Who is Marie Kondo and What Does She Want You to Do?

“Does [x] spark joy?”

If you spend a considerable amount of time on the internet, chances are that you have seen these memes floating about featuring a prim and proper lady smiling at you in the picture, with some variation of “Does this spark joy in you?” arranged as a joke. The meme comes from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, starring Marie Kondo, a professional organizer who gained international fame for her KonMari method of organization. At the center of her method is the question – Does [insert item here] spark joy?

As with most things, the organization community is absolutely thriving on the internet, and here is where I caught a glimpse of Marie Kondo back in 2015. Her worldwide best seller, Life-Changing Magic, introduced her KonMari method of organization. This same method is what she uses to help her clients in her Netflix series Tidying Up, and I think it’s a really important tool that all the burnt-out university students reading this could use! Especially those who enjoy procrastinating by cleaning out their closet instead of studying for midterms.

1. Hold each item in your hand and ask yourself – does this spark joy in me?

It is an all too common habit for us to accumulate tons of stuff because we think that we need it or that it will come handy someday. This is why Kondo has her clients go through each and every item, hold it in their hands, and as themselves – does this spark joy in me? If not, it is thanked and discarded. This way, every item is analyzed individually for their use value, and you’re alleviated from the guilt of getting rid of something you’ve held on to.

2. Follow this pattern:

  • Clothes 
  • Books
  • Paper
  • Komono [kitchen, garage, misc.]
  •  Sentimental items 

The method is organized in this manner for a reason, relating mainly to the ease of each category. The sentimental items are the last to go because the first four groups are there to help get one acquainted with the method of organizing. Once you’re used to the pattern, it’s easier to move through the tough stuff.

3. Don’t stack your clothes – Fold them vertically!

Here’s something I never thought of – arranging your folded clothes vertically so that you can see how much of everything you have. This would’ve been helpful advice before I went out and bought the same black t-shirt … three times?

4. Try to avoid keeping more than thirty books

This advice sparked a bit of controversy, and I wanted to bring up this claim to help de-bunk it a little bit. In an interview with the LA Times, Kondo clears this up as a misconception. In one of her books, she stated that she only had thirty books, not that she encouraged people to only hold onto thirty books. That being said, it would probably be worthwhile to go through your bookshelf once in a while to pick out the stuff that you haven’t touched in a while and as yourself – does this spark joy in me?  

Now that you are done reading this, there are two things left to do – watch Kondo’s show in full, and get a head start in your spring cleaning right now! Hopefully this will help you pay close attention to the things that you actually care about and spark some joy!

silhouette of person jumping during dawn