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February 15, 2016
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 9
Kondo is back with more tidying advice in Spark Joy
SPARKING JOY. Marie Kondo, author of the international bestseller,
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has released her latest book,
Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and
Tidying Up. (Photo/Natsuno Ichigo/Ten Speed Press via AP)
By Katherine Roth
The Associated Press
EW YORK — Marie Kondo is back.
Author of the international bestseller The Life-
Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Ten Speed Press,
2014), Kondo became famous for advising readers how to
transform their lives by sifting through their belongings
one by one, embracing those that “spark joy,” and bidding
a fond but hasty farewell to the rest.
Her new book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class
on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up (Ten Speed),
provides illustrations and more detail.
“After I published my first book, a lot of readers came
with a lot of questions,” the petite, soft-spoken Kondo told
The Associated Press, in Japanese, after a presentation to
a packed auditorium at the Japan Society in New York.
Kondo is still communing lovingly with socks and
blouses, folding clothes like origami, and bowing in
gratitude to her home. She also has a fresh perspective as
a new mother.
“My daughter is only six months old, so my method
hasn’t changed ... She cannot make a mess yet. What has
surprised me most is the amount of stuff a baby needs,”
Kondo said, sitting primly at the edge of her seat in an
impeccable white top over a pale blue print dress.
“Once she gets older, I’m sure there will be a little bit of
With an understated sense of humor, she notes in her
new book that one of the people with whom she has had to
share her storage methods is her new husband, himself so
minimalist that he moved in with only four cardboard
boxes of belongings.
“I am learning that unspoken family rules differ from
one household to another, and that storage methods I had
assumed were obvious need to be properly shared and
explained,” she writes.
Kondo’s earlier book had no illustrations; Spark Joy is
full of her charming, child-like drawings of everything
from organized kitchen cupboards, to folding techniques
for clothes ranging from underwear to frilly blouses to
“It is very important that you know how to fold clothes
in the correct way,” she informed the crowd at the Japan
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Society, before daintily approaching a demonstration
table where a small pile of unfolded clothing awaited. For
one thing, “make sure you put a lot of love through your
palms,” she said.
The audience — die-hard fans and those new to her
KonMari Method — applauded as Kondo quickly folded
one item after another into a tiny cube, balanced each on
edge to show how tightly wound it was, then tucked them
neatly into what resembled a lidless shoe box.
“Wow, that’s so cool. How did she do that?” a man in the
second row whispered to his neighbor.
Kondo suggests setting the boxes of origami-esque
parcels in drawers so that each is a joy-provoking bento of
What about those pesky possessions that fail to spark
joy yet are undeniably useful? Well, functionality can be
“After discarding a hammer because the handle was
worn out, I used my frying pan to pound in any nails,”
Kondo writes. But after she threw out a screwdriver, “I
tried using a ruler to tighten a loose screw, but it snapped
down the middle. This almost reduced me to tears as it
was one I really liked.”
“All these incidents stemmed from youthful
inexperience and thoughtlessness,” she continues. Things
that make life simpler, “the recognition that a possession
is useful in our lives — these, too, indicate joy.”
Spark Joy includes advice on moving, packing, and
decorating with tiny, cheerful knickknacks (this is
She even gives a nod to those who don’t thrill to tidying
up. Kondo admitted to her New York audience that she
regrets some of her earlier zeal in discarding her family’s
Or, as she says in the new book, “Only when we accept
unconditionally people whose values differ from our own
can we really say that we have finished tidying.”
That said, her tidying empire is gaining ground.
Kondo’s books have been translated into numerous
languages, her speaking engagements draw crowds, and
her waitlist for clients is more than three months long.
She recently published a blank journal, Life-Changing
Magic (Ten Speed), to help readers “spark joy every day”;
she runs the Japan Joy-Sparking Tidying-Up Association
(with two levels of membership fees); and she offers
courses in Japan in tidying up and becoming a tidying
In the United States, Kondo told The AP, she has an app
coming out this spring that “features a checklist of
tidying, and also shows your progress in tidying.” And she
is preparing to open a U.S. branch of her consultancy.
While she may have mellowed in some respects, her
goals are in no way diminished. Proper tidying up, she
happily announced to the rapt audience, brings not only
life-changing magic but a sense of joy that can spread from
household to household, country to country.
“I believe my method will lead to world peace in the
end,” she said, smiling sweetly.
Or at least a lot of astoundingly well-folded socks.