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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Journey 316: From this Moment EmergingĀ 

Today I only had one appointment, late in the day, a final walk through with buyers before we close in the morning. With chunks of free time before me, I was delighted by the delicious prospect of reading in my current stack of books. I had a similar day, back on Journey 95. I enjoyed that so much, I decided to do something similar. As I’ve noted before, I read multiple books at a time, enjoying the way the messages from each book combine to bring inspiration into my life. Of the six or seven books that I am currently reading, here are the four that I savored today. 


The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

I’ve shared about this phenomenal book that offers a twelve week course, designed to remove the limitations that block creativity. I am on week two, day 12, and I have done the Morning Pages, three pages of free writing, twelve times. I’ve taken myself on two artist dates so far. This afternoon I had the opportunity to do my assignments for this week. 

What I’m receiving from this book:

Julia, with the Morning Pages, the weekly Artist Date and the assignments, has already helped me deeply reconnect with my creative side. I love the dates with myself and look forward to them each Sunday afternoon. I am having fun with my creativity and expressing it in multiple ways. 

Quote from today’s reading: 

“In order to be an artist, I must be alert, always, for the presence of the Great Creator leading and helping my artist.”

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Written to encourage readers to embrace the creative life, whether as a writer, artist, musician or any of the myriad other ways creativity can be expressed, Liz gives us permission to move boldly beyond fear and infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion. 

What I’m receiving from this book:

I didn’t realize that I needed permission to live as my creative self, but I feel like I have been given that slip of paper that grants freedom. My biggest take away so far from this book, which has changed the way I view my writing in particular, is to do what I do for the simple joy of creating. I don’t want to put the expectation on my writing, or other creative endeavors, to support me. I will support them. The most important thing I can do right now is express myself and enjoy that process. The outcomes will take care of themselves.

Quote from today’s reading:

On perfection, and her first novel…”At 75 pages in, I nearly stopped. It felt too terrible to continue, too deeply embarrassing. But I pushed through my own shame only because I decided that I refused to go to my grave with 75 pages of an unfinished manuscript sitting in my desk drawer. I did not want to be that person. The world is filled with too many unfinished manuscripts as it is and I didn’t want to add another one to that bottomless pile. So no matter how much I thought my work stank, I had to persist.” 


One Spirit Medicine by Alberto Villoldo

Drawing on more than 25 years of experience as  a medical anthropologist, as well as his own journey back from the edge of death, this shamanic teacher shares how to detoxify the brain and body with superfoods and how to use the body’s own energy field to heal the body. 

What I’m receiving from this book:

I bought this book earlier this year, began reading it, and set it aside. My recent bout with severe sciatica has once again brought my awareness back to how I care for my body, or don’t care for it. I’m knowledgeable about how eating certain foods affects my health. But this book goes way beyond a healthy diet. As one who is aware of and interested in energy work, I’m excited to learn more about working with my body and soul to live in optimal health. 

Quote from today’s reading:

“Every schoolchild knows the value of green plants in the diet. What most of us don’t realize is that plants provide vital information to the body beyond simply ensuring a balanced diet. Scientists have found that plants are master regulators of gene expression in humans. They have the power to switch on the genes that create health and to switch off the genes that create cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many of the other ailments of civilization.”


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Marie is a Japanese cleaning consultant who takes tidying up to a whole new level. She offers detailed guidance for determining which items to keep in your home, by giving them the “spark joy” test. A decluttered home allows you to enjoy a calm and motivated mindset, and the unique magic of a tidy, organized home. 

What I’m receiving from this book:

My daughter Elissa found this book, which has been perfect for me. I have desired to decluttered my house and display and use keepsakes and family heirlooms that I keep. Marie’s test for whether to keep an item, or discard or give it away, is simple. Hold the item. If it sparks joy, keep it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. If the item has been used and enjoyed in the past, Marie suggests thanking the item for its usefulness and then releasing it to go elsewhere. I like that expression of gratitude and the recognition that everything, even inanimate objects, have energy. 

Quote from today’s reading:

“Let me share a secret. Putting your house in order is fun! The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner life, a rite of passage to a new life.” 

All four books that I read from today are about examining my inner life, with resulting outward expressions of creativity, joyful freedom, optimal health and a tidy home. Each of those is an amazing journey in itself. Combined, they are creating powerful and exciting shifts in my life. 

Stephen Nachmanovitch wrote, “The noun of self becomes a verb. This flashpoint of creation in the present moment is where work and play merge.” From this present moment of work and play merging, I am emerging.