Does it spark joy?

cool pattern on a potAlfred Hitchcock said, “Movies are like real life but with the boring parts cut out.” What things are you dragging along in your life that don’t serve you anymore? Why hang on to those things?

I just finished a book about decluttering called “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo. It’s hard to believe there’s enough advice on decluttering to fill a book, but there is.

Kondo is an expert at helping people declutter their homes and there’s a three-month waiting list for her help.

Her book covers her experiences and the techniques that she uses to help people streamline their accumulated stuff.

Her central technique is determining whether or not something “sparks joy.” If it does, keep it. Otherwise out it goes. When you hold something it should be bringing you surprise and delight, not a gotcha feeling arising from having to store and manage that thing.

According to Kondo sorting through your stuff should be treated as a one time event (a celebration of sorts) after which your decision making will be refined enough to prevent another build up of stuff that doesn’t spark joy in you.  “Why? Because tidying is not the purpose of life.” she says.

There’s an important hierarchy for sorting. She insists that the easiest stuff to get rid of be tackled first – your clothes. You need to save the hardest, photos, for last. Her reasoning is that you’ll be strengthening your decision making ability by following a particular order: clothes, books, papers, random stuff, sentimental possessions, and photos.

Another clever part of Kondo’s decluttering technique is bringing everything in a category, say clothes, to one spot in your house before deciding what stays or goes. In other words, don’t do your sorting room by room. All the clothes must be in one location.

She has other tips to make decluttering more successful. Do it alone, especially don’t let your Mom be there. Another is using black plastic bags for the discarded stuff to discourage “re-evaluating.”

This book is a great place to start when you’re ready to declutter your life. One of her client realized that, “Letting go is more important than adding.”

If simplicity really is the highest form of sophistication, start by getting rid of the boring parts.