spark joy: create home thru konmari

photo credit: @booksamillion

In the first Enjoy Life Project on the blog, we are working on Creating Home, one of my intentions for 2019. The first step for me is to purge my home of the unnecessary. I am choosing to use the KonMari method, developed by Marie Kondo, a Japanese decluttering guru and author of two book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up {LM} and Spark Joy {SJ} that I read over three years ago. (You can check out my intro about why it took me three years to do this.) After completing her first two all important steps: (1) Commit to the process and (2) Visualize our destination, our next step is to purge our belongings.

Before we jump into the criteria for purging our belongings, I wanted to share with you guys what happened when I took some extra time to visualize my destination. Marie strongly encourages us to make this visualization as vivid as possible.

I was continuing my research in preparation for this project, and I happen to do some right before I went to sleep.  While I was sleeping, I had the most vivid dream.  I was preparing to leave my home for the day and I opened my closet was greeted by an overwhelming sense of serenity.  Everything had its place and everything was in its place.  My beloved faux leather jackets (yes, I love them so much I purchased two of them) hung next to perfectly fitting jeans. Underneath, my shoe collection waited patiently for me to select which pair would support me that day.  I opened a drawer lined in a beautiful light-colored patterned which contrasted beautifully with my folded black tops and underthings.  On the dresser was a lovely picture of the Buddy and the hubby, my favorite perfume, and a vase of flowers. What was the most palpable was the sense of sheer happiness and tranquility that I felt in my spirit. I woke up with that feeling, wanting that feeling to stay with me. That’s what this whole project of “creating home” is all about.


The ability to keep what sparks joy and chuck the rest. According to Marie, this is one of only two skills necessary to put the house in order.

She points out, “people cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking” and instead of focusing on what to get rid of, she recommends one tiny tweak. We are choosing what to keep.

SIDEBAR: Worried that perhaps you haven’t yet changed your mindset? No worries. According to Marie, tidying in one go (within six months) can do that for you because the change is so profound that it touches your emotions which changes your mind for you.

We chose what to keep by deciding to keep those things that “spark joy”.

That’s it. There are no other criteria.

In fact, she states that the moment you begin to think about how to decide what to keep, that is the moment that you are off course and headed for rebound-the necessity of having to complete the entire tidying process again. Personally, I don’t want to clean out my closet again. I have been doing cleaning out my closet for 17 years! I am tired of it.  Aren’t you?

In Spark Joy, Marie states:

Feelings of fascination, excitement, or attraction are not the only indicators of joy.  A simple design that puts you at ease, a high degree of functionality that makes life simpler, a sense of rightness, or the recognition that a possession is useful in our daily lives – these, too, indicate joy.  [Emphasis provided]

But for other things, joy will be indicated by the thrill of the touch. You will just know. A la my leather jackets. The process of discarding is also called a “joy check”.  I really like that.

If you are afraid that you do not know what gives you joy, she recommends finding something that you know you really really really like.  And then compare how you feel about it to the other item that you are not sure about it.  As you go through this process your “joy meter” will be honed and distinguishing what gives you joy will become easier and easier.

I feel that I have a pretty good idea about what sparks joy for me.  My difficulty will be in “chucking” the rest.  I tend to be a bit of a pack-rat. I always think that I will need something or that I will wish that I had kept it. I think this will be my main challenge.

I’m excited! Let’s see how we do. Do you know what sparks joy for you?

The first category is clothes, which I intend to do this weekend.  As stated above, per Marie, the process of tidying the entire home should take place within a six month period.  On her show on Netflix, I saw a couple complete it within a month.  There may have been some sleepless nights involved with that one. Momentum is very important and she recommends that once you complete one category, you move on to the next one on her list quickly, using the same criteria: does the item “spark joy”. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take me but I would like to be finish in about three months.

enjoy life…

Next post in the series:

Clothes, Part I

book review: “the happiness project”

At the beginning of 2011, I wasn’t in a good place.  I had a wonderful life (a pretty decent job, a wonderful husband) but I was feeling blah! My sister had just gotten a new puppy, Radar, but needing to go back to work. He was still too young to be left at home alone.  So, I drove up to nanny.  While I was there, she asked me if I had read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. I had not.  When she went to sleep, I stayed awake and read the first chapter: “Getting Started”. It set off the waterworks.

I am happy – but I’m not as happy as I should be.  I have such a good life, I want to appreciate it more – and live up to it better. I had a hard time explaining it.  I complain too much, I get annoyed more than I should.  I should be more grateful.  I think it felt happier, I’d behave better.”

She introduced a word that I had never heard of before: malaise – a recurrent sense of discontent and almost a feeling of disbelief.  That was what I was feeling.  I had to have this book! And I went out the next day and bought my own copy.

Every month, Gretchen tackled a new category: January – Boost Energy where she tried to form habits like going to sleep earlier and tackling a nagging task. And in February – Remember Love, she tried to give proofs of love and quit nagging.  So on and so forth.

At that time, I was convinced (note that I said at THAT time) I was a very logical person – a left-brain, definitely.  And Gretchen was approaching this very subjective topic of happiness in a logical, systematic, and determined way. I don’t know how to make you understand how much that appealed to me. It was definitely what I needed at the time.

The results of Gretchen’s work have become permanent fixtures in my life.

Her concept of writing personal commandments, “personal overarching principles that can guide decision making”, appealed and I have slowly developed my own over the years.  They include: Be authentic and Find the Peace. Her quote: “the days are long but the years are short” has been a refrain that I utter every week as I make it through the day.

Gretchen took her happiness project and focused on the details of habit formation in her next book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives.  That led her to seek to understand why it was so much easier for some people to form habits than others which led to her next bestseller, The Four Tendencies. I’m an Obliger and that knowledge has led to some amazing realizations in my life, albeit a conversation for another day.

You can’t go wrong reading any of these three books if you are interested in becoming happier and forming habits that have a decent chance of sticking.

til tomorrow, enjoy life

Catch up on the rest of this series – This Bookman: Meditations & Miscellany.

what i’m into – that’s keeping me sane {january 2018}

fcshare-5QoIrLqNI was so thrilled and honored to have my article, Overhauling My Concentric Circle of Responsibilitypublished on Rocket City Mom earlier this month.  Take a minute (OK, maybe five; it’s rather long) to see what I planned to do this year.


“After a lifetime of believing that the voices that mattered were Out There, approving or disapproving of me, I’m learning [to listen] to trust the voice within, the voice of God’s Spirit, the whisper of my own soul.”
– Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect

This is keeping me sane in a very literal and real way.

What’s keeping you sane? enjoy life…