Marie Kondo’s One Condition of Keeping Items That Don’t Spark Joy

Sometimes items don't spark joy but are practical. What then?

Tidying expert Marie Kondo has taken over people’s homes (and their Netflix accounts) around the world with her renowned decluttering philosophy, the KonMari Method, featured on her Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

She follows six basic rules for tidying up such as decluttering by category, not location (eg. clothes, books, papers, etc.). But rule number six is Kondo’s most important one of all and the inspiration for her signature catchphrase “spark joy.”  When you’re stuck deciding between things to keep or toss, you must always ask yourself if the item sparks joy.

Now you may find that there are many things in your home that don’t necessarily make you happy but are generally a necessity to function within your home and everyday life. Does that mean you have to chuck it for good? During Kondo’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit back in 2015, a Redditor inquired about this very dilemma. The Redditor asked, “What do you recommend to your clients when something does not bring joy, but is necessary and can’t simply be discarded?”

Kondo’s first suggestion was to replace the item with a similar item that sparked joy. However, if you can’t find a new item to swap out the old one with, then it’s perfectly acceptable to stick with what you have. “Those things are helping you every single day,” wrote Kondo. “Change the relationship with those items, by appreciating their contributions to your life.” Maybe it’s about time Kondo included an addendum to her last rule. Though we’ll happily follow her top 10 organizing tips!

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest