Monday, April 25, 2016

"spark joy" by marie kondo

Last Christmas, my sister and I "Kondo'd" my books and movies, following Marie Kondo's method for decluttering. It was so freeing to get rid of things that when I heard Kondo had a second book in the works, I jumped at the opportunity to review it.

Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has revolutionized homes—and lives—across the world. Now, Kondo presents an illustrated guide to her acclaimed KonMari Method, with step-by-step folding illustrations for everything from shirts to socks, plus drawings of perfectly organized drawers and closets. She also provides advice on frequently asked questions, such as whether to keep “necessary” items that may not bring you joy. With guidance on specific categories including kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, hobby goods, and digital photos, this comprehensive companion is sure to spark joy in anyone who wants to simplify their life.

Spark Joy expands on Marie Kondo's method of tidying—going through everything you own (in a prescribed order) and only keeping those things that "spark joy." While I was skeptical at first, this method worked wonderfully last Christmas. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but I got rid of several totes full of books and DVDs, and, because I need less shelf space, I rearranged my living room, and it now feels much homier to me.
My bookshelves before.
My bookshelves after.
Here's the thing: Spark Joy is full of good ideas, and if you take what applies to you and ignore the rest, you'll still get your money's worth ... provided you don't already own The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Spark Joy expands on some of the concepts from Life-Changing Magic, and there are some useful illustrations, though I wish they had been actual pictures instead of sketches. Still, I don't see the need to own both books (keep reading to see which one I'd recommend).

There is a high "kook" factor to Spark Joy—my sister blames it on the clash between East (Kondo is from Japan) and West. I don't know if that's the reason, but I did laugh out loud at some of the things Kondo said. Take, for example, this advice on going through your clothes: "...start with tops because things worn closer to your heart make it easier to judge whether or not you feel joy" (p. 82). Um, okay ...

I especially appreciated the section on tidying paper products and komono, or miscellaneous items. Komono includes things like beauty products, cleaning supplies, medicines, etc.—the things I tend to let build up, even when I'm very careful about keeping my clothes, books, and other items organized.

Overall, I would recommend buying one of Kondo's books—which one is up to you. For me, Spark Joy was more practical than Life-Changing Magic; I didn't care about the philosophy behind Kondo's method as much as I cared about how to do it. I think I'll be referencing Spark Joy many times in the future, as the method really does work; my house is the proof. 3-1/2 stars.

Buy the book.

Marie Kondo is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (also a best seller in Japan, Germany, and the UK) and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015. She is the founder of the KonMari Method.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links on this page are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase a product, I will receive a commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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