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Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying - Book Review

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by KJ (subscribe)
Published August 24th 2016
More tips and advice from de-cluttering expert, Marie Kondo


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.



Following the introduction, the book lists Marie's six rules of tidying:



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.

Spark Joy, Marie Kondo, An Illustrated guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, right order of tidying, Konmari
"In 'The Six Rules of Tidying', Marie explains the right order of tidying


The book is then split into three parts, with the following chapters:

Part I KonMari Master Tips
1. Honing your sensitivity to joy
2. How to fill your home with joy
3. Everything you need to know about storing joyfully

Part II The Tidying Encyclopaedia
4. Tidying Clothes
5. Tidying Books
6. Tidying Papers
7. Tidying Komono
8. Tidying Sentimental Items

Part III Life-changing Magic
9. A home that sparks joy
10. The changes that come when you're done

Epilogue
Afterword: Preparing for the next stage of your life
Acknowledgements
Index

Spark Joy, Marie Kondo, An Illustrated guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, a home that sparks joy
From the chapter, 'A Home that Sparks Joy'


The illustrations are a fantastic addition, as it's sometimes easier to "see" how to do things such as folding, as opposed to just reading instructions.

Spark Joy, Marie Kondo, An Illustrated guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, Basic folding method
An illustration showing the basic folding method


Spark Joy, Marie Kondo, An Illustrated guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, How to fold dresses
One of the illustrations in the book


Spark Joy, Marie Kondo, An Illustrated guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, How to fold shirts
An illustration showing how to fold shirts using the KonMari method


Spark Joy, Marie Kondo, An Illustrated guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, How to fold trousers, how to fold shorts
The KonMari method of folding trousers and shorts


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:



Overall, it's a great book and recommended for those who enjoyed the first book but may have had questions and/or are seeking more detailed explanations about Marie's approach.

I'd also recommend it to people who are considering buying the first book, but would prefer a book that contains illustrations and diagrams to accompany instructions.

Spark Joy, Marie Kondo, An Illustrated guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, Back cover, book
The back cover of the book
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Why? To get some more great advice and tips from de-cluttering expert, Marie Kondo
When: Any time
Where: Anwhere
Cost: RRP is $35.00, however, at the time of publishing this review it is listed on various online bookstores for between $18 to $25
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