Spark Joy by Marie Kondo — Book Review and Summary

Spark Joy is The follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, from the star of the hit Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo has revolutionized homes–and lives–across the world. Now, Kondo presents an illustrated guide to her acclaimed KonMari Method, with step-by-step folding illustrations

3.88 (23,598 ratings by Goodreads)



A little bit about the author:

Tidying expert and consultant Marie Kondo wrote the New York Times bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I actually follow her on Instagram and I’m a bit fan of her new Netflix series, Tidying Up. You should give it a shot.

You could also take a look at her website KonMari.

Kondo writes with elegant minimalism and brevity, even when presenting her more incongruous ideas – such as that once you’ve read a book you should get rid of it, or that you should address your screwdrivers aloud and thank them for their service. She presents these notions in the same matter-of-fact manner with which she describes how to fold and roll socks. Her refusal to explain somehow makes these concepts seem almost reasonable.

Spark Joy by — Book Review

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying UpSpark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondō
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

easy to read. kind of fun.
read my full review @…

View all my reviews

Spark Joy — Book Summary

I’ve just subscribed to Netflix after I switched to unlimited internet postpaid package, and her show is actually the first video I’ve watched. I was so impressed that I’ve got 2 of her books and I think she had quite a few.

Her “KonMari” method of tidying is a spiritual more than a practical quest. The main reason is that she thanked her cloth while folding them up. It seems odd for me, but it does make sense really. Good way to feel and practice gratitude. Easy way to be happy and experience joy.

In this sequel, the decluttering guru provides a detailed, illustrated guide to help you navigate every step of your tidying journey. Once you complete her process, Kondo promises, you’ll like yourself more, acquire a deeper appreciation for your possessions, attain inner peace and even put your love life in order.

The attraction of unburdening yourself of excess and curating a home that’s a sanctuary filled with things you love is easy to understand. However, this all-or-nothing approach is not for the faint of heart; it requires a major commitment as you could watch on her show.

Kondo assures followers that once you complete it, the transformation is permanent: She boasts of a “zero rebound rate.” Perhaps having too much stuff is a rich-people problem, but decades of unrestrained consumerism affect people of every income. 

And I for one, would love to try this at home.

Here are the major insights and lessons:

1. The “KonMari tidying method” brings joy and order to your life.

She teaches that a tidy home is a safe haven filled with things that “spark joy.” She assures readers that the only skills you need to tidy up are the ability to recognize and keep the things that spark joy and a system for storage. The KonMari tidying approach is a once-in-a-lifetime decluttering that permanently, says Kondo, ends clutter, provides a deeper understanding of your values and triggers renewed appreciation for your possessions.


2. The KonMari method follows six rules.

The six rules are:

  1. Commit to reducing clutter.
  2. Picture your “ideal lifestyle.”
  3. Throw away, and then clean.
  4. Work “by category, not location.”
  5. “Follow the right order.”
  6. “Ask if it sparks joy.”

Hold each item, tune in to how your body responds and recognize the tingling that indicates joy.

Decide what to dispose of and what to keep.

3. Learn to discern what sparks joy and what to let go.

Kondo suggests comparing one item with another, using the “top three” joy-ranking process. Put everything in a category in a big pile and give yourself three minutes to choose your top three. If you can’t decide what to do with something, don’t set it aside to think about later. Either throw it out or keep it. When you decide to keep something, release your guilt and treat it as if it’s precious.

The more you polish your sense of joy, the faster you’ll become at making choices. Instead of holding on to something because “it might come in handy,” let it go. Items that make life easier, like long winter underwear or screwdrivers, fulfil a purpose and provide joy. Acknowledge how they improve your life by complimenting them.

Praise a screwdriver, for example, by saying, “Dear old screwdriver, without you I couldn’t have put together this bookshelf.” While it sounds silly, Kondo sincerely finds that this practice fosters an appreciation of utilitarian items that bring you joy.


4. After sorting, consider storage.

No matter how much clutter fills your home, the amount is finite. The job of tidying will come to an end, so don’t stop. Through trial and error, Kondo found that saving the task of storing things for later is essential. Store after you’ve completed sorting.

Once you know how much you’re keeping, consider your storage options. Use three broad categories: “cloth, paper and electric.”

The four tenets of storage are:

  1. Fold it,
  2. Stand it upright,
  3. Store it in one spot and
  4. Divide your storage space into square compartments.

Place things in drawers until the drawers are 90% full. Fold anything foldable such as clothing or plastic bags. Stand it on edge upright in a drawer, and store items from the same category together. Fill built-in storage spaces first, starting with large items. As with much of her advice, here Kondo seems to assume that everyone possesses sufficient storage space to apply her methods precisely as she writes them. And while her advice doesn’t often seem flexible, you’ll probably find that you can adapt her suggestions to the storage space you have.

5. Add joy to your home by displaying beloved objects and adding colour.

Once you complete your tidying marathon, your home may look empty. Add joy with splashes of colour and display of items you love. New curtains, pillows or bedspreads work, but flowers are an inexpensive option.

Rather than store cherished possessions, decorate your home with them. Kondo suggests displaying them on a tray or cloth, hanging them, pinning them up, or using them as wrapping or covers.

Designate a “power spot,” a personal space filled with your most valued items. For example, one woman decorated the interior of a closet with her mushroom postcard and trinkets collection. That brought her delight every time she opened the door.


6. Start with clothing, shoes and accessories.

Gather your clothing from every drawer and closet, and place it all in one big pile. Starting with tops, keep those that pass the joy check and discard the rest after thanking them for their service. Kondo provides an illustrated guide to folding. Place the garment flat, fold the edges inward to form a rectangle, fold the rectangle in half and then in thirds.

The goal is to create rectangles to store upright in your drawers. Hang dresses, skirts and garments that don’t fold easily, arranging by length so they rise to the right. Fold, don’t ball, socks, and roll up stockings like a sushi roll. Put panties flat, fold the crotch up to meet the waistband, fold both sides inward and roll-up.

Store underwear in a drawer with the light colours in the front graduating to the darker colours. Treat bras with respect. Arrange them across, fitting one bra into the next. Store shoes on shelves or in their original boxes arranged in your closet.

7. Sort and organize books and paper.

My library is a mess of pile-up books. So, it can be hard at times to find the one I wanted. Therefore, this particular advise strike me hard.

Kondo’s opinion of books seems naive and quite limited. She asserts that once you’ve experienced a book, it’s outlived its usefulness. Apparently, she has never encountered a book she wants to read more than once, which seems to contradict the life experience of most readers. Kondo suggests that you keep selected books in your personal “hall of fame” because they spark joy. Display books you love standing up rather than stacked.

Paper piles up because one sheet takes up so little room. Try to get rid of every sheet. Tuck papers that require action into a “pending” folder or box. Shred credit card statements, keep warranties in a plastic folder and throw away manuals. Information in a manual is usually available online. Arrange cards and clippings that bring you joy in a scrapbook, and chuck the rest.


8. Divide “komono” miscellaneous items into subcategories to make sorting easier.

Collect everything from a category. Pick which items “spark joy.” “Store by category.” Kitchen komono includes “implements for eating, cooking tools and food.”

Restock cabinets after emptying and sorting storage space. Bathroom komono is made up of face, body, hair and bath items, plus cosmetics. Throw away expired products. Donate extras and duplicates. Decorate bathrooms with candles, flowers and pictures.

9. If you can’t bear to part with something, don’t.

Kondo encourages clients to keep the things they love and use them. Consolidate family videos onto DVDs or a hard drive. Decide how much of your children’s artwork, school papers or report cards you want to keep, and store them nicely or display your favourites. Put letters, articles or ticket stubs in scrapbooks. Spread photos on the floor according to year. Store your favourites in an album. Do this with your family, as you laugh and linger over fond memories. Tidy digital photos by placing the keepers in a new folder and trashing the rest.


10. You can’t force others to tidy.

Kondo learned this lesson the hard way with her own family. If your loved ones’ clutter annoys you, hold one of their things in your hands and imagine how it makes them feel. This is one of the few concessions to other people’s concerns that Kondo makes. She has great faith in her method.

Rating & Should you read the book:

I would rate it @ 8/10 for simplicity and 9/10 for practicality.

Although you could learn as much from her show as to reading her books.



Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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