What Gives Me Joy, Anyway?

Chances are that you’ve taken a look at your closet and thought, “I’ve got to get rid of some of this stuff.” A good rule of thumb: If your clothes are so squished that you can’t see between them, you’re in trouble. And I’m in trouble, along with (I’m sure) millions of other Americans.

Along comes Marie Kondo, whose book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is a bestseller that’s garnered upwards of 13,000 reviews on Amazon, most of them positive. Kondo, a Japanese authority on decluttering and organizing, recommends throwing out, one substantial group at a time, the things that do not give you joy.

Great idea; never mind that the title of the book alone stresses me out. But I can see the point. Whenever I look at my closet, I can see lots of things that no longer give me joy; I’m ready to do it!

But then I take a closer look and find that even the ugliest blouse I own (purple – yes, purple) suddenly gives me joy. I can’t possibly get rid of it. And so all the way down the line – the gray cardigan I no longer wear; the black skirt I’ve had since 2008. All of them joyous. So how come I don’ t feel very joyous myself?

I think the secret might be that although tidying up can be magic, it’s never easy. And if it’s easier for you to get rid of one or two things at a time, so be it. Ask a friend to help you, and vice versa. It’s guaranteed that she’ll have a better eye than you.

So I’m going ahead with my tidying up, although I prefer Kondo’s other word, “decluttering.” I’m starting small – say, five items at a time. It’s a time-consuming process, but if I don’t do it this way, I’ll never get it done, and my clothes will still be squished.

I’ve set this Saturday as my start date. I’m taking my items to Goodwill; foremost among them will be the ugliest thing I own. Goodbye, purple blouse – may your new owner find more joy in you than I did!

you may also like

Recipes We