Marie Kondo’s New Book ‘Spark Joy’ Introduces Japanese Art Of Tidying To The World

Marie Kondo has become a household name in the world of decluttering. Her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was published in the U.S. in 2014 and has sold 1.5 million copies. Over 4 million copies have been sold worldwide. The Washington Post reports that a sequel to Kondo’s first successful book will be published this coming week in the U.S.

Called Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, the book is a more detailed instruction in Marie Kondo’s “methodical program.” The idea behind the program? To purge anything that doesn’t spark joy in one’s life. Included in the book are illustrations for folding clothing, such as t-shirts.

Why are Marie Kondo’s first book, and her method, so successful in the U.S.? In an interview held in her office in Tokyo, Kondo said it’s because people in the U.S. live in big houses and tend to have too many things.

“In America, people live in big houses, but they tend to have too many things, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are happy. So that’s another reason I think my book translates.”

In addition to decluttering the personal environment, Marie Kondo brings the focus to decluttering the mind. This “mindfulness” has caught on around the world.

“I think one of the reasons it’s been so popular is because I talk not only about physical decluttering but also about decluttering your mind, too. My method of decluttering reveals what’s most important in your life. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re in Japan or overseas, this method shows clearly what’s important to you.”

Spark Joy is about tidying every part of the home, every nook and cranny, such as the closet. The Bazaar reports that Marie Kondo has a method for organizing a walk-in closet that makes it shine. One of Kondo’s clients used one corner of her closet to display her wedding memorabilia because she wanted to enjoy them, but did not want to display them out in the open.

“I would have felt a bit embarrassed to display these things where everyone could see them. Now, I just have to open my closet door to bring back that same feeling of joy I had on my wedding day.”

Marie Kondo even has a perfect way to fold and organize an underwear drawer. In Kondo’s system, every single item is accounted for, folded, and stored properly.

How did this 30-year-old woman organize her way to such great success? The New Yorker reports that she spent much of her childhood thinking about tidying and she worked in a Shinto shrine as a teenager. By the time Marie Kondo was in her mid-twenties, she had a very successful consulting business and too many clients to keep up with. She obliged them when they asked her to write a book about her method of organization and tidying. Sunmark, Kondo’s publisher, says she is tapping into a cultural philosophy of living.

“In Japan more than anywhere else, tidiness is less a virtue than a philosophy of living.”

However, Japanese author and photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki feels Marie Kondo is helping the Japanese people clean up after the bubble burst.

“She is a successor of the long tradition of ‘art of discarding’ starting around the 1990s. It looks to me that mood arose after the Japanese bubble economy’s crash. Until then, we were educated to buy more and more.”

Whatever Marie Kondo is doing, she is clearly successfully organized.

[Photo by Shutterstock]