Tidying Up & Sparking Joy

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Tidying up to spark joy makes perfect sense, to anyone who is familiar with Marie Kondo. She authored the best selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up. Marie helps people declutter their homes and their lives, through the simple yet profound art of tidying up.

Netflix showcases the KonMari techniques in their new exclusive series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

I binge watched season one over the weekend.

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Netflix summarizes the show with these words:

“In a series of inspiring home makeovers, world renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out the clutter…and choose joy.”

Marie loves a mess! This petite woman, who possesses an enchanting child-like sense of joy and wonder, enjoys helping people let go of the stuff that clutters up their homes. Show her a room piled with shoes, books, papers and knickknacks, and she claps her hands with delight.

In each of the eight episodes, Marie guides clients through the exact same process that results in less stuff…and happier people. She begins with sorting through clothes, touching every single sock, shirt or pair of jeans, then moves through books, papers, miscellaneous items and finally, sentimental pieces.

As they sort through belongings, the key to releasing the excess requires holding each item, to see if it sparks joy. To make the process easier, Marie starts with an item that the owner feels strong happiness and joy for. If the person does not feel joy, the item is thanked, sincerely, and then placed into a give away or a throw away pile. The pieces that spark joy remain, and a specific place is created for it, enforcing the proverbial saying,

“A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Sparking Joy

Marie understands something that I’ve come to understand as well. Everything is energy. And different items vibrate at different frequencies. Love and joy vibrate at the high end, frequency wise, while fear and hate dwell at the lower range. She also recognizes that clutter clogs up energy, while clearing space frees that energy to flow.

Most people are affected by that heavy, stagnant energy that clutter fosters, whether they realize it or not. An untidy room, clogged with stuff, doesn’t feel good. In episode after episode, that truth uncovers people living under stress, or feeling defeated and irritable, because of the excess in their homes. That clutter affects their lives, so much so that they consider Marie a blessing when she shows up with her boxes and cheerful advice.

It makes sense, then, that choosing to surround themselves with items that spark joy creates happier people who feel less stress. They also feel like they’ve taken back control over their own lives. Many struggled as they sorted through piles…and piles…and piles…of possessions. Some cried. Couples argued. Ultimately, they found their way through all the emotions connected with the stuff that cluttered and weighed down their lives…and let go.

The show is a fascinating peek into hearts and emotions, not an “oh my what a mess” judgment party. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo inspired me.

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy in My Sock Drawer

I read Marie’s book several years ago, and sorted through items in my home at that time. The thing is, tidying is an ongoing process. Once a year, typically around Christmas, I sort through clothes and books and papers and miscellaneous items, and declutter. I can now see the many benefits of keeping my home tidy on a daily basis.

Inspired, desiring to spark joy, I pulled out my sock drawer, pictured above.

Marie suggests folding the clothes that are kept in drawers or on shelves. Smooth them, then fold to make a square or rectangle shape that can stand up in drawers or in boxes on shelves. Marie loves sorting items into small boxes. Note to self: pick up more boxes and bins.

My socks are a jumbled mess in the drawer, which is so full I can barely close it. I know better than to wad socks up like that, into a ball. And yet, there they are.

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Folding Socks the KonMari Way

I dumped the socks onto the bed and separated all of them. Single socks without a match, holey socks and those that did not spark joy, went into the trash bin. The rest I smoothed and paired together, and then folded over, once or twice, depending on the length of the sock.

The folded socks went back into the drawer, standing up in neat rows. It only takes a few moments to fold socks this way. And what a difference, in the drawer.

Did my socks spark joy? Yes. I appreciate the comfy ankle socks that I wear in the summer, with sneakers. The fun plaid socks and the Harry Potter socks, purchased in London, England, spark great joy and a sense of playfulness. I even felt joy over the grungy heavier socks that I wear when I garden. These are destined for the trash bin soon, however they are perfect for wearing while I work outside. With them, it doesn’t matter that my gardening shoes get full of dirt!

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Tidying Up My Home

Satisfied with a neatly organized sock drawer, my intention is to continue tidying, until I’ve moved through all five categories, and through all the rooms of my house. While I’m not clapping my hands, like Marie, over messy drawers and closets, I feel excited about keeping the high level energy flowing through my home.

I get it. I really do. I’m sensitive to energy and a cluttered room, a cluttered home, doesn’t feel good to me and doesn’t create a supportive environment. Rather than waiting until I can’t stand the “ugh” feeling any longer, I’m motivated to tidy up now, and experience that magic. Tidying up and sparking joy? Oh yes. I’m in.

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Pick up a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or read my brief book review.

And, check out these storage boxes and cubes, to help with organizing small items.

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Series Review: The Haunting of Hill House

I heard much about this new Netflix original series, and saw a couple of trailers for The Haunting of Hill House, before it premiered this month. Typically I don’t watch scary movies, if they are primarily geared toward gore or making the audience jump. However, this series is based upon the 1959 gothic horror novel by Shirley Jackson, which is considered one of the best literary ghost stories ever published.

The Haunting of Hill House inspired other authors and filmmakers, such as Stephen King, and generated two films before Netflix created the ten episode series. The first Haunting of Hill house film, released in 1963, was in turns terrifying to me and fascinating. It scared me, as a child who experienced hauntings of my own, and yet I could not look away. With these connections to the story, I had to see this newest creation.

Series Review The Haunting of Hill House

Cast and Crew

The Haunting of Hill House stars Timothy Hutton, Henry Thomas, Carla Gugino, Michiel Huisman, Paxton Singleton, Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Kate Siegel, McKenna Grace, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Julian Hilliard, Victoria Pedretti, and Violet McGraw. The horror/drama, created and directed by Mike Flanagan, carries a MA rating for scary scenes, adult themes, language and violence, and each episode has a run time of 50 minutes.

The Story of Hill House

Hugh Crain (Thomas and Hutton) and his wife Olivia (Gugino) purchase a huge old mansion that has been vacant for many years. Known by the locals as Hill House, Hugh and Liv intend to restore the property to its former glory and then flip it. Selling this house takes the Crains one step closer to building and settling into their dream home. Hugh doesn’t pay attention to the fact that everyone who is familiar with the house refuses to stay in it after dark. Even its long time caretakers make sure they are away before the sun sets. Hugh and Liv move in with their five young children…Steven (Huisman and Singleton), Shirley (Reaser and Wilson), Theodora (Siegel and Grace), Luke (Jackson-Cohen and Hilliard) and Nell (Pedretti and McGraw).

The story moves back and forth between the past and the present day, detailing the strange and disturbing events that took place in Hill House and showing how they affected the children into their adulthood. The haunting that takes place is not just a physical occurrence that stigmatizes the house, it has psychological and emotional consequences that remain with the former occupants all of their lives. The story is as much, or perhaps even more so, about how the family learns to deal with the trauma, guilt and shame that overshadows each of them, as it is what creeps about in Hill House.

Series Review The Haunting of Hill House

Thoughts on The Haunting of Hill House

I don’t want to talk about the storyline any more than that brief summary. This is a series that is best viewed without a lot of prior knowledge. Watch it and experience it and let it unfold.

I will share some personal thoughts.

This is an extremely well done spooky series. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being “nah, it’s not scary at all” and 10 being “watch it with a friend during daylight hours” the scare factor hovers around a 3 or 4, for me. At times it elevates briefly to an 8. And at times it isn’t scary at all. It’s sad and troubling. As a bonus, Netflix creates an incredible backdrop for the action that is full of dark surprises. Many of those extra details escape the human eye initially, although the viewer may wonder why they suddenly feel the hair rising on the back of the neck.

What I love most about this series is that it tells a story about family relationships. The first five episodes focus on each of the children, and we see what happens, at Hill House and later in their lives, from their unique perspectives. We see how the children relate to each other and the past, and how some were affected more greatly by the haunting than others were.

Many times my eyes filled with tears, as raw emotions bubbled up in Shirley or Theo or Luke, feelings such as anger, fear, resentment, sibling love and bonding, sibling rivalry and jealousy. Every child had a role that they fulfilled when they were young. As adults they realize how much those roles were shaped by what they encountered and experienced.

Series Review The Haunting of Hill House

We Are All Haunted

Ghosts and jumps and bumps in the night aside, The Haunting of Hill House reminds me that we are all haunted to some extent by our pasts. Until we work to free ourselves from those troubling episodes that we’ve all had, they will continue to affect us and shape us.

I’ve seen this as true in my own life, from the fears I carried forward from my childhood to my fierce independence to the way I handle current situations, if I allow myself to fall back into default mode. Exorcising the ghosts from our pasts clears the way for light and wholeness and fresh ways to respond to events.

Such revelations make The Haunting of Hill House a powerful series to watch and re-watch. Netflix got it right. Still, even with all the insights and the deeper stories, I’d recommend viewing the first few episodes during the day! It is a haunting story, after all.

Series Review The Haunting of Hill House



Series Review: Lost in Space

I was seven years old when the original sci-fi series Lost in Space premiered. A year later, Star Trek beamed into our televisions as well. Although as a teen, Star Trek, in syndication by then, became my favorite show, as a child it scared me. Lost in Space was more child friendly and in spite of the weekly warning from the robot…Danger, Will Robinson…it seemed to present a safer future ahead.

Netflix just released a reboot of Lost in Space, as an original series on its network. All 10 episodes of season one are available to watch. I viewed the first two episodes over the weekend.

Series Review Lost in Space

Lost in Space stars Toby Stephens, Molly Parker, Maxwell Jenkins, Taylor Russell, Mina Sundwall, Ignacio Serricchio, Parker Posey and Brian Steel. The series carries a PG-13 rating, for adult themes and intense actions scenes, and each episode has a run time of 1 hour.

John (Stephens) and Maureen (Parker) Robinson have left Earth behind in the hopes of colonizing a new world with a group of scientists and military personnel. Their three children, Judy (Russell), Penny (Sundwall) and Will (Jenkins) are accompanying them, making it a family adventure.

But in the expanse of deep space, far from Earth and not yet within range of the colony, disaster strikes. The ship transporting the colonists comes under alien attack. Families jettison from the collapsing carrier in smaller Jupiter class ships. The Robinsons crash land on an unknown planet, under harsh conditions.

Series Review Lost in Space

They aren’t alone. Two other survivors, Major Don West (Serricchio) and Dr. Smith (Posey) are also searching for colonists who crashed on the planet. And a synthetic robotic creature (body work done by Brian Steel) crawled out of his downed ship as well. He appears to be the one who caused the mother ship’s destruction, but his circuitry is scrambled, wiping his memory banks. When he encounters young Will Robinson, the two form an alliance and the robot joins the Robinsons.

Series Review Lost in Space

The first priority is survival on the hostile planet as the Robinsons get their small ship operational again. Danger is everywhere, from the unpredictable weather to unstable terrain, and within the lies of some of the survivors, who aren’t who they pretend to be. Even Will’s robotic friend carries secrets that could ultimately threaten them all. Being lost is the least of the Robinsons’ concerns.

In spite of some low reviews that I read, I like this reboot. The original series was fun, although a bit cheesy. This retelling of the story is darker, with more intensity and much, MUCH higher quality special effects. The Robinsons are a more typical family, meaning dysfunctional. Mom and Dad vie for control of their children, creating a great deal of tension between them. There’s the smart med student daughter, the younger daughter who hasn’t discovered her place in the world yet, and the son who feels inadequate for this mission.

Series Review Lost in Space

Series Review Lost in Space

Being only two episodes in, Don hasn’t had much character development yet. And he hasn’t actually connected with the Robinsons, having been abandoned by Dr. Smith, who is female in this newest version. She is a mix of contradictions and manipulations. Sometimes sinister, sometimes pitiable, it will be interesting to watch her work her way into the Robinsons’ favor, while carrying out her own agenda.

I like that Netflix makes all the episodes of a season available at once. I rarely binge watch a show, preferring to draw out the experience by viewing one or two episodes at a time. I’ll savor Lost in Space as it transports me back nostalgically to the 60s, and takes me on an exciting new futuristic adventure.

Series Review Lost in Space