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Sparking Joy – the Marie Kondo effect

Sparking Joy – the Marie Kondo effect

Can tidying ever be enjoyable? Will that pile of clutter ever shrink? Marie Kondo says it can.

By now, most people will be familiar with Marie from her Netflix series ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’. In this eight-part series Marie visits families to help them gain control of their homes by decluttering. Each family is at different life stage such as toddlers, downsizing, empty nesters and expectant parents. The focus is on keeping items that spark joy, rather than focusing on getting rid of junk.

Her tidying process consists of tidying by five categories, which must be followed in order; clothing, books, papers, ‘komono’ (miscellaneous) and sentimental items. Sentimental items are last because by that point of the process, you’ll will have a clearer idea of what sparks joy and what you want to keep and take into your future. Doing it by category rather than room ensures that there’s an end to process, though it can take some commitment as it can take weeks rather than days. It’s shocking the amount of stuff that people can accumulate over the years. 

After binge watching the series, my chest of drawers, bookshelves and cupboards were satisfyingly neater, lighter and clutter free. I counted five bags of charity shop donations, which I dropped off at the local St Barnabas Hospice distribution centre during the school run.  Charity shops in the UK noticed an increase in donations during January and Marie Kondo is listed as a contributing factor. Isn’t that amazing?

I still have a way to go with finishing the process as having two young energetic kids means I’m usually down Worthing beach or walking the South Downs instead of decluttering, but the principle of keeping what sparks joys is helpful in everyday life. It really helps keep the tat levels down and makes me think about our impact on the environment and sustainability.