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Marie Kondo wants to ‘spark joy’ in all aspects of your life

By Nathalie Tomada Published Aug 29, 2021 8:00 am

Marie Kondo applies her world-famous tidying method and puts order not just in homes, but also in unlikely places and more, in her new miniseries Sparking Joy.

By more, we mean Marie — who teaches the decluttering style of only keeping stuff that “sparks joy” in your heart — wants this joy to spread to all aspects of your life, from emotional wellbeing to interpersonal relationships.

This is what audiences can expect when Sparking Joy premieres on Netflix come Aug. 31. In the three-episode series, the Japanese organizing maven selects three subjects for their “unique and special role within their respective communities” and helps them tidy up their nursery, cafe and church. The “transformation” extends to their business, relationships and surrounding communities.

The separation between home and work, and work and community, has shrunk. It felt only right that I share with viewers my mix of home-professional life in Sparking Joy with so many people going through a similar balancing act.

Marie also opens up her own home and introduces her family. In a media primer, she explained her decision to do so: “The world has changed so much since we filmed Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The separation between home and work, and work and community, has shrunk. It felt only right that I share with viewers my mix of home-professional life in Sparking Joy with so many people going through a similar balancing act.”

 Marie Kondo with husband Takumi Kawahara

The inspiration for Sparking Joy came after she received testimonials of how learning her trademark KonMari method through her first series in 2019, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, dramatically changed lives. The show became Netflix’s No. 1 non-fiction release in the same year and earned multiple award nominations, including two Emmys.

Compared to her first show where she was much more confident doing it, the upcoming series shows Marie venturing into unfamiliar territory and learning alongside her clients through “trial and error.”

“With this current show, we go much deeper and more expansive. I hope viewers will be able to really apply the lessons of tidying in all aspects of their life and see it in a more expansive view,” she said.

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A post shared by Marie Kondo (@mariekondo)

What does Marie get out of helping others tidy up their spaces and now other areas of their lives? Joy, she said. “When you watch the show, you can see how happy people are when they have done the initial tidying. There is so much that we cannot control in life, so the opportunity to help people find joy in their lives, relationships, and communities through tidying is truly special. I’m honored that people let me into their lives.”

Marie started her tidying consultant business when she was a 19-year-old university student in Tokyo (her thesis was even about the subject). She has since authored nine books about it, with her first one, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, becoming a certified international bestseller that got translated into 44 languages.

In the production notes, she gave three exercises to do before taking out things — clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items and sentimental items, in that order — that no longer bring joy to your life (don’t forget to discard them with gratitude, as per Marie). These are:

Greet your space

This will help you calm down and clear your mind. It also helps to reduce any anxiety you may have about the process.

  A scene from Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo.

Visualize your ideal lifestyle

This will help you keep your focus on why you are tidying. The goal of tidying isn’t just to be organized, it is to improve your personal or professional lifestyle. Think of how nice it would be to only be surrounded by objects that “spark joy,” rather than pieces which no longer reflect who you are.

Leave behind feelings of guilt

This will let you declutter, discard and/or donate without feelings of shame or guilt about being wasteful. Show gratitude for the objects that you keep, and, for those you discard, appreciate the past when they brought you joy.

“Tidying is a process that allows you to have a dialogue with yourself,” she said, noting that such a process will help people reflect more about the kind of life they want to live.

Meanwhile, The Philippine STAR recently joined a virtual roundtable interview with the 36-year-old where, with the help of an interpreter, she talked more about the connection between tidiness and your situations in life.

On how she saw the relationship between tidying to one’s emotional state and relationships

“I used to work as an organizing consultant directly with clients and the connection between tidying and human relationship is something that I learned from them. Once we were finished tidying, they would always tell me that tidying the house has had a very positive impact on all aspects of their life. So, this is how I made the connection. And it’s by choosing joy constantly throughout the tidying process that you are able to apply that sensor to other aspects of your life.”

On her most difficult and most impactful tidying case

“My most difficult case is when the clients themselves are not enthusiastic about tidying, they were either made to do it because their parents told them or their other family members told them to clean up or tidy, so they themselves are not ready. I really believe that there is a time in your life where you will feel ready to tidy and I think you should take advantage of that. Timing is very important.

 In the new show, Marie selects three subjects and helps them tidy up their business, relationships, and surrounding communities.

“(For the one that made the most impact), I would have to go back all the way to one of my oldest clients. She was someone who, after tidying, decided to quit her job. She had a very nice lifestyle, but she had to take on a completely new challenge, and she made me see that tidying can help you take that first step into a new life. And when I just made the decision for myself to publish my book, I thought it was a very daunting process to gather all my thoughts and philosophy into a book, but her experience really gave me the courage to do so.”

On how people can spark joy in their lives even if they’re staying working from home amid the pandemic

“My answer would be tidying. You know, even if you’re staying at home all the time, you want to make that space as comfortable as possible for you, and you really want to reflect and ask yourself, what can I do to achieve that? And tidying can come in very handy in that process.”

On how early parents can teach children about tidying

“I think you can start teaching kids as little as two years old. You can start little by little. What I started with my daughters is, I taught them to fold smaller items like handkerchiefs or socks, and we did it as sort of like a game or a part of a play.”

On advice to people whose careers and relationships no longer spark joy

“I think it’s when you feel that way, when you feel that your career or your interpersonal relationship no longer sparks joy, I think it’s very important to still reflect on, well, is there any part of those things that you still can feel grateful for? Is there any part of your career that you can still feel positive about? I think it’s very important to have that overall perspective before you judge whether something sparks joy or not. So, really, consider it as a whole.”