Hold it in your hands, and ask
yourself, "Does it spark joy?"
Marie Kondo's mantra
is now my mantra. My family happened to be moving back into our newly
remodeled house at the same time that Kondo's book "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering
and Organizing" hit the bestseller lists. As we unpacked endless piles of
boxes, I began to realize that KonMari was on to something. I loved the feeling
of openness and possibility in our new (mostly empty) home, and I could feel
that clarity clouding up with each load of boxes. So I decided to give the
Shinto-based practices a try.
An embroidered silk dress worn to a
wedding six years ago sparked joy. Too-tight designer jeans only sparked shame.
Bulky kitchen contraptions reminded me of frustration. And beautiful kitchen
towels, gently folded and rolled Kondo-style, made me ridiculously giddy for
reasons I can't quite explain.
As I zealously explained the KonMari
method to my husband, he asked, "What if the items that bring you joy aren't
the same things that bring me joy?"
Like my six pairs of black heels.
They all bring me joy, in their own way. And believe me, after I discarded three
of my five black cardigans, I was definitely feeling un-joyful when I couldn't
find the right thing to wear on a chilly evening. I admit … I have more happy shoes
than can fit in my closet, and that drives my husband nuts.
I don't know how to teach (my son) how to differentiate between things are truly meaningful and things that are merely cool.
Not that he doesn't have a few
things that are annoying to me. Like the sweetly scented candles that keep
popping up all over the house. I'm partially to blame for this, as I given him
a few jars scented like sugar cookies, hazelnut mochas and apple pie over the
years. And the paperback classics that could be readily obtained at any library
or bookstore, should anyone feel compelled to re-read "The Hobbit." And can we
talk about the free bobble head from a baseball game over a decade ago? At
least he neatly packs a lot of his stuff away, although Kondo says that's a no-no.
I honestly think some people have a
hoarding gene and some people don't. My older son's dresser is as minimal as a
monk's, while his younger brother's is an altar to excess, 10-year-old style:
storm trooper figurines, half-woven Rainbow Loom projects and kendamas. In his
mind, he really thinks each and every one of those objects adds joy to his
life. I don't know how to teach him how to differentiate between things are
truly meaningful and things that are merely cool.
Marie Kondo doesn't have any
children of her own, but she does have three more tidying up tomes in the
works. Will one of them hold the secrets to teaching my husband and kids how we
can all be joyful together?