“Spark Joy!” It is the mantra of Marie Kondo, today’s best selling author, who promotes “people can improve their lives by getting rid of all the things they own that don’t “spark joy,” elevating this concept to her further statement “…The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” I just recently read Marie’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” which sets out to inspire the purge of clutter, and bring order to what is left. I have to say, inspiring though it was, I had to draw the line where Marie claims she stands her carrots upright in the fridge! An interesting concept but not something that sparked inspiration for me, let alone a joy factor!
So the message is to have realistic expectations of yourself with the journey to spark joy. In other words, only you can know the payoff of clearing house, de-cluttering and spring cleaning your space. It is a very personal attainment of joy. The resultant effects of the exercise, I can attest, can truly be uplifting and soulful.
Of course the obvious prompt for a clear out is when you are preparing to move, it is almost a given to take the opportunity to sort and sift through that which is wanted and “sparks joy” and that which can be released, not to carry to your new abode.
But why wait ’til a move to spur this action when joy is waiting to be had right now? For that matter, why wait ’til spring to spring clean? The moment to begin could be presenting itself to you in the present guise of a nagging pull to tackle a closet or storage space. It can be treated as a reflective and almost ritualistic activity giving the dual benefit of relief and being refreshed at the same time.
This is one of the many upsides in fact of downsizing. Ruthless elimination! I have clients who’ve made the move from a 4000+ square foot home in Texas to a more compact 949 square foot Maui condo and it came with the inevitable liberation from their stuff to make lighter their next chapter of life in Maui!
The Joy of Giving Away
We have a plethora of storage space facilities, a profitable use of commercial space, largely utilized by folks moving to Maui with too many belongings, the realization of which comes as a dawning later having already made the move with “the stuff of their lives.”
I admit I moved from England and shipped what was then my treasured possessions, an antique hutch, records, books, old journals, and photo albums, the things one believes make up a life or substantiates one’s own history.
Recently, following Marie Kondo’s spirited promise of an almost heady delight from getting rid of excess things, I set about a clear-out of my own. Within the same week I had a cleaning crew come to the house. The blessing proved to be immediate. The bags of kitchenware, linens, office supplies, gadgets, pictures, rice cookers, salad bowls and crudite platters,…all loaded in the car for the charity shop were intercepted by the cleaners who were in the process of moving to a new home themselves and they needed these things otherwise long-buried! They took everything and it warmed my heart to pass my belongings to grateful new owners eager to make good use of the freshly liberated items from deep-cupboards-and-dark-closets.
It is a great feeling, yes, Marie is right. Live lightly. I encourage it. And I would go a step further to say that you be inspired by the aim to give it away. It will help you recognize what no longer serves you, that which does not spark joy, and it will open up spaces on many levels! Don’t fear the void, the rush of fresh air fills in nicely.