Does This Spark Joy?


by Judy Moon

You may recognize that question.  It was a hot topic last year. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo had sneaked it’s way on to your bookshelf.

I was a little late to the party – it seemed like everyone I knew was reading or had read it and was raving about the changes in their environments afterwards.

I’m a sucker for anything that says “magic” and I love books about decluttering and organizing – sign me up!

I LOVED this book!

First of all, it’s just cute. The color, the size, I know that’s silly, but it just made me smile when it arrived. It’s easy to read. She’s got a warm sense of humor. This could be a really boring, dry topic, but she keeps it light and you can relate to what she is saying.

A good friend of mine asked me one day when I was going on and on about how much I loved this book – “What’s so different about this book, I don’t get the hype, you’ve read a million feng shui books, you practice feng shui, you’ve even had a feng shui consultation at your house, why is this book so special?”

It took me a minute to answer. I had to think about it, and I realized that my RELATIONSHIP with my things had changed.

If you haven’t read the book – the writer has you pick up an object and ask the question – “Does this spark joy?” If it’s a yes, you keep it. If it’s a no – you donate or ditch it. Simple right?

She also has you declutter by category not room. Total opposite of any decluttering I’ve ever done. I’ve always done it room by room. This was better. I got less distracted and it was more thorough.

She suggests clothes first. Good idea since that was the most overwhelming. You take every piece of clothing you own- coats, socks, pjs, everything and put it in one pile. You may not think you have a lot of stuff till you do this. It’s very humbling.

You pick up each thing one at a time and ask the question.

Yes, even your socks, if they don’t spark joy – they go!

You will find yourself negotiating – “well, this doesn’t spark joy, but…. it’s really comfortable, or I still might wear that”.

Why would you ever want to put something on that doesn’t feel great or joyful?

I got rid of all of my “around the house clothes”, stuff I would never wear in public and I now only have joyful things to wear, even when I’m walking the dog. I also use her folding method. I can’t say that I’m as precise about the folding as her. I have more of a “burrito method”. Everything in the drawers is really easy to see now, since nothing is stacked anymore and everything is all rolled up in rows of neat “burritos”.

The books were probably the hardest for me. I am a bit of a book junky and I am one of those crazy people who will re read favorite books. I also get a lot of books as gifts and they feel sentimental to me. Whenever I was on the fence about a book, my mantra was – Someone else can use this or benefit from this. It made it easier to let go of them imaging someone else enjoying them.

I also love that now you are not only surrounded by things you have held for a moment and created a relationship with but she also inspires you to have respect for the things you own. One of the practices of hers that I have adopted is – when I get home and take my coat off, as I hang it I say, thanks for keeping me warm today. Everything is always better with a little gratitude.

So as the weather is shifting and the flip flops and bathing suits will be going in to storage and I will be pulling out scarves and sweaters and boots, this will be the perfect time to reconnect with these things and ask –

Does This Spark Joy?

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