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Does It Spark Joy? What That Means (And Why You Should Care)

A few years ago, all of the buzz around home organization had to do with Marie Kondo and her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Now, the KonMari method has come to the small screen, taking Netflix by storm with the new show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
In the show, Marie visits homes that are in some serious need of decluttering and organization. But the KonMari method isn’t necessarily about throwing away as much as possible. Rather, it’s about keeping the right things—specifically, the things that “spark joy.” The idea is that if you keep only these things, your life and your home will be full of things that make you feel happy, calm, and peaceful.
The concept of “sparking joy” may sound simple at first, but, based on examples from the show and on Marie’s own words, it’s not very easy to implement.
We wanted to take a closer look at this approach to decluttering, to find out how it can help families have tidier, happier homes.

What does “spark joy” really mean?

At the most basic level, something that “sparks joy” brings you a feeling of happiness when you see, wear, or use it.

Why is it hard to decide which things spark joy?

It’s easy to look at your closet full of clothes and think, “ALL these clothes make me happy. I wouldn’t have bought them otherwise.” But in the KonMari method, “sparking joy” isn’t so much a mental experience as it is an emotional one. That is, the only things worth keeping are the ones that make you feel joyful—not the ones that you think should bring you joy or used to bring you joy.

How do I find the things that spark joy?

The KonMari method requires that you sort your items into categories (e.g. clothing), and pile everything in your house that belongs in that category into one big heap. Then, hold every item in the pile, one-by-one, to determine whether or not that item sparks joy in you. If it does, keep it. If not, it’s time to thank it and let it go.

What if I have a hard time knowing if something sparks joy?

You probably will. Marie says that the feeling is one you have to train yourself to recognize, and that it gets easier over time. (That’s why, when she’s helping to clear out an entire house, she saves sentimental items to the very end, when a client’s “spark joy” sense is more finely tuned.)
One way to get started is to find your very favorite item in that category (e.g. your favorite shirt), hold it, and recognize the feeling it gives you. Think about why you love it so much. Try to memorize that feeling as you sort through the rest of your items. If an item brings up a similar feeling, it’s sparking joy!

What if something doesn’t spark joy, but I still don’t want to get rid of it?

Marie suggests offering a heartfelt “thank you” to every item you get rid of, giving your “relationship” with that item a sense of closure, so you can truly let go of it. If an item doesn’t bring you joy anymore, but it has deep sentimental value, put it with the rest of your sentimental items, to be sorted through at the end of the process. Alternatively, you could use a self-storage unit to get the item out of your home, while still having access to it, if you ever need it.

Why should I try this?

As we mentioned before, the KonMari method is all about ending up with a home that is full of things that spark joy for you. Imagine being surrounded, all day, everyday, by things that you truly love and that make you deeply happy. That could make a profound difference in your mood, your family’s moods, and the energy in your home.
For more information about this method, and how the idea of “spark joy” can help your home, we highly recommend checking out Marie’s book or Netflix series. Hopefully, these resources will inspire you to create a tidy, happy home.
Arizona Storage Centers is here to help make that tidy home a reality. With secure self-storage units in a wide variety of sizes, we can help you store anything that you don’t want to keep in your home. Sentimental items, large pieces of furniture, documents, and more can be kept in a safe and accessible place, not far from your home. With centers in Phoenix, Glendale, Deer Valley, Chandler, and Gilbert, serving the entire Phoenix area. Visit one of our centers today, or call us at 480-386-6022 to learn about the difference self storage could make in your life.

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