What Marie Kondo Means by Spark Joy

“You can also define things that spark joy as things that make you happy.” – Marie Kondo, “Spark Joy,” pg. 82

“It is very important to choose what you want to keep rather than what you want to throw away in tidying. In other words, you choose from what’s in your house things that you feel happy to keep, things that you can cherish, and things that strike your fancy. That’s what it means to choose what ‘sparks joy in you.'” – KonMari [10:36 Mark in NHK Video]

I finished reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

Well, actually I finished reading it last year, and now, everytime I walk into my closet, I say, “Tomorrow, I’m gonna start!” That’s been going on for a few months.

But today I’ve really started! I’ve just finished filling two garbage bags. But now I’m becoming just a little hesitant, losing a little confidence. A lot of things are easy: Jeans, socks, and sweaters with holes.

Some things caused me to hesitate: There was a long sleeve, rugged, thick shirt perfect for cold days. In fine condition. I paused. But the fact is, it doesn’t bring me any joy. It’s not my color. It’s not embarrassing to wear, but it is a little on the “kids” side of things, if you know what I mean. The style isn’t very adult. So I held it, thanked it for its years of service, and into the trash bag it went. It’ll keep someone else warm this winter. Or the next.

But I’m still hesitating. After two bags, I wondered if there would be anything left in my closet to wear! I wondered if I should go up to Barnes & Noble and buy her latest book “Spark Joy” to get back in the spirit of things. Even though I hate to lose my momentum, I remember that when I was engrossed in her book, one day something clicked in my mind, I and understood it in my soul. (I’m holding her book now and its radiating great energy!)

I also did a little googling. The first thing that came up was this LA Times Article. I think it provides a good summary. I’m going to quote one thing that they actually quoted from her book:

“[Hold the item] firmly in both hands as if communing with it. Pay close attention to how your body responds…. When something sparks joy, you should feel a little thrill,” Kondo says. Conversely, something that doesn’t elicit joy creates a sensation of heaviness. – Bonnie McCarthy, The Los Angeles Times Home

When I was thinking of going to Barnes and then decided maybe to get the Kindle version, I read some reviews. One guy’s review had some good things in it that I will quote:

In a nutshell, the konmari method involves getting rid of anything in your life that doesn’t spark joy. Starting with clothes, you go through each item and decide what stays or goes based on whether or not it sparks joy when you hold it. Joy is the only criterion: ‘If it makes you happy, then the right choice is to keep it confidently, regardless of what anyone else says.’ – Moi Surtout – from Amazon Review for “Spark Joy

See, just doing this is starting to get me back into the spirit. Clothes are interesting, and definitely the best place to start. Does this bring me joy to wear this? Does this make me feel good to wear this? Most of the time with clothes, at least, it has to do with their age. They’re faded, out-dated, or have holes. They’ve lost that “luster.” But that value isn’t always the criterion: I remember a very special T-Shirt that Marie described in her book. It was old. It was maybe considered childish by others. But she loved it, and still loves it. She loves to wear it when she’s at home relaxing alone. It’s one of her favorite things: So she keeps it. I have a similar relationship with a blue Adidas sweat suit: Thing must be almost 20 years old, but no other sweat suit has ever fit me so perfect and felt so good exercising in. I love it. I totally love it!

Try to get the voices of other people out of your head, when you are deciding whether to throw something out. And ask yourself, “Does this make me happy? Does this give me joy to have in my life?”

The answer will be spontaneous.

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