What sparks your joy?

Tidying UpI finally did it. I’ve watched episodes of The Art of Tidying up with Marie Kondo. I’ve talked about it. I’ve encouraged others to do it. I fully embraced the idea on behalf of other people. In fact, I embraced it within my own home…everywhere but my closet. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Let me take that back, I did, but not the full, throw your clothes in the middle of the room and start from scratch version.

Until yesterday. I was having breakfast with a girlfriend who has done significant cleaning out of her closet. She spoke of how freeing it was. How happy she was to enter her closet in the morning and not spend hours debating what to wear. I recall reading during the Obama presidency that Barrack had a standard look, nearly always wearing the same style and material — a two-button, single-breasted suit jacket and single pleated pant with inch-and-a-quarter cuffs. It was called “The Obama Suit.” He’d mix it up by switching his tie, blue or red. That’s it. With the number of critical decisions, he had to make each day, he said he wanted to eliminate what to wear from the equation. If the leader of the free world could simplify his wardrobe, there was hope for me.

I was finally convinced, or maybe better said, resigned, to ‘Sparking Joy’ in my closet. (If you’re unfamiliar, Marie says to hold each item and ask yourself if it sparks joy.) Admittedly, I have an attachment to my clothes. I converted a spare bedroom into a Diva Den/ closet…it’s my happy space. I have enjoyed procuring my wardrobe. The sales, the deals, the beautiful items. But over the years, even though I have cleaned it out here and there, I haven’t really combed through and given away the items that don’t serve me.

As I piled the clothes into the middle, I felt growing stress in my gut. I twinge that I was betraying them. They’d waited patiently to be worn, some longer than others. In Kondo’s method, you pick up each piece and decide if it sparks joy. If not, you thank it and put it in the giveaway pile. I put on my jammin’ girl anthem songs and got going. The fact that my anxiety level was mitigated only by dancing around my room told me I needed to do this. I discerned if I was feeling joy or was it just reflux with each item.

The giveaway pile grew and eventually I made it through everything on the floor and moved on to drawers. In the end, I amassed what I’d call a good-sized pile to give away. When I was done, I thought about the feelings I’d had during the process. The goal for me was to create happiness in my closet instead of feeling overwhelmed by decisions each time I went in to get dressed. Reduce decision fatigue and the body shaming that came from picking out an item only to have it not fit or fit poorly  -#midlifechallenges.

Goal accomplished. At least I think so. I think I still have a hangover from the stress of the process. I know it was supposed to spark joy, and I’m looking for it. Here’s what I know. The desire to reserve my energy for the positive aspects of life is compelling. I’m also weary of the feelings and negative self-talk when I get dressed in the morning. Did I spark joy? I’m going to say yes. Joy because I weeded through the feelings that had held me back from this process. Joy in taking bold steps towards what I want to have in my life.

What will bring you joy? It might not be your closet, but could you make a choice to surround yourself only with people and items that bring you joy? There are so many factors in life that we cannot control, but we can choose to bring joy into our surroundings. Look around you and ask yourself if you see joy. If not – get moving. Spark joy within yourself and then spread it to the people around you.


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