Friday 29 April 2016

My Marie Kondo approach and sparking joy

"Discarding is not the point; what matters is keeping those things that bring you joy." - Marie Kondo, Spark Joy

Marie Kondo and sparking joy in my home

I've written a little bit before about Marie Kondo and the Life Changing Magic of Tidying and what an effect it had on me, and having recently purchased her latest book Spark Joy (affiliate link) I thought I'd write a bit of an update. I do declutter quite regularly so to be honest I never felt the need to do her complete tidying as my clothes and books are quite well under control, but I have been fascinated by her philosophy and found it very helpful when it comes to streamlining my possessions.

Kondo's second book Spark Joy is advertised as being 'An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying', and from the title I'd sort of been expecting a more visual book, perhaps with some photographs, so I wasn't really sure whether it would work as a Kindle book. It turns out that the illustrations are  just a few simple line drawings and so it's fine to read on a Kindle. The book does repeat a lot of information from the first book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (affiliate link), but it goes into a lot more detail, and for me the biggest thing that I took from Spark Joy was the emphasis on how to make the most of the possessions that you have chosen to keep.

"If you think that tidying up just means getting rid of clutter, you're wrong. Always keep in mind that the true purpose is to find and keep the things you truly love, to display these proudly in your home, and to live a joyful life." - Marie Kondo, Spark Joy

Marie Kondo describes four ways to use items that spark joy for decorating your home - placing them on something (for example a necklace on a stuffed animal), hanging them (like keychains), pinning or sticking them up (like postcards) or using them as wraps or covers (like scraps of cloth). Then everywhere you look you will see something that you love.

Over the last few weeks I've been going through my things again and following some of the advice in the book. For example I started with my photographs, which I thought were pretty well sorted. But I ended up going through them three times over the course of a week, discarding more and more each time, until I had reduced by almost a half. Those I got rid of were duplicates, blurry photos, random landscapes and unflattering ones of me!

Putting favourite photos in an album

I moved a big stack of Ram's photos into his own memory box (I don't need photos from his drunken holidays among my joy sparking photographs!) and I pulled out about 90 of my very favourite photos to store in an album by my desk that I can flip through whenever I want. They are all photographs that I remember being taken, mostly of family but also of friends throughout the years, special photos with a meaning behind them. This is the album that I bought - Small Shabby Chic Pink Floral Photo Album (affiliate link). I also updated the photos in some of the frames that I had on my bookshelves and moved them to the shelves by my desk so I can see them more often.

I then invested in a new photo storage box (affiliate link) to replace the old plastic box for the rest of my photos, which are also nice to browse through.

Next I moved on to my postcard collection, which were all stored in another huge box. I've always collected postcards, mainly the free ones that you can pick up at the cinema, but some that I'd bought on holiday. At university I used to blu tack them to the walls of my various student accommodations so I thought that they were quite meaningful, but to my surprise I found that most of them didn't spark joy at all, I put so many into the recycling.

Then I treated myself to a hanging postcard display (affiliate link) which holds 40 postcards and is reversible to display 20 at a time. I easily picked out my favourite forty and the hanger is now on the back of the utility room door, tucked out of the way yet where I still see it several times a day. I will swap the postcards from time to time, and I also have a big collection of Ladybird postcards which I'd like to put out on display. Much better than crammed tightly in an ugly storage box and never looked at!

I also stuck a few postcards around my computer monitor so that I can see them while I'm working. I realised that although I aspire to a minimalist look I do also like having lots of neatly organised and pretty "clutter" around!

Postcards in a display

I sorted through my bookshelf too. I wrote about my bookshelves a few years ago, and I've downsized massively since then, I only have one big bookcase now and my smaller fiction bookcase. I still found a few books to pass on, and I rearranged the shelves a bit as well. Only keeping the books that spark joy is something that you somehow don't notice until it's done, and now I can sit and look at my bookshelves and they make me feel happy.

My bookshelves sparking joy

I also moved out some little ornaments that I had there that were crammed in and getting a bit lost. I pulled them out and put them in the melted Hama bead tray above my desk where I can see them (and they are easier to dust!)

Small collection of knick knacks in a tray

I'm really enjoying going through some of my favourite things and putting them on display so that I can enjoy them instead of having them stuffed in boxes.

Are you a Konvert? I'd love to hear your experiences!

If you enjoyed this post you might also like my blog post with some recommendations for organising and decluttering books that I've enjoyed.


  1. I absolutely LOVE the Marie Kondo method of tidying up, I'm currently working my way through my house trying to declutter the whole lot, but it's so time consuming! I didn't realise she had a second book - I'll have to check it out.

    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches Travel & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Hello! Reading this with lots of interest, I am in a process of sorting out, I always thought the book was about emotionally letting go of stuff, which I don't have an issue with, but reading this I see it is about letting stuff create joy and I like the sound of that! I posted a really silly thing about the book on my facebook recently - will try and tag you in! Sorry to get back to you so late this week, travelling took its toll on me - thanks for joining #happyandhome - pinning, tweeting and fb now - what a useful post!

  3. What a great way to display postcards. And I think clearing stuff out is therapeutic, I've not got into Marie K's way but it really is the time of year for a clearout isn't it? #happyandhome


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