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Does Your Stuff Spark Joy?

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If you spend any amount of time on social media, you may have seen a name often pop up on your feed, whether it be in headlines, comments, memes or hashtags, and that name is Karen. And you may have also noticed that, more often than not, that name is not strictly used as someone’s first name, but rather as a pejorative term…


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I can’t pride myself on being incredibly tidy. I don’t like mess, that’s for sure, but I also don’t have a meltdown if something is not in its place for a few hours, so I guess I would say I have a fairly healthy relationship with both mess and tidying up.

Someone who, on the other hand, probably doesn’t have a very healthy relationship with mess is Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing consultant known for her ‘slight’ obsession with tidiness.

Who is Marie Kondo?

Photo by Insider.com

Marie Kondo was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1984 and developed a fascination for organizing when she was just a child. When I say ‘obsession’, I’m not exaggerating, as she herself said “I was obsessed with what I could throw away.”

When she was in school, she reportedly spent her breaks organizing and rearranging the items in the closets or the books on the bookshelves. She was so consumed by this that one day she may have taken it too far:

“One day, I had a kind of nervous breakdown and fainted. I was unconscious for two hours. When I came to, I heard a mysterious voice, like some god of tidying telling me to look at my things more closely. And I realised my mistake: I was only looking for things to throw out. What I should be doing is finding the things I want to keep. Identifying the things that make you happy: that is the work of tidying.” 

The KonMari Method

Marie Kondo’s talent, however, goes beyond simply being able to perfectly fold nearly every clothing item you put in front of her. Thanks to her method (the KonMari method) many people and families have rethought the way they tidy up. 

While we’ve been taught that, in order to declutter our house, we need to organize most of what we have and throw away only what we don’t really need or want, Marie opts for a different approach, as she believes the focus should instead be on keeping only the items that make you happy or, as she says, that ‘spark joy’. 

If you want to give the KonMari method a try, here are the steps you should follow:

  • Gather all of your belongings (one category at a time – clothes, books, kitchen utensils etc.)
  • Select and keep only those items that ‘spark joy’
  • Find a designated place in the house for each item  you are left with and make sure it stays there.

What do you think of this method? Is it too extreme or it’s just what our consumerist society needs?

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