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If you’re like me, a non-Japanese speaker, you probably have never heard this word before and have no idea what it means. But this week I learned that, loosely translated, it means “Does it spark joy?”

And I learned it because of a Wall Street Journal article about Marie Kondo, the queen of tokimeku. She’s written a best-seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” that has been all the rage in Japan and is now spreading worldwide, including here in the United States. She’s just 30 years old. (Wow! I barely knew my way around at that age!)

She’s described as a home-organizing guru which is nothing new, at least in this country where we have tons of them. But what is new is her key question: “Does this spark joy?” When she’s hired to help organize and clean, she doesn’t do the organizing or cleaning herself. Instead, she tells her clients to take everything out of a closet or dresser and then has them hold each item, one by one, and asks them, “Does this spark joy?”

It’s a perfect question, one that gets right to the heart of the stuff we have and Continue reading


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