Do you ever look at all the STUFF you have and think, “Where are the days when people had two outfits, a plate for each person, and a Bible?” Man, those sound good sometimes.
So here I sit in my room, on my bed. Typing. I do that a lot… typing. I get tunnel vision while I’m typing for a reason. All the stuff around me presses in on me sometimes.
Look. We have a big family (at one point 11 in the house… now 8) and 1100 sq. ft. That’s right. At one point, we had exactly 100sq. ft. per person. No. Joke. Oh yeah. And one bathroom. With seven daughters. Just sayin’.
Our bedroom is 12×14. It holds a bed, a corner office, bookshelves around the room by the ceiling (think Vannie’s shelves in Ready or Not) and craft shelves and such along one wall. It’s a LOT of stuff in one room. And you know what? I don’t need it all.
I read a book last August. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of it. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Look, it’s a good book. There’s a LOT in there that really resonated with me. There are other things–not so resonating. But aside from time wasters like “unpack your entire purse every night and repack it in the morning”, it had a lot of important reminders in it.
The big one: Ask yourself the question: “Does this spark joy?”
There have been online debates about that question. You know, “But I NEED my stupid nebulizer/toilet brush/industrial-sized-fan-that-sounds-like-a-turbine-engine but those don’t ‘spark joy.'” Look. I saw it as “does joy come FROM the use of this?” I mean, no. I’m not in love with my nebulizer. But man, I do love how I feel when I can breathe. So yeah. In a round about way, it sparks joy. Ugly thing that it is. Toilet brush? Gross. But dirty toilets are grosser. So yeah. The RESULTS of owning and using one spark that joy. So it’s a keeper and the whole family gets joy from the thing’s existence. That fan? It’s ugly. It’s loud. It does NOT make me happy to see it at the end of my bed (really should take a picture of that sometime). But you know what it DOES do? It helps Kevin and I get the uninterrupted sleep we need. And we’re much more pleasant for it. I guarantee you that THIS sparks joy in the rest of the family. So yeah. It stays.
But I’m looking at this photo easel right now. I bought it to take pictures of my cards. I don’t use it. Guess what NEEDS to go? It doesn’t “spark joy” and it isn’t being used. It’s just taking up valuable real estate in the bookcase under my window. And you know what else? It’s ugly.
Next to it… A box I bought on vacation. Still wrapped in the paper they packaged it with when I bought it. Three years ago. No. Joke. It’s gonna go. Bye. Bye. Box. (Anyone want a carved wooden box from Minnesota? Leave a comment. Guess something about it–how big, what kind of wood (is it even real wood or resin? I don’t remember!) What’s carved on it? Just gimme an answer, and the closest one wins. I’ll pop it in the mail. Something you might love and more space for me.
You know, this “spark joy” thing is exactly what motivated Kaye in De-cluttering Junkie. She felt the opposite–NO JOY from the constant barrage of stuff that was always smothering those sparks that other things tried to offer. So she worked at eradicating things form her life, and like Marie Kondo, sometimes she went overboard. But the reason was solid. To weed out that which chokes the life from a home and enjoy that which waters and helps the family flourish.
This week we’re up to De-cluttering Junkie Episode 5. It is FREE for a limited time on Kindle.
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