In the recently published “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up,” celebrity organizer Marie Kondo goes into minute detail about all of her decluttering directives.
The book is a follow-up to last year’s global sensation “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Here, Kondo wrote of the many items keeping homes in a state of disarray, clogging everyday life and robbing people of joy. She struck a chord in a chaotic world, and her methods became known as KonMari. The first book initiated a flurry of questions from her tidying disciples about how exactly to achieve minimalist joy.
The new book has detailed recipes for more joyful living through KonMari, with a little bit of feng shui thrown in. She shows how to fold underwear and how to thank items for their service as you shove them into a garbage bag. She says that sorting through her family’s photos was one of the hardest things she has ever done.
Her space-saving approach appeals most to urban dwellers living in tiny apartments. An American family living in the suburbs in a four-bedroom house with a two-car garage (or any family with a crowded attic, basement or storage unit) might have a harder time achieving Kondo’s goal of “once-in-a-lifetime special event of tidying-up.” Ditto anyone who shops in bulk at Costco.
With ultimate respect for Kondo’s goal of beauty, simplicity and perfect closets, here are a few concepts I just can’t get behind:
Cut photographs out of coffee table books. Kondo says that if you only like certain photographs in a beautiful book, it’s okay to snip them out and put them in a clear plastic folder. (Many of us were taught never to cut up a book.) I’m left to assume that I should then toss the mangled book. Hopefully, after looking at the photos at a later time, she writes, you will wonder why on earth you saved them and will eventually toss them, leaving you with no trace of that darned book.
Cover the eyes of your stuffed-animal friends when relegating them to the trash. Some may be hesitant to part with their tubs of Beanie Babies or the teddy bears that once sat in a baby’s nursery. But blindfolding each animal before tossing? “Once their eyes are hidden, stuffed toys and dolls look much more like objects, and that makes it far easier to part with them,” Kondo says.
Obsess over bathroom storage. She admits that keeping the bathroom and all of its accessories tidy is very challenging. Kondo hates tacky labels on things such as deodorizing sprays and toilet cleansers (“loud and ugly,” she writes) and suggests you try to remove them. Good luck with that. I agree that storing toilet paper rolls in a basket or box is a nice idea, but covering them in a cloth is going a bit far.
Spend joyful hours wearing vintage school uniforms. Kondo says that if you are really attached to your school uniform, you should put it on and wallow in the sweet memories of your youth. Then you can hold on to the memories but let the plaid skirt and blazer get stuffed into the donation bag. Meanwhile, there’s one problem: Who can still fit into their clothes from high school?