More life-changing magic
Japanese organizing expert Marie Kondo has become a bona fide international phenomenon, selling two million copies of her first book and releasing a highly anticipated follow-up just in time for those hoping to make a clean sweep in the new year.
A celebrity in her native Japan, the soft-spoken but determined Kondo is obsessive about “tidying up,” which means keeping your home and personal possessions in order, from clothes and books to papers and personal mementos. The key to her organizational system is to save only those items that “spark joy,” and give away or discard the rest.
Author photo © Natsuno Ichigo
Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has caused something of a sensation not only in Japan, but in the United States and Europe as well. Converts to Kondo’s cleanliness regimen sing her praises on social media, and a video in which she demonstrates her method for folding underwear has garnered more than a million views on YouTube. Who knew that folding clothes could generate that kind of excitement?
Kondo wins over skeptics—and those who’ve tried and failed with other organizing systems—by presenting her plan in straightforward, logical steps that leave absolutely no wiggle room for clutter. Tidying is done by category: Take shoes, for example. Gather every pair of shoes you own; inspect each pair and keep only the shoes that bring you joy; and finally, organize the remaining pairs in your closet so that you can easily see and reach each one.
Whether you’ve already experienced the magic of Kondo’s methods or you’re a neophyte in the realm of neatly curated shoes and underwear, you’ll want to check out her latest offering, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. Here, Kondo provides more details, tips and diagrams to help you put her tidying plan into action.
Her precise folding techniques (“like origami”) will have the clothes in your once-messy dresser drawers lined up like orderly rows of soldiers, ready to march out and do their duty—which is to bring joy to their owners. This new volume also includes a “tidying encyclopedia,” with Kondo’s authoritative instructions on everything from packing a suitcase neatly to dealing with mementos from past lovers (hint: get rid of them).
And here’s what could be the best news of all: “If you’re terrible at tidying, you’ll experience the most dramatic change,” Kondo says. That’s right, the messiest among us (and we’re not naming names) stand to gain the most from implementing her system for tidying up. And that’s a clean sweep we can all applaud.
This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.