Spark Joy


by Marie Kondo
ISBN: 1607749726
Finished 1/25/16
Amazon page for details and reviews


The follow-up to Marie Kondo’s tidying manifesto, Spark Joy illustrates and further explains the tactics for achieving a tidy home and lifestyle. It covers the what, how, and why of the internationally-famous KonMari method. This immensely-useful book will definitely not end up in your discard pile.

Spark Joy begins with an explanation of the KonMari method (what): practically a recap of the first book. The middle section is an encyclopedia demonstrating how to organize each of the five categories (how). This includes drawings showing how to fold many types of clothing, how to arrange closets and kitchenettes, and even how to pack a suitcase. The final portion covers the numerous benefits of a tidy lifestyle (why). Throughout, frequently-asked questions are addressed.

These notes will give you a general sense of specific tactics, but I recommend picking up a copy as you begin your tidying journey. If nothing else, the illustrations demonstrating her folding techniques are invaluable. If you are torn between purchasing this book and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Spark Joy is hands-down the one to get.


“Only when you know how to choose things that spark joy can you choose your ideal lifestyle”

“Taking good care of your things leads to taking good care of yourself”

2 skills to put house in order:
– Keep what sparks joy and chuck the rest
– Decide where to keep each thing and always put it back in its place

If you don’t change your way of thinking, you’ll rebound. Mindset over tactic.

6 basic rules of tidying:
– Commit to tidying up
– Imagine your ideal lifestyle
– Finish discarding first
– Tidy by category, not location
– Follow the right order
– Clothes, books, papers, komono (misc.), sentimental items
– Ask yourself if it sparks joy

Decision process
– Hold item in both hands
– Pay attention to how your body responds
– Thrill vs. heavy feeling
– If discarding, thank the item

Don’t leave tidying up until after moving
– Tidying can help find the perfect home

Tidying is an act of confronting yourself, cleanliness is an act of confronting nature
– Tidying = objects
– Cleaning = dirt
– Cleaning is easy if the space is tidy

Tidying orders the mind while cleaning purifies it

If “sparks joy” criterion is hard to grasp, pick the top 3 things in the pile in 3 minutes

Best way to identify what does or doesn’t bring joy is to compare
– Feelings are clearer

Clothes: tops then bottoms then others (socks, etc.)

“It might come in handy” is taboo
– Although she uses a frying pan as a hammer! Poor frying pan 😔
– She also thinks sound from headphones is adequate to use as stereo speakers
– However, she ended up needing a vacuum and screwdriver

Feelings of fascination, excitement or attraction are not the only indications of joy. Simple designs, high functionality, usefulness, etc. can also indicate joy (e.g. screwdriver and vacuum)

3 reasons for feeling torn about something
– Item once brought joy but has fulfilled its purpose
– Item brings joy but we don’t realize it
– Item is needed whether or not it sparks joy
– Contracts, formal clothes, wallet, etc.
– Shower these things with praise because they make our lives happier

Sometimes a lack of spark represents our inner voices. E.g. work clothes don’t spark joy because job is unfulfilling

Through tidying we come to know ourselves better

Cosplay, dresses, etc. for very special occasions: see if they spark joy by wearing them around the house

Temporary clutter != rebound
– Rebound: Things without designated storage space inundate the home again
– Clutter: Things are not back in the designated place, but they have one
– This is OK, returning to proper space is easy

When you feel like quitting
– Anxiety from not seeing the whole picture
– Start categorizing storage and allocating things
– This gives a break and restores objectivity

Take before and after photos

The amount of stuff you have is always finite

No matter your situation, you can make your home a place that brings joy

All you have to do is start

Discarding is not the point. What matters is keeping the things that bring joy

Important to imagine your ideal lifestyle from the beginning
– Find photo of it from interior decor magazines, furniture store catalogs, etc.
– Do this in one shot, looking at many sources of inspiration at once

Keep gray zone items with confidence
– If you can’t discard, keep without any guilt
– Do not hide them or put in a bag

3 common elements involved in attraction:
– Innate attraction: actual beauty of the object
– Acquired attraction: amount of love poured into it
– Experiential value: amount of history or significance it has acquired

Turn the space into a personal art museum

Add color
– Ideally: curtains, bedspreads, paintings
– Easiest: flowers, potted plants

Set aside items for decoration, and decorate at the end

Make a personal space in your home just for you
– If not a whole room: closet, desk, corner of kitchen

During tidying, storage is temporary

Only when you’ve finished sorting everything can you grasp how much you have and identify the appropriate categories

Boxes are preferred temporary storage: can see all items you have

Store by material
– Main categories: cloth, paper, electric
– Less of a hard rule but keep in mind as an option

Pack drawers like bento boxes

Click point: moment when you realize you have just the right amount of stuff
– Everything needed to feel content

Fill storage to the point it is full but not stuffed
– ~90%
– Leaving extra room for more stuff is a booby trap

Avoid too many dividers, but user for belts, polyester, etc.

4 storage principles:
– Fold it
– Stand it upright
– Store in one spot
– Divide storage space into square compartments

Fold clothes like origami
– No matter the shoe, garments can always be folded into a rectangle

Plan storage to get rid of storage furniture
– Use built-in storage first
– Store large things first

Tidying: Bringing the home closer to its natural state

Hanging clothes:
– Coats, jackets
– Suits
– Men’s dress shirts
– Garments made of fluttery material

Hang so that clothes rise to the right
– Heavier, darker on the left
– Lighter, brighter on the right

Socks: do not bunch. Lay flat and fold together

Don’t roll underwear

Drawers/boxes: Light colors in front, dark behind

Shoe racks: heaviest on bottom

Money should be in wallet
– Wallet should be treated with respect because it enables life

Spare bedlinen can become mildewed if not used often

Kitchen komono
– Easy access is a misunderstanding. Things should be put away.
– In pro kitchens, primary goal is keeping oil, dirt, and water off of surfaces (ease of cleaning)
– Garbage, sponge, soap under sink
– Tidying kitchen first is a sure way to fail
– 3 main categories: eating implements, cooking tools, food
– Remove everything from boxes, incl. special occasion items
– Stack pots and pans inside each other if the materials are durable (stainless, cast iron, etc.). Lids can be vertical.
– Even things used every day should be on a shelf or in a cupboard
– Store seldom-used items in back of cupboard or on top shelf
– Don’t aim for simplicity in the kitchen
– Only aim to see where everything is stored
– Actual volume of things is high compared to available storage space
– Pantry food categories: seasonings, dried foods, dried carbs (rice, pasta, etc.), canned foods, boil-in-the-bag foods, sweets, bread, supplements

Bathroom komono
– Categories: face/body cleansing items, bath items, bathroom cleaning items
– Emphasis on removing labels of toilet-related items

Try to remove textual inputs as much as possible

Tidying sentimental items means putting the past in order

Never send sentimental items to parents’ home

Things you can’t toss: keep with confidence

Observe airflow from entranceway to rest of house
– Make sure nothing obstructs
– Keep entrance as clear as possible

Greatest change that occurs through tidying is that you will learn to like yourself

Tidying is contagious

Relationships with people are reflected in our relationships with things, and vice versa
– Those who haven’t met someone they really like tend to have accumulated a lot of old clothes and papers
– Those in a relationship but feeling ambiguous tend to be careless with things

What really brings joy is sharing daily life

Families: clearly delineate personal space

3 steps of daily tidying:
– Return things to proper place
– Thank them every use
– Take good care of them

Don’t be afraid of failure because you’re not doing it “right”
– Your house won’t blow up
– Step 1: Get rid of assumptions and follow the basic rules of tidying
– Step 2: Adjust finer points to suit your own sense of joy

Those who enjoy their tidying marathon win

Live life in a way that it colors things with memories

Our things form a part of us, and when they’re gone, they leave behind them eternal memories

Japanese people have treated material things with care since ancient times

Spirit that dwells in material things:
– Spirit of materials from which the things are made
– Spirit of the person who made them
– Spirit of the person who uses them