Boston Globe

What brings you joy? For Marie Kondo, it's not an existential question. In The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever, joy is a principle that enables you to refine and create a life that's filled with the things you love.

While tidying up does take work (okay, a lot), it's rewarding and encourages you to question the things surrounding you. Since its release, the book has sold millions of copies and sparked entire internet communities on YouTube and the blogosphere to document their journey through the book's decluttering stage.

It's no secret that Americans like to shop and the popularity of the KonMari method and minimalism, a lifestyle practice that advocates for living with less, provides an alternative to impulsive shopping and consumerism. Many practitioners of KonMari and minimalism attest that simplifying their possessions has dramatically affected their happiness and productivity.

Because KonMari requires you to physically touch your belongings and ask if they spark joy, it's hard to make excuses for keeping the items you don't really need or love. One of the most liberating parts of KonMari is that empowers you to toss (or donate) that hideous sweater someone gifted you years ago. With Kondo, there's no reason to hold onto something you don't love. Through saying goodbye to items we don't love we help them find their way to someone that will.

If the things we own are an expression of how we live and the things we buy are an expression of how want to live, there is no better question to ask of ourselves than "Does this bring me joy?" No, we can't get rid of every responsibility (dishes, we're looking at you), but we can decide where we invest our time, money, and energy. The bare necessity doesn't have to mean the bare minimum, and the KonMari method inspires readers to pursue a life filled with the things and feelings that are irreplaceable.

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