"Do These Socks Spark Joy?" and Other Decluttering Mantras from Japan's Leading Organizer

"Do These Socks Spark Joy?" and Other Decluttering Mantras from Japan's Leading Organizer

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Nancy Mitchell
Nov 11, 2014

When I clean out my closet, I consider items of clothing to give away and ask myself questions like "do I wear this?" "Will I ever wear this?" But according to Marie Kondo, Japan's leading expert on organizing, I've been doing it all wrong. The question I should be asking is "does this spark joy?"

Kondo's unusual ideas about organizing and decluttering combine a near-reverence for objects with a ruthlessness about throwing them out. I'm intrigued by her methods: although I'm not quite ready to get rid of everything non-joyous in my life (I don't really have any joy-sparking socks, for example, but I still need to wear socks), I can imagine that asking such a question could be just the thing I need to finally consign to the outbox a lot of the things I've been hanging onto guiltily for years. If you're intrigued as well, here are some other tips from Kondo's new book that might help to make you — and your stuff — more happy.

Roll up your shirts and set them upright in your drawers.
Origami isn't just for paper cranes, it turns out. We've heard of rolling up t shirts, but Kondo has a fairly intricate process for rolling up long sleeved shirts as well. The time you spend rolling is a sort of thank-you to your stuff: your shirts work hard for you, and you're giving them a little love back.

Hang anything that looks happier hanging up.

Arrange your clothes by color, with dark, heavy clothes on the left and lighter ones on the right.
“Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type, and therefore organizing them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.”

Throw out all the paper.
Because paper will never spark joy.

Penelope Green, a writer for the New York Times, applied Kondo's methods to her apartment and spent three days in a mad decluttering frenzy. You can see before & after pictures, and read more about Kondo's methods, here.

And you can purchase her book here — just don't forget to thank us when it changes your life.

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