There was a time when everyone wanted to get a copy of Marie Kondo’s book. The book title itself promises to bring magic into the lives of many who find it challenging to keep their house clean. The brilliant mind of Kondo promised that everyone would learn the art of tidying up not just their homes, but their lives in general.
On the surface, the book looks like an instruction manual that will tell you how to organize the closet. It teaches you how to keep the drawers clean at all times. But deep down, the book was teaching everyone something more.
It was actually a roadmap to finding things you never thought you’ve kept. It is also about discovering which among the things that we have spark joy and which ones do not.
Joy is something that every one of us needs. Joy is the emotion that connects us to other people who also have the same understanding of its importance. Joy highlights everything.
It used to be a word highly associated with the holidays. Everyone spoke of joy whenever they thought of the holiday spirit. Is it possible to think about word joy and not smile?
Try it. You will feel that whenever you say the word, a smile comes with it.
Is it possible for you to feel the same kind of joy when you try to clean your house? When you sort out the things you can keep and the things you need to let go of, will you still feel the joy?
It must have crossed your mind several times, but you never really gave it serious thought. After all, how will you find joy if you need to spend the whole day cleaning up a mess?
But then, the philosophy behind Kondo’s clean-up methods is the idea of finding joy. When it comes to organizing and purging your belongings that need to let go, people often divide it into three categories: to keep, to toss, or to donate.
But then, you have to ask yourself if an item sparks joy.
If it does, then you can keep it. But if it doesn’t, then it has to go to either of the two -- to toss or to donate. But all of these are easier said than done.
What truly follows is the torturous process of classifying. More often than not, people dread this part. The decision-making process is never easy. It challenges your rationality and sensitivity.
When you are down to deciding which ones to keep and which ones to toss, you find yourself dealing with two new categories: there are those you need to keep and the other group of items you want to keep for future use.
The obvious tosses are items that are broken. But then again, you ask yourself the question -- what if I can still fix it? The mere thought of it makes you wonder what if the item is indeed tossable or not.
The “donate” pile always comes with good intentions. But how many times have these items fallen under the category of things “to keep?” Frequently, these things are left in the corner, wondering when they will be given to charity.
Whenever you go through the whole process, you end up with space barely cleaned, and your head is left with so many decisions that need careful attention.
While it may seem easy to follow the keep, toss, and donate process, the philosophy behind it is what makes it pretty challenging. When you look at an item, and you have to ask yourself if it sparks joy, how will you answer it? How can you tell yourself that it might not spark joy now, but it might spark joy tomorrow?
It doesn’t matter now. The goal is to get it out of your house as quickly as you can. Do it fast and do it now!
The decluttering guru once said, “Does it spark joy?”
Little do people know that your physical clutter also takes up mental space. There are items that you have purchased and have kept for a long time but perhaps never used or even loved. You told yourself you would use it one day. That day hasn’t come yet.
Before you know it, the item takes up a considerable part of your mental state. Then you begin to resent the space it is taking up. You begin to think about the money that you wasted on buying it and how it’s not living up to your expectations.
The space that it takes up in your home serves as a constant reminder of how it has become an addition to the physical clutter that you already have. It’s wasteful of physical and mental space. Sadly, those thoughts bring all sorts of feelings, but none of them speaks of joy.
This is a question that does not only apply to the physical things that you are dealing with, like jobs, people, feelings, recurring subscriptions, social media, and all other routines in your life.
Get rid of them to make room for better things to keep in your life. Never regret letting go of people who no longer spark joy in your life.
While the goal may begin as a simple task of cleaning up, you will find great joy in the fact that you have freed yourself from things and people you don’t need anymore.
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