Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up | Book Review

Spark Joy - full imageTidying up is hard! It can be difficult to let go of things you own, and perhaps even more difficult to organize the things you choose to keep. In Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, Marie Kondo offers practical, easy-to-follow tips for organizing and tidying your space.

Spark Joy has a different vibe than Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which offered many personal anecdotes about Kondo’s childhood as well as stories about her clients’ struggles to tidy their spaces. In this work, Kondo spends more time discussing the finer details of tidying: how to organize dishware, how to fold clothing, how to purge mementos, etc. Illustrations in Spark Joy provide guidance for those who want to see exactly how Kondo folds, pastes, pins, and hangs things.

Having read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up only a few months ago, I decided to listen to the audiobook of Spark Joy as a way to keep the ball rolling. And I’m glad I did. Just listening to the spirited and positive language of Marie Kondo’s writing, enhanced by the voice of Sumalee Montano, reminded me of one of the reasons I committed to a life of minimalism and tidying in the first place—because I want to reduce the amount of goods that I consume and to live in a home that is joyful, peaceful, and free of clutter.

What was missing from this book was a broader discussion of recycling, reusing, and selling goods that are no longer wanted. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much discussion about these topics in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up either. But for economic and ecological reasons, I wish Kondo would venture into these areas. I also think that I preferred the style of the first book: the illustrations were helpful (and easily accessible via a Google search), but the stories about Kondo’s clients left me enthusiastic and motivated—and I wanted more of this material!

Other reviews that I’ve read suggest that Kondo’s method is too limited, a one-size-fits-all solution that simply might not work for many people. This critique is apt. Deciding how to approach tidying and decluttering should be a very personal decision, made with care within the context of your own home. But I think Kondo’s books may help readers to reflect on what strategies work best for them. So you might not have your personal tidying style down to an exact science when you finish the book, but you are likely to be in the mood to begin purging something!

Best of luck with organizing and tidying up.

A.

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