Japan, KonMari and sparking joy

I’m super excited to write this post in Tokyo, Japan. A project is taking me to this fantastic country and what a great way it is to learn more about organising in small spaces. For us in the Middle East, space is often not an issue. Villas and apartments are substantially larger than in Europe or even in Japan, where the average apartment is a mere 59.7 sqm (642.6 sq ft).

It’s not surprising that the Japanese have taken residential organising to a whole new level.

Marie Kondo has shaped and promoted the Japanese way of organising. Voted one of the 100 most influential people by Time in 2015, Kondo’s KonMari method is a rather simple one.

Spark joy

Instead of focusing on how to store your belongings, she’s asking you: “Does this piece bring you joy?” If not, let it go. She’s transforming how Japanese and followers around the world are seeing their homes and their stuff. As you’re looking around your house now, what do you want your home to look like? Which items bring you joy and do you want to keep? Do you love it or not?

Organise by category

While most organisers approach a room either in part or as a whole, Kondo suggests looking at a category to declutter. For example, take out all your books, no matter if they’re cookbooks in the kitchen, novels in the living room or business books in the home office. Bring them to a central place and review them there. This will give you a better idea of what you have and what you want to keep.


You’ve probably seen organising challenges like “100 items to throw out today” or “1 bag to donate every day for 30 days”. Kondo is a big of discarding things, too. Yet, she doesn’t specify the amount which needs to be thrown out, put up for sale or donated. She encourages you to keep only the things you love. This in return lets you get rid what you doesn’t bring you joy, no matter if it it’s 5, 20, 30 or 60 bags. What do you see in your home that you’ll throw out straight away?

A place for everything

A place for everything

A place for everything and everything in its place. Benjamin Franklin coined this phrase over 200 years ago and Kondo certainly believes in it still today. A huge fan of folding clothes and giving socks the time to rest, she also sees “homeless” items as magnets for clutter. What items do you have laying around that could be put away? What are you going to do with “homeless” items? Find them a home or let them go?

Have you applied the KonMari method? Her organising style may fit individuals struggling with other organising principles. Like others though, she also does require you to make a decision whether the item will stay or go, but it will be about things that bring you joy and love.

Would you like to see which items you love and want to support from a help of a trained professional organiser? Contact me and together we’ll create the home you love with only the pieces that spark joy.

Until next time,

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