“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you musty first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”— Marie Kondo
Thanks to her Netflix series and bestselling books, the world now associates the phrase “spark joy” with Japanese organization consultant and decluttering guru, Marie Kondo. After familiarizing myself with her techniques, I was quick to put them into practice. Now I’m not someone that typically has difficulty parting with things. In fact, I’m sometimes accused of “clearing the set” a bit prematurely for the liking of some of my family members. However, what was different about the Marie Kondo method—besides her ingenious techniques for folding—was the moment of pause given to each item. Assessing the way we feel about each of our belongings as a means of determining whether they should exist in our lives, is brilliant. This process resonates deeply with me because it asks us to identify which things hold value, and then encourages us to make more room for those things by discarding those that no longer hold that value.
In theory, Kondo’s method of decluttering is impeccable, and yet the application raises a few questions. For example, how do we determine what “sparks joy?” How do we know if something evokes a feeling that means it’s meant to be part of our life? Kondo’s advice? Weigh your emotional response to similar items. She explains that “unless your feelings are very black-and-white, it’s hard to decide if something brings joy when you look at it by itself. When you compare it with a bunch of other things, however, your feelings become clear.” This got me thinking about how often we apply this method of decision making without even realizing it. It seems that the practice of choosing things that spark joy extends well beyond tangible items. Here are just a few examples of the joy sparking scenarios that occur regularly at my house.
- I’m in the middle of cooking dinner, and I get a call from my dad. I know speaking with my father will spark joy so I choose to ask someone in my family to keep an eye on dinner while I take the call.
- I’m at my computer working and one of my kiddos interrupts me to tell me a story from school. I choose to turn away from my computer and listen to what they have to say because I know that shared moment will spark joy.
- It’s a busy weekend with lots to accomplish in order to prepare for the week ahead. However, it is also a beautiful day for a Jeep ride with my husband. Knowing that a drive will spark joy by connecting, refreshing, and energizing us; I choose to carve out 30-45 minutes to make it happen.
The Marie Kondo method closely aligns with We Choose Joy’s philosophy of making margin for what matters. It not only gives us the opportunity to be mindful of all of the things that exist in our lives, but it gives us a chance to determine which things bring value to the life we want to lead. It also brings to light that not everything has to be “important.” Some things just “spark joy,” and that’s enough!