It’s hard not to be aware of the whole “sparking joy” movement. If it wasn’t Marie Kondo’s best selling Life-changing Magic: A Journal : Spark Joy Every Day book, it’s her new series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix. Her programs show everyday people using her techniques to downsize, minimalize and create peaceful environments. One of her basic principles is to touch everything, and if you feel joy, keep it, and you don’t feel joy, thank the item for its use and donate or dispose of it. All my adult moves have been corporate moves, so there’s been little motivation (or time) to actually purge belongings before someone arrived to pack up everything and physically move it onto the moving van for us. But, I went through an unexpected divorce recently (more on that in another post!), and, like most divorced folks, I found myself relocating to a small home. There’s probably no better opportunity to use her techniques than moving your household from over 3000 square feet of living space to just over 1000 square feet!!! What better time than to touch everything and decide its fate!! YAY! Downsizing! YAY! Keeping only the things for my “new” life! YAY! Someone could use these things I no longer need! YAY! I’ll finally get organized and see what’s in the boxes still unopened from the last move. YAY! My life will be so much more peaceful for this exercise. Well, it’s not YAY! (At least not for me.) This has proven to be one of the most difficult and upsetting processes I’ve gone through. I like my things. Items related to my children, especially, spark joy. A friend was helping me go through papers, and actually thought it was ok to toss the newborn hearing test from my now 20-yr old son. “Why do you need this? You know he can hear,” my friend asked. “There was a period of Xbox obsession that may contradict that belief,” I jokingly replied. Truth is, because his dad is hearing impaired, I remember the relief getting the positive test results back. I reluctantly agreed the decades old paper could go. And I continued to think about it for hours. Later that night, I actually got up and dug it out of the bag of papers. It didn’t spark joy to get rid of it, so I was supposed to keep it, right? That’s kind of how this whole process is going.
I’m trying, Marie. I’m trying.