Sparking joy in your own life with Marie Kondo

Cecilia Orth, visual editor

Even when I can see my bedroom’s carpet, my room is a mess. Like most teens, I have junk hidden in closets, under my bed, and stuffed in boxes. But recently, my bedroom went through a transformation when I threw out, recycled, and donated everything that doesn’t “spark joy” in my life. After watching the Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”, I was inspired to join the decluttering movement and reclaim my space.

Organizing consultant Kondo has a simple system which involves throwing out what you don’t want and keeping the items that spark joy. The decluttering checklist has five categories: clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous, and sentimental items.

To begin, gather all your clothes into a pile on your bed. Many are often surprised by the amount of clothes they own. Divide your clothing into subcategories: tops, bottoms, socks, underwear, bags, accessories, and shoes. Pick up each clothing piece individually and decide if it stays based on whether it sparks joy.

I’m not alone in trying Kondo’s methods, other Edina High School students are also integrating her techniques into their closet. “When I applied her methods it felt nice because I definitely held on to clothes that I didn’t wear because I might wear these [clothes] to Nordic practice or when I go outside. But I never wore them,” senior Andrea Zantek said.

The same methods are also applied to books, papers, miscellaneous, and sentimental items. Kondo has specific tips about how to store items such as using clear bins and labels. “It was hard to get rid of things because I feel an attachment to [my sentimental items]. But knowing whether the items still bring me joy, really helped me say, even though I’ve enjoyed these in the past, it’s time to get rid of them so I can create space for the present,” senior Ava Chow said.

If you are struggling to start or properly apply Kondo’s methods, ask a friend to help ask the question: does this item spark joy? “Clean with a friend because it really helps when there’s someone else there because you can really think about [if the item sparks joy],” Chow said.

The students found that the organizing process also helped their mental state. Many have described Kondo both as a cleaning guru and a self-help guru for their improved well-being post declutter. “I used to hate being in my room because it was so messy and I couldn’t do homework. You’d look around and feel confined. It’s so much better to be in [my room] and feel almost relieved and less stressed,” Zantek said.

After deep cleaning my room, my stress levels about packing up for college dissipated. No longer did I have to worry about the old notebooks and unused clothing lying around in my room. I’m proud to say that now, I’m able to walk into college on a fresh page. Out of everything, this is the feeling that truly sparks joy in my life.