Spark Joy is great for the kitchen, bad for the closet

First, let me preface this by saying I freaking LOVE Marie Kondo.

Her “Does it Spark Joy?” question has transformed my home in so many ways!  I did a kitchen declutter, I did a playroom declutter, I did a garage declutter!  All paid off big time, and I love my home so much more since she came out with that genius little book – The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up – where she introduced the method now called Konmari.

I’m amazed by Marie Kondo for so many reasons.  I mean, first, she’s got two small children and her signature wardrobe color is WHITE.  How does she pull that off?  Do they not eat ketchup or peanut butter?  Maybe her kids live on marshmallows and white Tic Tacs?

 I still use the Konmari method to declutter closets throughout my house – hall closet, the bathroom closet, the storage closet, however, I have found after using it myself and working with clients in their closets, that the one place is doesn’t work well is in the clothing closet.

While Does it Spark Joy is a great question for your closet, if it is the ONLY question you’re asking, you’re going to be in trouble.


  1. Clothing is personal – Much more personal than a spatula or a picture frame, clothing holds memories.  There is that top you wore the last time you nursed your youngest baby.  The sweater your grandmother knitted for you.  The dress you wore on the first date with your now-husband.  I find it hard to separate what sparked joy and what sparked memories – and those are two different things.  And while sure, you may not want to ever get rid of that sweater your grandmother knitted for you, and that’s totally fine, but it’s possible that your closet gets so filled with memory clothes, clothes you wish you still fit into, fantasy clothes (like the big dramatic beach hat you bought to wear on vacation before you realized there was no way you could fit it into your carry on – gulp – been there!) that your closet gets really confusing, containing things you actually don’t wear.
  2. Clothing needs to work together – Do you care if your oven mitts match your dish towels?  I don’t.  Do you care if your bath mat matches your toothbrush?  For most of us, nope.  But here’s the thing – I DO care that my pants match my tops.  And the problem with only asking “Does it Spark Joy?” in your closet is that you can end up with 100 pieces of clothing that spark joy, but don’t work together.  For a wardrobe to be functional, the pieces have to go together.
  3. You might get rid of much needed basics – This was my biggest problem when doing a closet declutter.  When I just used the question – Does it Spark Joy? I judged my clothes on whether or not they “excited” me.  Well, I got rid of some things that I saw later I shouldn’t have.  There was that rather boring neutral pair of shoes that didn’t fill me with glee when I looked at them, but they were crazy comfortable, matched everything, and were my go-to pair of shoes.  And I still miss them!  Like that friend from kindergarten who has always been SO good to you, and who you kind of took for granted…  Did those shoes spark joy?  Well, not really in the sense that they excited me a ton, but damn I miss them.  I kept flashier ones that aren’t nearly as comfortable, and it was a mistake.

Why Konmari and Seasonal Color Analysis work so beautifully together.

As I said before, when decluttering closets, “Does it Spark Joy” isn’t a bad question to ask – it’s just not the ONLY question you should ask.  I do think KonMari and seasonal color analysis are a match made in heaven!  And when you’re decluttering clothes, I’d recommend asking these questions in this order.

  1. Is this one of my best colors?  If you’ve had a color consultation and you’ve committed to wearing your best colors, and this isn’t one of them, now you’ve got an outlier in your wardrobe.  See, your color palette is a family of colors that is designed to work together.  When you stick with it when buying clothes, outerwear, shoes, and accessories, now everything in your closet coordinates beautifully.  This saves so much time putting together outfits!
  2. Do I like the way this fits my body?  And the important part here is “Do I like it?”  Your mom may love the way something fits you, or your friend swears you look “so hot” in it, but if it makes you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable in any way, it will sit there, taking up precious room in your wardrobe.  Don’t settle for clothing that doesn’t feel good to YOU.
  3. Does it fulfill an important need?  Some clothes aren’t flashy, fun clothes, and they may not spark joy.  I have a great undershirt that is boring as heck.  It’s fitted, nude, and stretchy.  Doesn’t spark joy.  However, every time I wear a white blouse, I wear this nude undershirt underneath.  It makes it so you can’t see through the white blouse to my bra.  It does the job.  You likely have these items in your closet too.  Those black pants that fit amazingly and go with everything, that white button down that is basic as heck but just looks great every time with every pair of pants you own.  Give these items the credit they deserve and keep them around because they get the job done.
  4. Does it Spark Joy?  Thank you Marie Kondo for this one!  It is a great question to ask, and it really helps you identify what types of things you may want more of or less of in your life!  This, and the other questions above, can help you achieve a decluttered closet that you truly love!