That whole “spark joy” movement

posted in: Lifestyle, Theory 0

I was recently re-introduced to the “KonMari” method of decluttering and organizing your stuff. Or as she puts it, the act of tidying. I had heard of it before and liked the idea that if an object doesn’t spark joy when you pick it up and engage with it, then it should probably just get out of your house.

It makes sense to me because as someone who holds on to the things from my past–even the parts I don’t really care or need to remember but feel like I “should” because whatever it was was significant, or life-changing or I somehow feel like I deserve to be reminded and held accountable, I understand the desperate desire to let them go and make some space for new things.

The reasons we hold on to stuff we no longer need is an endless list but as we approach Spring and as I stop to think about the goals I have for myself, my business and life in general over this next year, I realized that it’s time to “confront my past” as she puts it in the book and get things in order.

The good news is that while reading this I realized that most of my stuff-purging tactics are generally inline with her suggestions. I know hers is not the end-all, be-all but it’s nice to feel validated sometimes.

I did have a strange couple of moments while reading her book, however. I realized that as I was reading about the different ways of purging/cleaning/tidying and the different reasons why it does and does not get done (there’s only two, she says), that instead of feeling of hopeful or interested or even bored, I was really just getting angry with my mother.

I’ll spare everyone all the personal details but to say that I have had a strange relationship with things and the ideas behind keeping things and storing things for most of my childhood and part of my adult life, is an understatement. Reading the parts of the book that echoed my own thoughts, efforts and feelings definitely stirred some serious frustration and anger up in me–I wanted to yell out loud that I KNOW all of this and express how sick I am/was of wasting so much of my mental and physical space carrying around crap that no longer serves me. I mean, really…is there a more pathetic waste of time than holding on to stuff and memories and emotions that just make you feel bad about yourself??


It makes no sense and yet here I was, getting angry at the book and the concept and her glib approach to solving life’s most difficult “tidying” problems. (For the record, she is a little bit of a pollyanna about how easy it is to get your space and life in control—it is if you’re a person like me or her target audience, but if you’re someone struggling with mental illness or other limiting factors, it’s not as simple as she makes it sound).


And so, I’ve begun the process of getting my things in order. And in doing so, hopefully organizing and putting to rest my past and the things that linger from it. Those lessons have been learned and don’t need to be relived to be relevant. I can thank them for their service and let them go. Much like all of the old clothes that don’t fit and the boxes of papers and nostalgia I’ve kept simply because I feel like I should….the reality is that most of that stuff doesn’t spark joy. Wearing clothes that don’t fit or don’t suit me and wandering down a painful memory lane is not how I want to live my life.


And so, here’s to radical change that elevates us out of our current resting places and gets us back into action. To use the yogic term, anything that can get some prana (life energy, breath) moving through the stagnant areas of our lives, is always good.