Book Review

Does this Spark Joy?

honeysuckleAm I surrounded by things that support and enhance my life? Or are many of the things around me dragging me down, reminding me of poor decisions of the past? On the advice of a trusted friend, I recently read Marie Kondo’s book, The

book cover

Marie Kondo’s book

Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Although my friend was very enthusiastic, I resisted at first because housekeeping is not usually a topic that inspires me. But there was something in Ms. Kondo’s method of decision-making, called the KonMari method, that drew me in. She suggests that we keep only the items that spark joy when we hold or touch them.

To test my joy response I held items that I knew really please me on many levels. For each, I felt a buzzy glow of energy in my head and upper chest. For those that I knew were not what I liked, there was not spark of joy; I felt a heaviness in my solar plexus. Calibration done; on to test everything whose ownership was optional for me. And no, I’m not going through my husband’s things; that’s for him to decide.

That sounds simple, but think of water liliesall the ways we normally make decisions, using logic and rational thought. She suggests giving away things that don’t bring joy. Now, I imagine that there are some things that I need that don’t spark joy, and I will have to deal with those down the road. The plunger, for example, may not spark joy, but I need to keep it. For much of what I own – things that are optional — this is an appealing philosophy. Items from a prior marriage/partner/boyfriend that reminds me of a difficult or ugly time of life have to go. Things that I enjoyed when I got them, but they just don’t please me any more are released with a hope that they find a home where they can be properly appreciated.

I find thinning out what I own with this method a lot more pleasing than some of the other ways I’ve encountered. There is no wondering if a garment fits, the color is right, or the style current. I found a blouse that cactus blossomsI bought a year ago. It’s lovely, but I feel uncomfortable when I wear it and keep having to pull it into proper position. I wished it well and released it to the charity bag. Maybe it will be perfect for someone else. Other things have served their purpose, and are too tattered or worn to send on. Those can be released to the trash or recycle with thanks for their service. Sentimental items can stay, because they also spark joy. Crap souvenirs of outings long ago? Those can go if the joy isn’t there.

My mind is toying with the thought that I make many of my decisions this way. Does that food spark joy for my body (not just the taste buds)? Does this purse spark joy every time I sling it over my shoulder and head for the door? How will my life be different when the things around me feel good? I’m giving this a try; stay tuned for a report later, after the purge is further along!

Just to be clear, I haven’t been compensated any way for this post. I’m just excited about this line of thought.

water lily

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