find my remarks helpful in your journey.

When I first read the section in the book where Kondo invites you to hold each item in your hand and ask if it sparks joy, I immediately started scanning the room I was in at the time: my living room. My eyes landed on the cluster of mirrors on the wall that have hung there for nearly twenty years.

The Experience

I could tell right away without even holding them that they no longer sparked joy. I put the book down and started taking the smaller ones out, and moving the larger ones around. I immediately felt a sense of sparkly possibility, more space, more breathing room.

After about twenty minutes of mirror musical chairs, I liked the feeling of having fewer objects on the wall.

Same mirrors. Less of them. New placement. That whole room now sparkles with joy!

Intuitive Adjustment

“Does it spark joy?” is one of the best tools in Kondo’s toolkit. Love-love-love it!

That said, if I had adopted her discarding technique, as she suggests we do with anything that doesn’t spark joy, it’s possible that I would have thrown out all the mirrors and never known that they still could make my heart sing.

“Folding In” The Spacious Way

Sometimes things can spark joy when we move them around. You need to use your intuition with this one. Before you discard an item you have loved in your life, I would suggest you place it somewhere else, or weed out what’s around it, and see if the joy is still there: i.e. it lights you up.

If not, definitely discard it with love and gratitude for what the object has meant to you and move on.

Up nextPart 4: Tidy All at Once or Bit by Bit?

Care to weigh in?

What are you experiences of the KonMari method? Tell us in the comment thread. We welcome your thoughts!

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Tidying Up-Marie Kondo*Part 3 of 4

This is the third in a series of four articles that chronicles my experiences and impressions of Marie Kondo’s hugely popular book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. To catch up and read the previous post, click the active link here:

  1. Taming the Clothes
  2. Taming Paper Clutter
  3. Does it Spark Joy?
  4. Tidy All at Once or Bit by Bit?






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Showing 3 comments
  • Sherry

    I caught something online about Marie Kondo’s very popular book and read the Amazon brief exposure, sensing that it may be helpful, yet leaning more toward your 5-S method, especially when it comes to the Does it Spark Joy? question. In conversation with my neice, who had either read online material or parts of the book, we talked about this question. Years ago, I became the somewhat reluctant owner of my mother-in-law’s bowl (did not Spark Joy! at the time). In recent history, it has become one of my most favorite dishes in the kitchen and definitely does Now Spark Joy! I am grateful to have listened to intuition or however life conspired to help me retain and come to appreciate/love/experience joy in the presence and use of this possession! I am, for the most part, now a very slow-drip healer – many past traumas, PTSD, etc. It’s been a lifelong journey away from control/perfection toward self-healing, self-nurturing and letting go! Thanks so much for these sharings – very helpful (think I’ll try some of Marie’s tools with intuitive license)!

  • Susan Fay

    I just finished Kondo’s book earlier this week, and am so delighted to hear Stephanie’s balanced responses to Kondo’s book, principles and methods. I am surprised at the huge popularity of the book because I feel it makes unlikely promises and claims: especially regarding how, if you de-clutter your home in ‘one shot’ (which, I could swear I remember reading that this ‘one shot’ could take up to 6 months), you will NEVER backslide into clutter again. And a further claim: none of her clients has ever backslid. This I find VERY hard to believe.

    However, the severity of her aspiration to keep only a few dearly loved possessions is helpful as it has launched me over to a new angle on discerning whether to chuck or keep. Kondo dwells so deeply in the land of prizing the benefits that come from significantly reducing items and opening up space. Through her I began to experience vicariously a glimpse of how having a space in which my heart soars happily and is not snagged on piled up disorder might well be worth not having some random things on hand in the future. So though many of her methods are spotty and seem difficult to apply to the American lifestyle, especially family life, I am fired up to cleanse my home and my energy! I will use Stephanie’s more balanced and realistic methods to do so, though. 🙂

  • Shellie

    This was definitely the seller for me. Keep what sparks joy only, but I agree it is hard to do as quickly as her methods seems to espouse. Some stuff needs more consideration, but then you have to be sure you don’t rationalize keeping things that really are not bringing you joy. I just love the idea of only having things that bring you joy, I have found this makes life so much happier and freer.