When it comes to de-cluttering, Marie Kondo is one of the most well-known experts on the topic. Her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying became an international best-seller and had people all over the world discussing folding methods and sharing photos of their room make-overs.
While the book received a very positive reception, a lot of readers had questions about her methods. In Marie's follow-up book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, she addresses all of these questions including:
"I don't know what 'joy' feels like. How can I work out what sparks joy?"
"What should I do about the things that I need even though they don't spark joy?"
"My Husband/Wife's stuff is driving me crazy. What can I do?"
As Marie explains, this book can be used in conjunction with the first book, or can be used on it's own.
This section will be familiar to those who have read the first book. It discusses how important it is to discard items before tidying (instead of simply storing them away). It also mentions Marie's method of tidying by category, not location (eg. all books are gathered up from every room and put together and then sorted).
Marie also lists the correct order for tidying, starting with clothes and working through to perhaps the most difficult category - sentimental items.
"In 'The Six Rules of Tidying', Marie explains the right order of tidying
As with Marie's first book, some readers will find her approach quite ruthless. She doesn't believe it's necessary to hang onto things "just in case" or because they "might come in handy", and states that "If it really doesn't spark joy, go ahead and discard it!" (p. 19).
I know some people who prefer to hang onto items as they're on a strict budget and can't afford to replace the item if they ever need it; others I know have a 20/20 rule (If it can be replaced in 20 minutes for under $20, then it can be discarded).
However, Marie is also quite firm in the belief that it's important to hang onto things that spark joy, even if you never use them. She suggests trying to work out if there's a way that these items can be used or put on display.
Marie also discusses how it's important for all family members to have their own space for their possessions, and that acceptance is important if you are living with others: