Tuesday, June 21, 2016

#weread2016: Spark Joy

"Cleanliness is next to godliness," they say. While some people say that this is truth and can be found "somewhere" in Scripture, others will argue back and say that it is nowhere to be found. And they would be correct. While I do not believe that having a clean or tidy home means that you are more spiritual than your neighbor, I can make an argument for being a good steward of the possessions that God has allowed you to have.

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Some people are naturally able to clean well and keep their possessions nice and tidy. They are masters of organization and shudder at the mere thought of a dust bunny. Others live in a constant state of confusion in which it seems their possessions own them. I'd like to say that I'm somewhere in the middle. I definitely don't think of myself as a neat freak. However, I do not like to live among clutter and filth.

This year, I thought I would read the highly recommended The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo because I knew that one of our goals was to purchase a home. I wanted to ensure that when we moved into said home, we were able to get rid of any junk we didn't need and then organize our possessions in a way that made sense to us. I want a home that is inviting and cozy, not cluttered and overwhelming.

One day in Target (my happy place), I was perusing the books and came across Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. Because I have moved several times in the past few years, I have purged more than the average person. I knew that my possessions didn't own me, but I still wanted some help on making storage and organization systems.

And so I took this little nugget with me down to Orlando back in May. It was an easy read; I think I was able to read it in a matter of days. The approach Marie Kondo takes towards organization and tidying is somewhat extreme. She has some rather interesting ideas about material possessions- very much about the feng shui and spirits of things, which I'm definitely not. However, I like that she made it easy to take baby steps towards organizing and purging things that we hold on to unnecessarily out of a perceived need.



For instance, she discusses how many people love to keep old stuffed animals or gifts from an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. She explains that there are many things we want to hold on to because they remind us of certain seasons. For me, there are certain articles of clothing I have that were given to me by loved ones who are no longer living, and I wanted to hold on to them even though I no longer wear them. I was able to sort through my clothes and say goodbye to things that had served me well but I no longer needed. I still want to work through my closet one more time to make sure I've kept only the things I truly love. I've got a few things that I could probably still bear to part with, and I want to organize my dresser drawers and linen closet using her awesome folding method. My goal now is to work on the immense amount of papers and books that I have. I have so many things that I brought home from my classroom that I can't bear to part with yet, although I definitely purged quite a bit there. As I said above, I have purged so much, but have far to go. Sadly, I can't keep everything, and I shouldn't.

Spark Joy is a must read for anyone who would like to truly enjoy their home. Marie not only discusses the importance of loving the space you live in, but explains how the objects we hold dear tell a story. She writes, "Our things form a part of us, and when they're gone, they leave behind eternal memories." Getting control of our possessions helps us regain focus on what matters, which is often the people we hold dear. I'd say that's a win, wouldn't you?

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