What if "Spark Joy" Doesn't Work for You?

What if "spark joy" doesn't work for you? - A Side of Fabulous Blog

Recently I've had multiple clients conflicted over whether they should let go of practical things that they use on a regular basis, but don't "spark joy" as directed in Marie Kondo's extraordinarily popular organizing book "The Joy of Tidying Up." Then they get upset and feel that they can never be organized because the book didn't work for them. 

So what happens if "spark joy" doesn't work for you?

You'll probably burst into flames and then Kondo will come in, sweep you up, and tuck you away neatly into the trash. 


OK, probably not. 

"Spark Joy" is a delightful concept, but it is neither practical nor pragmatic. 

It's meant to focus on those strong, positive emotions - which is fabulous and I fully agree with - but in it, it ignores the neutral things that are useful, if mundane.

You probably have a number of things that don't particularly bring you joy, but you need and use them. Things like notepads, batteries, floss, paper towels, toilet paper, power strips...really I could go on and on about these neutral items that don't "spark joy" but they are damn useful and need to be kept. 

So what do we do instead? 

These 4 guidelines will simplify your purging process.

While it's not as catchy as "spark joy" it is more pragmatic and overall very successful. All items must fit these needs to take up precious real estate in your home. 

  • Need - Do you need this? Really need it, not "just in case" or "on a Tuesday when the Moon is full, and blue, and you've had sushi for dinner." 
  • Use - Do you use this item? When you use it, did it accomplish the task as well as you want it to? 
  • Love - Do you love it? Does it make you happy? (Note: my notepads themselves don't make me happy but I'm really unhappy if I don't have them to write on, so they stay...this is where need and use trump joy.) 
  • Has a place where it lives - Every item in your home must have a place where it lives. No homeless waifs allowed. 

By sticking to the "need, use, love, have a place where it lives" deciding system, you'll be able to better discern what stays, what goes, and clear clutter without worrying that your batteries don't make you happy. 

How do you decide what to keep and what to let go? Share with us in the comments!

Melinda Massie - A Side of Fabulous

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