Spark Joy

In Spark Joy, Marie Kondo explains further how to apply the principles from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.

When I was a kid, my parents would have different levels of clean. The highest for me and my brother to strive for was “party clean”. Aka guests are coming over. We’d clean and clean then tell our dad we were ready for inspection, which we never seemed to pass the first time through. Probably the entire point of the whole thing, looking back.

When cleaning my bedroom, I’d do fine until I hit the pile of Game Players and EGM magazines. If I read Spark Joy back then, I probably would’ve been very confused, then finished cleaning faster, treating magazines like books:

To avoid wasting the entire day reading them, the trick is never to open them. Check for joy by simply touching them.

When I visit my parents’ house, a handful of those videogame magazines are still on the bookshelf. Right below the World Book encyclopedia and the teen and children supplemental books. I’ll have to confirm the next time I’m over, but I’m sure touching them would spark joy.

I really like this tip for dealing with food scraps:

Consequently, my kitchen never smells like raw garbage. So what do I do with the kitchen scraps? I keep them in my freezer. I set aside a corner of the freezer for kitchen scraps and, after thoroughly draining them, I plop any fruit and vegetable peelings, chicken bones, etc., in a bag as I cook. Twice a week, on regular pickup days, I remove the bag of scraps.

I do a C-minus version of this. I don’t usually have much actual food in my freezer so it’s usually just empty containers from Seamless deliveries from the week. Or last two weeks. Or…

Anyway, she also takes labels off of as many things as she can:

The more textual information you have in your environment, the more your home becomes filled with noise.

My pet peeve is when people leave stickers on TVs and laptops. Those would probably drive Kondo up the wall. She takes things a step further by removing labels from laundry detergent and other household bottles.

The book also has some advice for the digital world. In particular, photos:

Since the advent of the digital camera, people take endless photos but rarely look at them more than once.

I took the time to organize my photos and have found that I look at them a lot more. While I can’t bring myself to delete large swaths of photos, I did some organizing locally then uploaded them all to Google Photos.

Probably one of my favorite products1 of the last five years. Can’t recommend it enough if you were like me, used an SLR and other cameras along the way until phones caught up and now you take so many but never want to plug the external hard drive in to look at the old photos.

Until there’s technology to magically handle all the other piles of clutter in life, it might be a good idea to follow some of the guidelines in Spark Joy.

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