All You Need To Know About Sparking Joy Like Marie Kondo

marie kondo sparking joy


According to Marie Kondo, our ultimate goal should be to spark joy every day so that we can lead fulfilling lives. In my experience, finding joy comes from within and from learning how to be in touch with your emotions. When the things around you bring you joy, you can make your life happier each and every day. But how can you find that joy? And how can you, too, learn to lead a more wholesome and fulfilling life?

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I enjoy writing about minimalism and the way it led me to a more fulfilling life. Marie Kondo’s take on how our belongings should spark joy is a fresh take on minimalism that’s easy to work into my decluttering sessions.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

Does It Spark Joy?

Does It Spark Joy

“Does it spark joy?” is undoubtedly Marie Kondo’s most famous phrase. Her Netflix show, Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo, has inspired people all around the world to transform their lives by keeping only what “sparks joy.” According to her, that is how you can take the first step towards living a fulfilling life.

sparking joyThis two-word phrase is the driving force behind the KonMari method, made up of core principles and rules that help you tidy and declutter your home. Her strategy is different from many of those out there because your feelings are the standard for decision-making.

Marie’s sixth and final tidying rule is perhaps the most powerful one. It suggests you ask yourself if an item sparks joy whenever you’re knee-deep in a decluttering process.

The KonMari approach closely aligns with one of the cornerstones of minimalism, which is to live an intentional life. I’ve adopted this perspective for over a decade now, and I can tell you that I feel lighter and more fulfilled than ever before.

To put it simply, living an intentional life means having a solid understanding of what makes you feel joy in your home. When you start reflecting on what brings joy to your life, you’ll realize that material belongings play an important role, even for a minimalist like me. That is why you should try to make a conscious effort to own only the things that make you happy — the ones that spark joy.

the purpose of stuff

What Does “Sparking Joy” Mean?

What Does Sparking Joy Mean

The idea of sparking joy has its roots in a Japanese concept known as “tokimeku.” Its literal English translation means “throb,” “flutter,” or “pulsate.” The word is meant to be used in the context of the heart’s response to inspiration or anticipation.

cultivating a peaceful home“Sparking joy” is the phrase chosen to replicate this feeling for English speakers. It soon grew into a leading decision-making tool for KonMari followers. Marie underscores that the purpose of tidying is to help you learn to make meaningful choices with every item you own. By keeping this in mind while decluttering, you choose to keep only the items you cherish most. In turn, your home becomes a space you feel connected to, producing greater feelings of fulfillment in your everyday life.

Asking if something brings you joy offers the opportunity to make thoughtful decisions about everything in your life, not only your things. As you practice asking yourself this question on a daily basis, you will start to feel more gratitude for your home, which provides you with a peaceful place to live and thrive in.

marie kondo

“The best criterion for choosing what to keep and what to discard is whether keeping it will make you happy, whether it will bring you joy.”

– Marie Kondo, KonMari

And it doesn’t stop there; your feelings of gratitude will spill over into other areas of your life. Over the years, I’ve found that practicing gratitude is, without a doubt, one of the biggest secrets to finding contentment and living my best life.

how to find contentment

How To Know If An Item Brings You Joy

How To Know If An Item Brings You Joy

Now that you understand what Marie means with her world-famous quote, you may be asking yourself, “how can I know if an item brings me joy?” Reading about it makes it sound rather straightforward, but sometimes, when you’re face to face with an old piece of décor you once loved, it may not be all that simple.

things you won that spark joyJoy is very personal — only you know what makes you happy. And that’s why you’re the only one who can go through this process with your belongings. To truly incorporate this idea in your life, Marie recommends you pick up each object, one at a time, and hold it closely. Pay attention to how your body responds. Marie says that you should feel “a little thrill, as if the cells in your body are slowly rising.”

You know that feeling when you’re about to go someplace exciting, one you’ve been looking forward to for ages? Or that feeling when you fall in love and see your person walking toward you? That’s how you should feel, although perhaps to a lesser magnitude, when an object really brings you joy.

Think about when you first got it, or the way you felt as you waited in anticipation for it to arrive in the mail. Close your eyes and try to see if those same feelings can be replicated again, this time in the present. If so, then it still sparks joy and is something you should keep.

Once you become a master at applying this principle to your objects, you will easily be able to identify what makes you happy overall and start living your life at its fullest. Through all my life’s ups and downs, I’ve learned that happiness isn’t something you search for. It lives inside of you. You just need to find ways to bring it to the surface so that you can embrace it and never let it go.

how to discover you purpose

What If Something Doesn’t Spark Joy?

What If Something Doesnt Spark Joy

You may eventually find that some items make you feel neutral. Maybe they don’t elicit any feelings of joy, but they don’t necessarily create any negative feelings either. So, what do you do then?

four box decluttering methodIf you’re unsure about an item and it feels like you’ve hit a wall, Marie and I both recommend that you set it aside and revisit it later. After you’ve devoted more time to the other objects you love and gotten some more practice in, you’ll be able to more accurately discern how you feel.

If you find that something doesn’t quite spark joy, it might be time to let it go. Do like Marie suggests and thank each individual item for serving its purpose before letting go of it. Practice feeling gratitude and then find an appropriate home for your object once you are ready to say goodbye.

This will make your decision-making process easier when you’re ready to return to the items you set aside. If you’re still having a hard time, you might be confused about the object’s purpose in your life. In this case, it might be a good idea for you to try out a minimalist decluttering rule. It can help you simplify your decluttering if it ever gets a little out of hand.

When you go through this process of recognizing what makes you happy, you can identify exactly what you value and need the most in your life.

When To Use The Konmari Method

When To Use It

When it comes to sparking joy, there isn’t a specific set of rules that tell you exactly when to use it. Perhaps you’re moving to a new home, or you’re looking to downsize for retirement. Maybe you just like the idea of it and want to adopt it in some way or another.

houseplants improve air qualityWe’ve seen how the KonMari method encourages the use of feelings as a decision-making tool when tidying your home. This means asking yourself whether each and every one of your items brings you joy as you declutter. But Marie and I both agree that this core principle can extend far beyond what you already own. “Does this spark joy?” is a question you can turn back to whenever you’re bringing something into your home, be it a brand-new store-bought item or a questionable gift from an extended family member.

From a minimalist perspective, you should always live your life with intent. All aspects of your life should bring you joy. The events you participate in, the chores and unwanted tasks you take upon yourself, and even the people in your life should all bring you happiness. Everything you dedicate your time and energy to must produce feelings of joy in some way or another. There’s no question about it. Make a habit out of asking yourself something along these lines and soon you will feel more contentment in your life.

questions to ask when decluttering

Why Sparking Joy Is Key

Why Sparking Joy Is Key

Whichever way you see it, sparking joy, living with intent, or doing things on purpose are all means to the same end. That is, approaching your things with a fresh perspective that will help you live your best life.

An important note here is that you shouldn’t define your happiness in terms of your possessions. That’s not what Marie wants you to get at, and it’s not what I want either. The point here is to start practicing this skill with your possessions and, as you become more adept at it, let it become a guiding principle in your life.

marie kondo

“The ultimate goal is to spark joy every day and lead a joyful life.”

– Marie Kondo, KonMari

When you adopt this perspective when decluttering, purchasing new items, and even when reflecting on the people in your life, you are able to keep up with a clutter-free lifestyle. In the long-term, you’ll manifest a calmer and more mindful existence that makes you feel truly happy. And that’s what life is all about.

are you living a level 10 life

Your Turn!

  • What is something that sparks joy in your life?
  • How do you identify when something brings you joy?

Leave a Reply