Inspired by reading about Japanese tidying guru Marie Kondo, I embarked today upon a modified version of her KonMari method. I say "modified," because I have not bought the book, and I don't at the moment have the time to do what she really does. I am simply taking some little--okay, tiny--steps.
Kondo's central theme of "tidying up" is that everything around you
should "spark joy." From pieces of clothing to books to kitchen
utensils, each item in your home should give you a good feeling when you
touch it. If it doesn't, Kondo instructs you to "thank it for its service" and send it on its way.
The whole idea seems pretty extreme on a number of fronts. It's hard to
imagine a shoe rack or a can opener "sparking joy." And the process of
going through literally every object you own to assess its "sparking
joy" ability is a daunting one. But the joy thing kind of fascinates me, so
before I know it, I have emptied virtually every clothing drawer in my
bedroom, and am going through, piece by piece, to assess the "joy
factor." Within about an hour, I have filled two and a half
bags--clothes whose colors are faded or just bring me down. Pieces that
I can practically feel riding up my torso without even putting them on. Pieces
that are too big or too small or too reminiscent of times I would rather
not remember. And items that spark, well, nothing at all. What goes
back in the drawers is still probably more than it should be, and
definitely not folded the KonMari way (that is another lesson for
another day). But my hour or two of "joy sparking"'exploration is a
real eye opener. Clearly, I (and probably most of us) surround myself
with all sorts of things, acquired out of real or perceived necessity
and kept because, well, "why not?" How often do we really look at how
our things affect our lives? We are so busy looking for joy in what we
do, we rarely even consider that we start from a place filled with
necessity rather than joy.
Clearly, the KonMari process will be a long one for me, and one not
nearly as focused as it's supposed to be. But just an hour today was a
start. If we can assess the items that surround us, we can be that much
closer to the feeling of joy that we would like to surround us.
Beginning with each and every thing we touch.