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

This rule does have one exception.

Marie KondoSeth Wenig/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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 6 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. Here’s how to fold clothes exactly like Marie Kondo.

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?” Follow these 13 tiny changes that make your home instantly happier.

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. Next, learn why Marie Kondo always wears white.

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Ashley Lewis
Ashley is an Assistant Editor at Reader’s Digest. She received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. Before joining Reader’s Digest, she was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News and interned at Seventeen and FOX News. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for rd.com, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.