What Sparks Joy?
Unless you’ve been unplugged for a while, chances are you’ve heard the phrase, “spark joy” recently. Maybe on a morning show where a woman had all of her clothing on a bed and asked each pair of jeans, “Does this spark joy?” This is part of a movement to help declutter your life using the KonMari Method. What does it look like to declutter your life? And what’s the KonMari Method? Here is some insight into the movement that is taking over the nation, the movement brought about through Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”.
Why Declutter Your Life?
We are surrounded by things. Clothing, books, papers, mementos. But much of our time is not spent enjoying those things. Rather it’s grumbling about the space they take up, how no matter what we do our spaces appear cluttered, and how we can’t find anything. Even the most organized home with gorgeous bins and baskets is likely held hostage by these things. The concept of decluttering your life is one that boils down to one question: what are the things that spark joy in you? Once you can answer this and minimize your possessions, there is a calmness that takes hold and a huge amount of time freed for other pursuits rather than constantly cleaning, organizing, and frustration.
Imagine getting through the list of books you want to read. Imagine being able to go for a walk in nature each day. Imagine whatever it is that gives you peace or brings you joy. If you want to have time for it, the way to get it is to remove the things that are taking up valuable time, energy and thought.
What Does The KonMari Method Require?
The KonMari Method doesn’t require you to make a single purchase. Nor does it require any course or seminar. Instead what it requires is a copy of the book which is available in hard copy (hard- and paperback, eBook, audiobook) and a willingness to allow the process to move exactly as KonMari explains in the book. It will make most people uncomfortable at the outset, but once followed it quickly leads to a home that is more organized and more reflective of your authentic self, where you are only surrounded by only those things that bring you joy.
KonMari Method At-A-Glance
The KonMari Method takes you through categories of possessions rather than rooms. Each category is pared down to what you will keep through a series of steps. After you have discarded items there are specific ways in which to organize and place the possessions that are left.
Picture The End Result
The first step is to picture where you want to be at the end of your tidying marathon. One client of Kondo’s wanted to start a meditation practice. She wanted a clean space in her bedroom, which was covered in clothes, where she could light incense, practice, and then take a hot bath with candles. What is your end result you want? What is the thing that would give you joy?
The driving outcome of the Konmari Method is to strip your life down to the basic things that give you joy, remove the things that sadden and distract you, and spend your time on pursuits that bring you joy. Visualize what you want and keep it in your mind when the clutter creeps into your life.
While you could apply the method in different ways, Marie Kondo believes that following through the recommended steps in the correct order is the only way to end the process organized and without need for future organization. She is firm that you must not change the process to fit your personality but instead be strict and follow it exactly to avoid retreating to be bad habits. The list of categories and order in which items should be addressed:
Kondo warns that starting the KonMari method with mementos is a recipe for disaster and that the only way to guarantee success is to start with clothing and follow the process. Mementos come with a significant emotional attachment — we keep them to remember an meaningful event. With clothing, it is easier to assess quickly and move on to the next item. Starting with clothes and moving down the list trains you to be ready to approach the difficult assessment of papers and personal mementos.
The Metric of Joy
The first step of each category is to gather every item of that category in one place and then begin to pick up each item, individually, and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” The idea being that there is no reason to be surrounded by things that do not spark joy. In the end, a dwelling space that is only filled with items that make you joyful means you are able to look around feel at peace. Items that do not spark joy should be discarded for donated. Items may not be kept because they were expensive, because they might fit one day, or because they were given to us by someone special. For those items we hold onto for reasons other than sparking joy, we thank them for whatever they brought us and then toss them on the discard pile. Items that are able to be donated should be, with items that are no longer useful thrown out. It will amaze you how many things you’re holding onto that don’t ever get worn and simply take up room. Time to declutter the Kon Mari way.
After going through a category, the KonMari Method has steps for how every type of item is organized. Even folding clothes has a process. The KonMari Method shares how to fold shirts, arranging them in such a way that they can be stored upright in drawers like files. This allows them to be seen, selected and put away neatly and also frees up closet space, which are often far too cluttered. Kondo goes so far as to teach students how to fold socks in a new way: rather than bunched up socks are lovingly folded, giving them a sense of rest. Clothes can relax and breathe while stored and in a sense thanked for serving you well while they work for you. This can make future release of items easier because you know that you lovingly cared for them while they were in your possession.
The KonMari Method is a studied approach that will declutter your life and bring you peace and calm. It is worth reading the book and starting with clothes, to see how quickly your space will begin to transform. And from there it is easy to apply the method to all aspects of your life. The benefits feed upon themselves. Whether you wish to work through one category to start or take a comprehensive approach, In Order To Succeed is a full service firm with professionals who can assist you in getting your home and your life organized, the KonMari way!