Sunday, August 14, 2016
“Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class On The Art Of Organizing And Tidying Up”
Books for getting organized continue to find an audience, and I’ve read many of them myself (though just where those books are I haven’t a clue). For Tokyo-based Marie Kondo, much of the advice those books offer is misplaced. Instead of focusing on cleaning room by room, and inducing guilt if you keep something, she has created the “KonMari method.”
On the heels of her bestseller, “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up,” Kondo’s new book is really an encyclopedia of how to handle the various categories of stuff in one’s life, from how to fold turtlenecks and what to do with old greeting cards and stuffed toys, to “storing books attractively” and “putting memories of past lovers in order.”
“Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class On The Art Of Organizing And Tidying Up” ($18.99 in hardcover from Ten Speed Press; also for Amazon Kindle) begins with the six rules of tidying.
First, be committed; then imagine the kind of life you want to live (so tidying has a goal); “finish discarding first” (otherwise you won’t know how much room you’ll need); tidy by category, not room; follow the right order: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellaneous stuff) and sentimental items; and, finally, “ask yourself if it sparks joy.”
That last is the key. Touch each item, “holding it firmly in both hands as if communing with it. Pay close attention to how your body responds when you do this. When something sparks joy, you should feel a little thrill, as if the cells in your body are slowly rising. … Remember that you are not choosing what to discard but rather what to keep.”
Even that lowly screwdriver in your junk drawer can spark joy once you recall all the scrapes it’s gotten you out of.
Tidying up is very different from cleaning. “Tidying,” Kondo writes, “is the act of confronting yourself; cleaning is the act of confronting nature. … You could say that tidying orders the mind while cleaning purifies it.” Tidy first—go on a tidying marathon, she suggests—and where you live will spark joy. Then keep it clean.