First of all, this book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
By now, everyone has heard of this book–and for a good reason. The author, Marie Kondo’s simple philosophy of tidying up (letting go) is as simple as it is brilliant. Many of us unconsciously clutter our lives up with things, and before we know it, we can hardly close the doors on our closets. I look at my bulging dresser drawers and think, “Seriously, does a person really need 3 winter beanies and 15 bras??”
I thought about her simple philosophy, and realized it could easily be used in so many other aspects of our lives that need “cleaning up”. The basic principals of Kondo’s method are in the feeling it evokes when we ask:
“Does this spark joy?”
If it doesn’t spark joy, we let go of the object by saying, “Thank you for the time I spent with you, now it’s time for me to move on”. If it does spark joy, however, we keep it and we treat it kindly in our folded, hung up or sushi rolled aspects. I realized, while going through my own piles of clothing how few items I owned actually brought me “joy”.
“What is joy in relation to a thing?”, I asked. ‘Joy’ is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Honestly, I don’t own many things that actually evoke this great sense of pleasure and happiness. Toss.
What I love about Marie’s approach is that it follows more of an emotional response to something, rather than the sensible, analytical response that can sometimes be fueled by fear or “lack”. Sometimes it’s better to explore the way we “feel” about something, rather than come up with a million different reasons why it should/could fit into our world. (i.e. We might wear it again, I’ve had it since high school, it has sentimental value, it was a gift and I’ll feel guilty getting rid of it, etc.)
This got me thinking about other ways I can kind of incorporate this philosophy into other areas of my life such as job, career, commitments, friendships, etc. With a simple question as “Does this bring me joy?”, we can quickly discover what needs to be “discarded” from (or changed) in our life. We can express our gratitude for the time something was in our life and allow ourselves to let go of it, if it is not bringing us joy.
We may find ourselves in a situation where we are going through the motions of prior commitments, holding on for the sake of holding on, or stuck in a job that robs us of our joy, and instead of counting the many reasons why we need this thing, we can simply make the decision to let go and move on.
Of course, this is a loose interpretation but I do think it’s a great eye-opener for anyone who is unsure of her attachment to something. Obviously, it doesn’t apply to everything in our lives such as tossing out or replacing our car because we wish we had something newer, but rather the choice to remove (or change) something from our life that is otherwise weighing us down.