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


sparkLawdy! I received Spark Joy book in the January PopSugar Must Have Box and was mildly excited to read it. The purpose is supposedly to teach you how to organize your home and surround yourself with only those things you truly love. Or, as she puts it, that spark joy. I’m certainly a cluttery person and I am mildly interested in being less cluttery. So I gave this thing a shot. Turns out it was much more ridiculous than I thought it would be.

The first thing I should say is that this is a follow-up to her previous book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingAs I was reading it, I thought that perhaps one of the reasons I found it so ridiculous is because I hadn’t read the book it was following. However, after finishing it and reading some reviews from folks who’ve read both, I don’t think that’s the case. Many of them were unhappy that this book is essentially identical to the first one with the addition of pictures. It doesn’t look like there’s much in that first book that I missed so I don’t feel it’s just a case of me being lost in this Magic / Joy Sparking situation.

The next thing I should say is that this book is silly. The majority of the book is about how we should stop surrounding ourselves with things that don’t bring us joy. Sure, of course, okay. Ideally, I’d like to not have junk around. But she never did quite convince me that getting rid of 100% of the things in my house that don’t bring me joy is a reasonable thing to do.

She was certainly generally ridiculous but she was also specifically ridiculous. Like the part where she discusses the fallout after throwing away a screwdriver that didn’t bring her joy.

And then there was my screwdriver. After throwing it away, I tried to use a ruler to tighten a loose screw, but it snapped down the middle. That almost reduced me to tears as it was one I really liked.

Rulers bring her joy. Screwdrivers, not so much. Got it.

She also wants you to talk to your belongings and “shower them with praise.” She gives this example of something you might say to a slip:

Hey! Look at you, slip. You’re the best! Jet black and smooth as satin, you complement the line of my dress without ever stealing the show. What charming grace and elegance. Way to go! 

I suppose I could see why someone would find this book useful but I have the sneaking suspicion that most people who would go to all the trouble she suggests her readers go to (for example, you’re supposed to gather every piece of clothing you have, put them in a huge pile, and hold each piece to your heart and determine if you physically feel joy when you see it – then if you do you get to follow some super complicated instructions to make sure everything is folded in a way that it can stand up) is a person who is already pretty organized. In short, this is some next-level shit and I don’t think a person who’s mildly interested in getting more organized would feel particularly motivated by it.

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