Spark Joy With These Marie Kondo Quotes on Organization


It’s been about 10 years since Marie Kondo’s trademark phrase “spark joy” entered the American lexicon, and the Japanese organizing consultant’s impact has only grown. The core of Kondo’s organizing philosophy, known as the KonMari Method, is this: Keep only what sparks joy, and be at peace with letting go of all the rest. Her approach to decluttering spaces has become so popular that it’s led to appearances on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert as well as two Netflix series: Tidying Up With Marie Kondo and Sparking Joy With Marie Kondo. In 2019, a clip of Kondo exclaiming, “I love mess!” became one of Time magazine’s 10 best memes of the year.

So what is it about the concept of sparking joy that has captured America’s attention? It’s possible that what makes Kondo’s method so appealing is the emphasis on joy as the primary guiding principle, as opposed to order or control or guilt. Instead of casting any sort of judgment on our consumerist tendencies, Kondo instead asks us to be mindful of our spaces and intentional about what we surround ourselves with. “My criterion for deciding to keep an item is that we should feel a thrill of joy when we touch it,” she has said. As we head into a new season and begin to think about the daunting task of spring cleaning, let these 18 Marie Kondo quotes about organization motivate you to declutter your life, making room for more joy, possibility, and renewal.

From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly.

I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely.

We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.

Just because you dispose of something does not mean you give up past experiences or your identity. Through the process of selecting only those things that inspire joy, you can identify precisely what you love and what you need.

By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order.

The process of deciding what to keep and what to discard will go much more smoothly if you begin with items that are easier to make decisions about. As you gradually work toward the harder categories, you will be honing your decision-making skills.

A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming.

The essence of effective storage is this: Designate a spot for every last thing you own.

To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To throw away what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful.

Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled only with books that you really love. Isn’t that image spellbinding? For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?

Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder.

It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.

When your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state.

What you don’t need, your family doesn’t either.

The act of folding is far more than making clothes compact for storage. It is an act of caring, an expression of love and appreciation for the way these clothes support your lifestyle. Therefore, when we fold, we should put our heart into it, thanking our clothes for protecting our bodies.

In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.

Being messy is not hereditary nor is it related to lack of time.

The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.

Photo credit: INSTAR Images LLC/ Alamy Stock Photo

About the Author
Joyce Chen
Joyce Chen is a writer, editor, and community builder based in Seattle, Washington.