Book Review: Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Book Review: Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Image source: Marie Kondo

Upon reading the opening chapter of de-clutter queen Kondo’s new book you would be forgiven for thinking you knew it all already. The book opens by top lining the main advice from her international best seller, ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’.

However, it quickly becomes apparent that ‘Spark Joy’ goes a lot deeper, with in-depth descriptions and diagrams (often with cute signature bunny) explaining exactly how to transform your home into a clutter free, zen-like space.

Spark Joy 1
Image source: Juju Sprinkles

The bulk of the book follows her signature no-holds-barred de-cluttering method (explained in more detail here), to be performed strictly in this order:

1. Clothes
2. Books
3. Papers
4. Komono (stuff)
5. Sentimental items

Questions that were largely unanswered in the first book are given attention here – such as how to find enjoyment in a mundane item like a screwdriver. Not the most obvious item to ‘Spark Joy’, Kondo explains that fascination, excitement and attraction are not the only indications of joy.

A simple design, high degree of functionality, and sometimes just being of use in our daily lives can also spark joy. This is when it gets a little weird – she suggests letting the item know that although it may not spark joy, you do need and appreciate it.

She suggests something like this; ‘Look at you slip, you’re the best! Jet black and smooth as satin, you compliment the line of my dress without ever stealing the show. What charming grace and elegance’.

We hope the neighbours don’t see us talking to our underwear…

Kondo suggests the phrase ‘just in case’ be banned as there are very few items that can’t be substituted by something already in the home if need be.

She tells the story of an old flower vase she threw away and needed again a few weeks later. Instead of mourning the loss of the old vase she found a plastic water bottle, chopped off the top and wrapped some colourful fabric around it. Probably best leave this one for the crafty types.

Spark Joy 2
Image source: Juju Sprinkles

Finding new uses for old items was another useful addition to the method. If an item sparks joy but is no longer needed in its current role, she suggests finding a new use for it e.g. tying a pretty hairband around the neck of a hanger to add a little sparkle and make you smile when you’re routing through your (VERY TIDY) wardrobe.

Our favourite tip was on how to deal with throwing away old teddies and stuffed animals. She admits this part of the process was most difficult when first putting her method into practice.

Her childhood stuffed Chow Chow dog gave her those puppy dog eyes when she was considering him for the bin. The solution? Put a piece of paper over his eyes – once hidden, Chow Chow looked more like an objects and so is easier to part with!

If Little Ted is giving you the eye and you can’t bear (no pun intended, honest) to say goodbye forever, pack him up with his chums and send him to Shurgard. Safe, secure and easy to access you can store teddies, vases, tennis rackets and anything else you’re not quite ready to bin forever.

Sssssssh just don’t tell Marie Kondo.

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