Decluttering to “Spark Joy”

Posted by kathy stanton on

Why do we hang on to things instead of giving them away even when they no longer serve a purpose in our lives? Is it just that we don’t want to take the time to organize or is it something else?

Some things are sentimental. I’ll always keep the tiny onesie that we brought my son home in from the hospital. My wedding dress, on the other hand, which I thought I'd have forever, I donated after 10 years. These decisions are very personal, you don't have to give away anything you don't want to, but if you're thinking about it there are online resources that can help. (See links at the end)

Other clothes in my wardrobe have less significance, but I’ve kept them because I’m sure they’ll come back in style, or because I only wore it once and need to get more wear out of it, or maybe because it's somehow special to me.  Most of these items last only a few years and then in a cleaning frenzy moment they go into a big bag and off to the local charity thrift store.

Today there's help for decluttering in a more organized and thoughtful way; the Konmari Method is hugely popular and for good reason. Almost everyone has heard of Marie Kondo, the adorable Japanese “Tidying Expert” that has been featured in practically every magazine and talk show.  She’s famously said that you should get rid of everything that doesn’t “spark joy” in your life. When I first heard that I thought it sounded excessive and I didn’t understand how she could recommend such a radical concept, so I looked around a bit to find out more about her and her famous method.

Apparently, Marie Kondo was tidying up, folding and organizing even as a small child; tidying is her life long passion. In college, she was known as an organizational genius, which she turned into a successful business after graduating. As her consulting business grew she’d met so many people needing her help that in 2010 she published a book titled THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP.  It was in March of 2011 however that her book took on new importance.

A catastrophic earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan. People were suddenly forced to come to terms with what they had lost. Kondo’s book helped people reflect and ask themselves “what is important in our lives. What is the true value of our sentimental items”. Before the tragedy, Kondo was doing regular TV interviews only in Japan but she was on the verge of becoming an international self-help superstar.

You’ll find plenty of information about the Konmari Method online or can find her books in your local bookstore. Her new Netflix show, TIDYING UP WITH MARIE KONDO is a surprisingly inspiring and an often emotional JOY to watch.


I definitely recommend watching the show for inspiration, but the basic idea is that everything in your home falls into 5 categories: Clothing, Books, Paper, Komono (miscellaneous) and Sentimental. I’d like to say that the method is easy, you simply divide and conquer, but it’s not that easy because you have to take the time and make the commitment. The one thing that seems pretty clear is that it may take more than one pass, but each time it gets easier, and I find that very encouraging.


Whatever your house, closets and cupboards look like, you’re sure to enjoy her show emphasizing minimalism through mindfulness. Chances are it will inspire you to reassess a few “important” items of your own.  

You can see Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix

Check out Home Storage Solutions blog for great Donation Tips:

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