7 New Things I Learned About Tidying From Marie Kondo’s Show “Sparking Joy”
Before starting at Apartment Therapy, I hadn’t read Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” But all of that changed when “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” hit Netflix in 2019, and suddenly the magic of tidying was all I could think about. My head was filled with the KonMari Method, how objects could spark joy, and how tidying can truly change your life. And just when I thought I couldn’t possibly learn anything more from the decluttering expert, Kondo dropped her new show “Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo.”
While this new series shares a similar plot of sparking joy through tidying like her first Netflix show, “Sparking Joy” goes beyond the physical home and explores how organizing can help your work, relationships, and community at large. From assisting a father-son duo by transforming their gardening business and ultimately their relationship, to organizing an owner’s coffee shop and volunteer’s church to help their communities, Kondo’s latest endeavor proves that tidying doesn’t only clear out physical items in the home but helps overcome emotional and mental struggles in a larger setting.
While I highly encourage checking out the new series yourself, I watched all three tidying journeys to give you a TL;DR version of the new things I learned:
Don’t limit yourself to only tidying up where you sleep.
In this new series, Kondo goes beyond the home and into businesses and gathering spots in various communities, proving that the magic of tidying can occur wherever “home” is for you. In episode one, Kondo helps out Jimmy and his son Logan organize their gardening business, which is primarily outdoors. As they are about to start tidying, Kondo mentions that she needs to greet their home and does so surrounded by their plants. It was a friendly reminder that greeting your “home” doesn’t just mean the interior — it’s wherever you’re wishing to create hope and happiness.
Host a tidying party with friends and family.
Sifting through old items resurfaces memories that you normally might not recall, and doing this with friends and family creates a bonding experience for everyone involved in that past. For example, when Jimmy and Logan go through items, they stumble across a rose book that Jimmy wants to keep. Logan mentions that while his dad didn’t like most non-edible plants, roses are one that he loves. However, it wasn’t until Jimmy mentions it was because his grandmother loved roses that Logan learns why he felt that way, which turns into an emotional moment.
In the same episode, Jimmy’s daughter and Logan’s sister Porter also comes to help tidy the garden, and it turns out that she hasn’t been there to visit for a long, long time. At the end of the tidying journey, though, Logan admits that he wants to tell his sister that he loves her more, and Porter volunteers to start helping with the family business to spend more time together.
Establish a “power spot” where you can relax.
Through the act of tidying, Kondo expresses that you can create a place filled with items that spark joy to give you the ultimate place to relax, which she also called a “power spot.” In episode two, Kondo helps Joanna, a coffee shop owner who needs help tidying her business and her home — including her office. Kondo quickly realizes that Joanna’s coffee shop is her “power spot,” but she wants to help Joanna create one in her office so it enhances her enjoyment at home. Your power spot doesn’t have to be a full room — it can be anything from a coffee table to a comfortable chair.
Pay attention to how your body feels when going through items.
While this might not necessarily be new information for those who follow Kondo’s methods, it’s good to remember how to identify joy — or a lack thereof — when going through objects to either keep or remove. In addition to the office and coffee shop, Kondo also helps Joanna clear out her personal items and declutter her living spaces. As they are going through her clothing, Kondo explains the process: while your mind might say “oh, someday I might use this at a future event,” your body and heart will tell you something else. Perhaps you feel that ping of excitement that instantly lets you know the item brings you joy, or, if you have to overthink it, that might be a sign that the object no longer has a place in your life.
Use simple tidying steps with your housemates to avoid overcomplicating things.
During episode two, Kondo and her husband Takumi Kawahara go through the practical steps they take to manage their household responsibilities, which applies to anyone who shares a space with someone else. First, sit down together and list tasks that need attention, which ultimately encourages healthy communication. Then, decide whether the tasks are necessary, followed by assigning the tasks to the appropriate person based on strengths. And feel free to write all of this out, too, so you can visualize the problem and clearly see what role each person holds as you work toward a happy home.
Remove tags from items that you’re keeping.
Have you ever purchased a piece of clothing only to misplace it days later with the tags still on, and then you find it years down the road? This is not a unique situation and happens to almost everyone (ahem, me), but Kondo says that when you come across that object again, you need to take the tag off to allow that object to finally become part of the home. While decluttering, Joanna comes across a cute black dress that she immediately knew sparked joy for her, and Kondo quickly realizes it still had a tag on it. Before letting it rejoin the rest of the closet, Kondo says to take off the tags so it’s official that you’re keeping it and is no longer in a limbo.
The same thing happened in episode three to Lori, a mom of three who always focuses on everyone — mainly her family and church community — but always neglects her own needs. While going through her closet, Kondo shares that the moment you take the tag off, the item belongs in that space, almost like you adopted said object into your home.
Follow the “Sparking Joy Light” to organize your clothes
When organizing clothes, it’s important to group like items together (jeans in one section, tops in another, etc.) first, and then within those sections, create what Kondo calls “sparking joy light.” This means, you put all of your light items on the left side, and all of the darker items on the right. This creates a synchronized effect across every category that allows your clothing space to feel harmonious — and it looks gorgeous, too.