Does this Spark Joy?

Time to get busy.  It is a full 65 pages into the book before you actually start doing anything, but there is a reason for that.  You have to understand the philosophy behind the KonMari Method. It would do you no good to start on page 66, because you would still be sorting your things the old way – and probably end up keeping way more than you need. So how do you decide what goes and what stays?  If you follow the KonMari Method, you will ask yourself one question while holding the item in your hand – “Does this spark joy?” Kondo’s rule is simple – if the answer is yes, keep it, but if the answer is no, to the discard pile it goes.  I will admit this sounded a little odd to me, as did thanking each item before I sent it on its way.  But I do believe her advice is sound and helps you to focus more on what you want to keep rather than what you want to get rid of.  I will admit, however, that just having that question in my head make it much easier when I began to go through my things.

20150902_104427Clothing is the first category Kondo tackles and here is her direction: Place every item of clothing in the house on the floor.  And she means everything.  Empty every closet, every drawer, tub, or bin that contains articles of clothing.  Hmmm… I liked this idea in theory, and if I lived alone or if Marie Kondo herself was sitting there with me, I might have done that.  Instead, I opted for a modified version.  I started with emptying my closet and after working through all of the items there, moved on to dressers and out of season tubs.  Did I hold each item in my hands?  You kind of have no choice.  Did I ask myself the joy question for each item?  I didn’t really have to; I had in my head if it didn’t spark joy it was going.  Did I thank the items for their service? No – but I did clear out a lot of stuff and did not feel the least bit guilty doing it.  And while it may sound odd to ask yourself if a pair of jeans or a scarf brings you joy, think about it for a minute.  Odds are you wear the same pieces over and over again.  Why?  Because you like the way they look and the way they make you feel.  You’ve likely been wearing only the clothing that brings you joy all along…

The closet was a piece of cake for me. Dressers, drawers, and tubs a little more daunting but it all got done and in relatively short order, too.  And I no longer need a place to store out of season items; discarding gave me more space. My donation pile was sizable; Goodwill was going to be getting a pretty good selection of items!  But beyond that, I truly did start to feel lighter.  Cleaning out, freeing up space in your environment really can have an impact on your physical and emotional self. Kondo describes this in her book as well.  I think it’s important to realize that this isn’t just about having organized closets and a neater home.  It is about finding the things that bring you joy in all aspects of life – this is just the first step of the journey.

 

The Book

978-1-60774-730-7The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. As soon as I got home I began reading.   Now, organizing is pretty much second nature for me, so I’ve never spent a lot of time learning how to do it. Sure, I’ve read magazine articles and watched morning and talk television, but there really hadn’t been anything new there.   Sort your items – keep, sell, toss/donate.  Get rid of clothing you haven’t worn in a year.  Turn your hangers a different direction to show what’s been worn.  Go room by room.  Buy cute bins, baskets, and tubs to neatly store all your clutter.  Pretty standard fare.  But what I discovered in Kondo’s book was completely different from anything I had ever read before.  For Kondo, it’s not just about organizing your items, but about decluttering and tidying every physical aspect of your home and work space so that it never has to be done again.  In so doing, you may notice transformations in the rest of your life as well.

I finished the book the next day.  I’m a fast reader anyway, but I was anxious to get started. I was energized and excited because Kondo’s method, the KonMari Method, was going to be exactly what I needed to tackle this whole house decluttering project – and make it stick.  There are some key differences between KonMari and traditional methods of decluttering and organizing.  First, she does not advocate going room-by-room; rather, you work by category (clothing, books, papers, etc.), and only one category at a time.  Next you discard.  Finally, you store things in their proper place.  Obviously I am simplifying here because if you are really interested in the how-to of this, you need to read the book. But I do believe that her approach is probably the best way to declutter, organize, and take control of your home and your life.

So excited was I by the changes and progress I was making, that I was dragging my friends into my bedroom to show them my dresser drawers!  They smiled and nodded as I showed them the proper way to fold (also covered in the book).  But they really don’t share my level of enthusiasm.  Fortunately, there are other folks out there like me, and I found a great group on Facebook to join.  It’s a place to ask questions, find encouragement, and share successes.  Kondo recently published a companion book, Spark Joy, an illustrated guide book, with more detail and answers to questions that arose from the first book.  I own it as well.  So just know that if you start this journey, you will have no shortage of support.

I hope you’ll join me as I recount for you my KonMari journey.  There is a line in The Life-Changing Magic…”The moment you start you reset your life”.  She is absolutely right.