Still, the Japanese clearing guru Marie Kondo has surely stirred something within me. Her method does not argue for battling against the home, but battling with the home to create a living environment that is as pleasant as possible. And so, after five episodes with the umpteenth garment in my hand, I too was wondering, "Does this spark joy?" The idea: if your answer is 'yes', you may save the item. If not, you should thank the item for the contribution it has made to your life, or the lesson it has taught you, and then lovingly throw it away. All this based on five different categories: clothing, books, paper, ‘komono' (other items), and things of sentimental value. And believe me, I'm only too aware of how painfully uncomfortable it can be to thank items one by one. The peak of irony was the moment I heard myself say thank you out loud to a Rotterdam parking ticket. The only lesson this piece of paper had taught me was to never again park in Rotterdam. Although Marie would certainly argue that negative experiences are lessons too.