“Does this spark joy?”


The book, “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” by ¬†Marie Kondo was recommended to me by a few friends. They have claimed that it has, indeed, changed their lives. I have been talking forever about decluttering my house and paring down but haven’t seemed to get a handle on it. So I thought I’d give this book a try.

I haven’t even finished it yet and I wanted to start right away on the decluttering part. She suggests doing it all at once, but first starting with clothes, then books, then papers, etc. The last items to get rid of are sentimental items. The criteria that you use in determining what to keep and what to let go of is holding the item in your hand and asking, “Does this spark joy?” That’s it. If it isn’t some thing that sparks joy then you get rid of it. I love this idea.. I love the idea of only possessing items that make us happy.

So I started this weekend on my clothes. I piled everything I own in a pile on the living room floor. It took about an hour to gather everything together. You get EVERYTHING. Everything from coats to socks and underwear, to bags. This is so you can see how much you actually have. Now I am not a packrat by any definition of the word. I am pretty OK with getting rid of stuff, but this is what my pile looked like when I was ready to sort through it all.

Actually, this is about half of the pile.


So I began. I picked up each article of clothing ¬†and asked “Does this spark joy?.” It was surprising what I decided to keep and what I decided to get rid of. I ended up discarding about 5 garbage bags and two boxes of clothes

It was hard to get rid of some things. And, admittedly, I did keep a few things out of guilt and not joy. I kept some sweaters that I knitted that I don’t really like but “I spent so much time on them so I should keep them.” That kind of thing. I am thinking that I need to take one more pass through everything. Guilt is a terrible reason to hold on to something. One of the really great things that she mentions that helped me let go of some things is that maybe the item has outlived it’s purpose, and if so, you can “thank it” for what it has done for you (or even the person who gave it to you) and send it on it’s way. I just thought this was beautiful. This philosophy really helped me as I went through the process. So in the case of my sweaters I can be happy that the sweater brought me joy when I was knitting it. That was it’s purpose.

When I was done sorting through everything it was time to put everything away. There is a special way of putting things away. There are hundreds of videos on Youtube that will show you how to fold clothes the Konmari way. The idea, essentially, is to fold everything into a square that you can then stand up in the drawer so that when you open your drawer you can actually see every item in the drawer. Brilliant!

I also had to hang up my work clothes. I was shocked when I realized how many hangers i had in my closet.

Why do I have so many hangers?!?

These were all mostly empty and taking up space!! So I got rid of a ton of hangers as well.

So now my clothes are organized and I already feel a million times lighter.

Now to move on to books. This is going to be much harder, I’m afraid!