Joy Sparking

With all of the free time I seem to have lately, my husband and I have been slowly trying to clean out different parts of our home.  Feeling overwhelmed with the task, I picked up a copy of Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and binge watched her shows on Netflix.  (I never realized how entertaining it could be to watch other people work, while I sipped coffee!)

Feeling prepared, I began with my dresser.  I touched each item and asked myself if it “sparked joy.”  I sorted the items into 3 piles, just as she instructs: Keep, Throw, Give. 

If you noticed, I did not include a pile for Sell.  

Several years ago, my husband and I came to the difficult realization that Yard Sales/Garage Sales/Tag Sales are not worth the time and effort.  It may have something to do with the fact that I insisted on holding one on a day that forecasted rain. Everything we were selling got incredibly wet and we had to leave it in our garage for days before we could donate it. 

Or maybe it was because I sold my daughter’s favorite Barney the dinosaur stuffed animal to a woman who said that Sophie would love it.  Imagine my surprise when I went for a walk later that week and spied Barney in this woman’s backyard.  It turned out that Sophie was a chihuahua and Barney ended up in shreds. I am still traumatized by this decision.

If only I had been as smart as Rose Nylund, then Barney would still be in one piece.

If you have never read Marie Kondo’s book or watched her show, you may be wondering about  the whole “sparking joy” thing. I have to be honest and tell you that it is truly life changing. 

Let me give you an example.  When holding up a t-shirt that I got as a souvenir from a trip a few years ago, I noticed that it had a few stains on it.  I had other mementos from the trip, so I was able to say “thank you” to my shirt and put it in the throw pile. Done.  Next item.

Now for someone who is not as sentimental as I am, this may appear laughable.  That’s okay.  You can laugh.  In fact, my husband and I did too the first several times we went through this process.  But the truth is, many of us tend to hold onto things for the memory, not for the necessity of the item.  Once we can acknowledge another way to honor the memory, we can let go of objects that get in our way of having order in our homes and lives.

Clothes are easy for me to make this decision. 

Books are not.  I feel joy when I pick up every book.  So, I decided that I would limit the books that I keep to one book shelf.  Only the books that I truly want to read again because they will “spark joy” will be put back on the shelves.  All of the rest will be donated so someone else can have the opportunity to “spark joy”.  I reasoned that if I really wanted to read it again, I could always borrow it from the library.

But my children’s books, that is another story. I can remember where I was when I read it.  I can remember how many times I read it.  I can recite lines from it.  I consider myself a work in progress in this area. So, I put all of my children’s favorite books into a box  labeled KEEP and stored them away for future grandchildren.  

Sometimes, memories from the past are important enough that they should be become a traditions in the future.   

Have you ever tried Marie Kondo’s method? Do have a hard time getting rid of items? Are you a book hoarder too?


16 thoughts on “Joy Sparking

  1. Oh my! Your post is just the nudge I need. I have so much tidying to do, and with my kids both being in college in the fall, this is the perfect time to start. I like the method. I have not read her book or watched her show, but I will put them on my lists. It is spring, and it is time for spring cleaning, tidying, and discarding. However, all books will be a problem for me. I have a dream of building a library in my basement and sharing them with my grandkids (far off in the future).

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  2. I have tried Marie Kondo’s method and I now consider myself a hoarder–of books, clothing, gifts from my students, Christmas decorations, shoes, etc. Everything I touch still sparks joy for me. As a matter of fact, YOU just sparked an idea for a Slice of Life post about my grandma’s moth-eaten sweater that I came across this last week.
    (Your Barney story made me laugh out loud!!)

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  3. Every once in a while I’ll purge my shelves of the should-read books that will never be read and maybe even a couple of favorites that can now be gifted to someone who will think it is as special as I do. But, books spark joy for me and I’ll always have more than I probably should!

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  4. I am a book hoarder, too. Last summer I winnowed a dozen books off my shelves at home. Yet my den is stilled filled with books.
    I haven’t tried the Marie Kondo method. I do want to go through my home and streamline but it seems overwhelming to start.
    Maybe I’ll start by watching her show on Netflix . . .

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  5. I “kondoed” my closet a few years ago. That was easy- goodbye skinny-jeans-that-I-will-never-fit-into-again! But books… like you, I could not let them go. They are just bursting with joy, and now a part of our home decor- stacks everywhere, and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you for your post. This experience is truly traumatizing- “It turned out that Sophie was a chihuahua and Barney ended up in shreds.” Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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  6. I really enjoyed this post! I have tried her method specifically with my clothing. Haven’t ventured to other parts of the house yet but I do want to. My husband and I both want less stuff and clutter. However, he definitely has some hoarding tendancies and often things wind up in the but we may need it again pile. His is more about future needs rather than sentiment. But I’m like you where I want to hold on to the memory so I end up holding on to the thing. I need to take another go and see what happens!

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  7. I try to purge my clothes twice a year. I haven’t tried Marie Kondo’s method yet, but I once read about turning your hangers backward after you have purged your closet. Once you wear that particular item, put the hangar the right way. When you go to purge again, you take out the items whose hangars haven’t been turned around and ask yourself why you didn’t wear them. If you can come up with three good reasons, keep it. If not, donate it! I’ve tried this before and realized I wear the same things a LOT!

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  8. I know many people – including you now – that rave about the Marie Alonso method. I have been dragging my feet to join in thinking I just moved so I don’t need to purge again. But there is always something that needs trimming. Except books – never books! I retired and brought home all my children’s books. Good thing I have grandchildren because I started a lending library for them during COVID. Best idea ever!

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  9. I have already drafted a Slice for tomorrow that touches on a tangent of your post–the fact that I need to stop buying so many unnecessary things! I am a book hoarder, too…those may never be decluttered.

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