Okay, I’m posting this review only slightly late this time! I’m nearly back to my desired posting schedule and routine. Anyways, today I’ll be reviewing Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class On the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This is the companion to her best-selling debut, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which I have been a huge fan of for years now.
As I said, I am a huge Marie Kondo fan. I read her first book years ago and have tried to adhere to her tidying principles ever since. I also enjoyed her first Netflix series and have tried to spread the tidying gospel to friends and family. This year, I’ve even been posting a blog series about her KonMari method as I work through each step of decluttering, which you can start reading here!
I’d been wanting to read her second book, Spark Joy, for years, but had never gotten around to it. I felt strange claiming to be a Marie Kondo fan without having read her second book so I decided it was finally time to read it. Luckily, I received an Amazon gift card so I was able to purchase the book on Kindle.
While the purpose of her first book was to introduce the concept of tidying up and how to complete the basic steps, Spark Joy‘s purpose is to dive deeper into all of the different tidying categories with more detailed tips, tricks, and diagrams to help readers achieve the best tidying results possible.
“Spark Joy is an in-depth, line illustrated, room-by-room guide to decluttering and organising your home. It covers every room in the house from bedrooms and kitchens to bathrooms and living rooms as well as a wide range of items in different categories, including clothes, photographs, paperwork, books, cutlery, cosmetics, shoes, bags, wallets and valuables. Charming line drawings explain how to properly organise drawers, wardrobes, cupboards and cabinets. The illustrations also show Ms Kondo’s unique folding method, clearly showing how to fold anything from shirts, trousers and jackets to skirts, socks and bras.
The secret to Marie Kondo’s unique and simple KonMari tidying method is to focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of. Ask yourself if something ‘sparks joy’ and suddenly it becomes so much easier to understand if you really need it in your home and your life. When you surround yourself with things you love you will find that your whole life begins to change.
Marie Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, presents her unique tidying philosophy and introduces readers to the basics of her KonMari method. It has already transformed the homes and lives of millions of people around the world. Spark Joy is Marie Kondo’s in-depth tidying masterclass, focusing on the detail of how to declutter and organise your home.”
Quoted from Goodreads
I wasn’t sure if there was really enough new information about tidying to warrant a second book. Marie Kondo shared so many useful tips in the first book, so what more could there be to say? While there was some repetition in Spark Joy, I was shocked by how much more detail she provided and how much more about tidying and organizing there was for me to learn.
What I Liked
As a tidying nerd, I really loved how much more in-depth this book went into the nitty-gritty of decluttering and also storing items, especially those in the komono category. The chapter on kitchens was especially detailed and intensive, which I really appreciated. I will definitely be referencing this book in the future when dealing with specific categories or challenges, probably more so than The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, since this book has just so much more detail about the particulars of each category.
One of the big selling points of this book is that folding diagrams and other drawings are included to help visual learners understand how to properly fold clothes and store their items. I don’t think I learned a lot from the drawings since I’ve been a folding enthusiast for years, but I did enjoy the visual interest that the drawings brought to the page. The illustrations were cute and helped break up some of the denser portions of text.
I also enjoyed the gentler tone in this book. In the first book, some of the advice is stated so bluntly that it can feel a bit harsh and off-putting for the uninitiated. The rules can also seem a bit rigid, and if you deviate from them for personal or practical reasons, you might feel guilty that you are not following Marie Kondo’s instructions to a T. But in Spark Joy, the advice is conveyed in a more compassionate manner. Marie’s deeper explanations also revealed that the essence of the rule and what it accomplishes is more important than following the rule exactly. She gave lots of examples of how to break and bend rules according to one’s needs or tastes, which helped me to lay aside some of my own guilt about how I have been tidying and organizing my things.
What I Didn’t
I didn’t like how there was so much repeated information from the first book. Sometimes information was repeated before introducing a new concept related to it, which is understandable. But other times, some of the recycled information seemed unnecessary. I’m sure the intent was to refresh the memory of the average reader, but as someone who regularly rereads and references the first book, I really didn’t need my memory refreshed. Maybe that’s a more personal gripe, but I felt a bit bogged down by the repetition of information I already knew.
Another problem I had was that Marie Kondo constantly recommended readers to utilize drawers and built-in furniture to store and organize belongings. It is certainly good and sound advice that will broadly apply to most readers, but it made me wonder, how big is Marie Kondo’s kitchen that she thinks everything can have its own drawer?? I obviously don’t fault her for the weaknesses of my apartment’s kitchen design, but I was a little frustrated by this constant refrain.
My Star Rating
I was torn on how to rate this book. It’s a niche topic with repetitive information, so I wasn’t sure if the value contained in this book deserved three or four stars. But in the end, after reflecting on my likes and dislikes and the usefulness of this book as a reference material, I decided that four stars was more appropriate.
If you are new to the KonMari Method, I don’t think it’s a necessary read. But if you are someone like me who is passionate about the subject of tidying and organizing and wants to know more, then this is a great tool to keep in your arsenal.
Let me know in the comments, are you interested in tidying up your home with the KonMari Method? Or if you’ve already tried implementing Marie Kondo’s advice, how did your tidying journey go? I’m always curious to hear other people’s thoughts about this topic.
Thanks for reading!