May 19, 2015

But Does It Spark Joy?

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Those of you who know me know that I’m always reading and trying to find the latest in inspirational techniques to help us rid ourselves of our clutter. This latest one was brought to my attention by my husband!?!? He was reading New York Magazine one morning and said…Does it spark joy? Have you heard of Marie Kondo?

When you look at your possessions and ask yourself if they “spark joy”, it can be mind boggling. It’s almost funny. I almost never think of anything I own in that context. I reserve that emotion for things like nature, my dogs, friends, music, and travel experiences…you get the picture?

I’m currently reading “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up –  The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo. I find Marie’s approach provocative. I’ve read a lot of organizing books and I have to say this one is inspiring and puts the fun back into organizing the stuff of life.

On page 1 she says, “Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly and completely, in one go.” I immediately think about how I would accomplish that without a team. The answer is you start by picking a category. Like for instance, shirts and tops. Gather every last shirt and top you own. You then start the discarding right there. In most cases, when you’re working with someone, the theory is to not touch the piece in question. In this case touching is the key to your feeling about whether you should keep this item or not. The theory is that if you take everything out of your space and review each and every object, you will have a physical reaction to it. And if it does not “spark joy” within you, you should not keep it. It makes total sense to me that this way of decluttering could be life-changing. Of course, accomplishing all of the categories in one go is rather daunting. I start wishing I lived in a small apartment! I did do my shirts and tops though and rather loved the result. The key is to begin with the easy stuff first. Don’t attempt to discard the mementos first. It takes practice to learn what “sparks joy”. So when you get to the difficult stuff you will be more sure of what you would like to edit.

When you begin to think like this, if you can stay clear and do exactly what she says, you end up with a lot less stuff. And as I’ve always believed, the less stuff surrounding you, the greater your ability to see what’s next for you and your home.

The toughest part is to believe what your heart tells you when you ask the question, “Does it spark joy?”

This book is well worth a read. Marie Kondo’s idea of “transforming the home into a sacred space, a power spot filled with pure energy,” is key. If all of us were coming from a home that supported us and “sparked joy”, just think of what might be possible!

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