Decluttering and finding your happy spark

A few weeks ago when making the rounds of my favourite blogs several of them wrote about a book by a Japanese author named Marie Kondo. She specialises in tidying and decluttering and her latest work has become an international best seller. The cover says 2 million copies sold but I’m positive that number is up to 3 million by now.


I absolutely believe in energies and events happening for a reason, so let me tell you the sequence of events:

  • I realise for the umpteenth time that my house is a disaster area and I really need to get help.
  • I find a housekeeper through a friend. We make an appointment for her to look at the house (and mess).
  • She comes and seems lovely. We make a time for her to come the following week.
  • As she leaves the postman rings the doorbell to deliver my copy of Marie Kondo’s book.
  • The next morning at 7:00 AM I crack the book open to look at the first chapter.
  • At 7:11 AM, after reading the first few pages I think, “If I could do this I wouldn’t need a housekeeper…”
  • At 7:12 AM the new housekeeper sends a text with some cockamamie excuse for not being able to clean for me.

I really need to develop these superpowers to do some good in the world! Basically what Marie Kondo professes is that objects have energy and you need to surround yourself with the good and positive. She talks about them “sparking joy”, which is how you decide whether to keep something or not during your decluttering.

I didn’t even need to finish the book, I “got” it right away and couldn’t wait to tackle my closet.


Of all the books on decluttering, organizing and cleaning this is the only one that gave me clarity on what my end result should be: feeling the energy of what surrounds me. It’s taking time to get the entire house done but now I know exactly what to do.

I understood the KonMari Method right away because it’s same reasoning I use when asking my runners to choose a race as their main goal for a season. Whatever you choose should make you feel fuzzy, warm and excited. You should get that buzz or spark when you daydream about it all coming together on race day.

The other day I had a woman call me about her 2015 planning. She really wanted to run the Venicemarathon. She could picture herself at the starting line among 10,000 runners, making her way to the lagoon and Piazza San Marco. But her husband was trying to talk her into something more low key and local. You could hear her voice move between a sing-song happy place and a moody resigned whisper while talking about the two choices.

I told her she just had to find a way to make her happy choice happen. The happy spark is what will get her through the hard workouts and all the way to the finish line at Riva Sette Martiri.

By the way, I donated approximately 100 unworn running event t-shirts that I had sitting in my closet. I’m now only wearing running clothes that I really love, as opposed to rags that I can sweat in. Totally energy changer!

  1. Paula
    Off to de-clutter my running shirts right now!!
  2. anne
    I've reserved a copy of this from the library. It hasn't even arrived and there are already bags of things in the hall way waiting to leave my house. Such a simple idea. Thanks Julia! Now I'm just reflecting on what race might take my fancy for 2015. Always good to see 'cockamamie' in use. It was often used by my Dad.
    • Shauna Reid
      Cockamamie well overdue a revival! :)