There’s just one problem with Marie Kondo’s ‘Spark Joy’


Special To The Japan Times

In “Spark Joy” Marie Kondo, the decluttering guru and publishing phenomenon, looks to build on the success of her debut, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by more or less repeating herself. The only noticeable additions are cute illustrations revealing how to fold panties and trunks, pack your suitcase and organize your closet.

Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo
304 pages
Ten Speed Press, Nonfiction.

While the drawings are helpful, and really should been included in the previous book, “Spark Joy” doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Instead, as they say in political circles, Kondo “stays on message.” She treats tidying with the seriousness you would an important job, as if you were to be evaluated and remunerated for it.

The book is a “master class on the art or organizing and tidying up,” and Kondo urges readers to be committed, idealistic, realistic and methodical, to tidy by category and not location, for example. Most importantly, when it comes to discarding she asks that we ask those things stored and hidden in closets, cupboards, book shelves, filing cabinets, drawers, boxes and bags if they spark joy.

“Keep only things that bring joy,” she writes. The rest should be thanked and then discarded.

Kondo’s success and subsequent lionization — Time Magazine included her in its 100 most influential people of 2015 — speaks to our overcluttered lives. Her tone is matronly, her tips are practical and her advice is easy to follow. However, “Spark Joy” raises a conundrum: Now I have two books which say more or less the same thing, which do I discard? Which sparks less joy?

  • Bliss

    They are both good.