Feb 24, 2016

Spark Joy - Alternately Titled "Jenn Rambles About Organization"

I'm reading Spark Joy, the new Marie Kondo book.  I know not everyone had the same love of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up that I did, BUT I think there are a lot of concepts that translate to everyone even if you don't want to be scolded about folding your socks "like lumpy potatoes" or told to speak to your possessions.

I followed through with the "tidy once" plan, and made a point to physically touch everything in the house and discard what I could.  I tried, especially with clothes and sentimental things, to really keep only the ones that brought joy, but there were tons of utilitarian objects that really just didn't make sense to get rid of.

Spark Joy deals with that stuff.  Kondo backpedals a little bit and says you can't really get rid of everything that doesn't give you joy but you can try to find joy in everything you own even if you're keeping it for a utilitarian reason.  And I like that idea a lot.  I don't love our tool kit, but I do greatly enjoy the paintings and d├ęcor we've hung with it, and I appreciate the problems we've been able to fix with it.  I don't love my socks, but I like having warm, unblistered feet, AND I do have a brand I prefer (Goldtoe, if you were curious).  I recently tossed out all my low-rise socks because I really do like the ankle ones better even if it's uncool to have socks visible past your shoes.

I liked a lot of the things Kondo said in the book, but there were also a few things that made me think, "Wow, now I see what everyone else was talking about when they said she was crazy."  At one point she's talking about using a ruler to screw things because she's gotten rid of her screwdriver.  A little extreme.  Though I agree with the basic point!  Maybe I have a dress I can't get rid of because it's my "special occasions" dress, but I don't really like it anymore.  If I don't have it, I'll just find a creative way to combine a skirt and shirt that looks nice enough for formal occasions.

But overall, I'm starting to think I'm not quite up to the full Kondo lifestyle.  There have been several occasions that I wished for something I'd discarded.  Some were my fault - I discarded it despite it giving me joy because I didn't use it.  And some gave me no joy but would have been useful later.

I don't want to hold onto everything I ever owned "just in case."  I think the vast majority of those things won't get used and will just take up space and be extra clutter to store and keep clean.  But I'm definitely struggling with anticipating my own needs and I like getting rid of stuff so much that I'm prone to clear out too much.

Here's where Spark Joy helped me.  I never really felt "done" after the first purge.  And, when we moved, it was a good opportunity to let go of a few more things that I hadn't been quite ready emotionally to part with during the purge.  I thought that was where my restless, need-to-do-more feeling was coming from.  But the feeling remained.  Here we have this giant, empty new house and I'm wanting to find things to get rid of!

In Spark Joy, Kondo says that if you don't feel done, it's because not enough of your possessions gave you joy and so even though you got rid of the joyless clutter, your home still isn't filled with the things you love.  She doesn't exactly advocating shopping, BUT this is the first time Kondo talks about acquiring rather than eliminating and she got into a topic I really like: color!

So I guess the point is that I'm giving myself permission to stop analyzing everything and prowling for more to get rid of, and taking Kondo's advice to start shaping my home into something that gives me joy.  Right now that's optimization projects, like organizing my cords.

But it also means no guilt for the new things coming in, as long as they give me joy.  Like everything on this rack in the basement bathroom.

Note: candle underneath of book is a bad idea!!!  Nothing burned, but scorch marks are a different story.
It definitely means shifting my attention to painting and not feeling guilty for the overly elaborate things I want to try, or the excessive hours of research I've put into the furniture we want to buy.  Although I could stand to be a little more lenient on myself, as well.  If we buy something and it ends up not adding joy, it won't be the end of the world.

I've changed up a few things since "kondo-ing" initially.  Way back in October, I had rolled all my clothes (my version of her folding suggestion) and I still do it for most of my stuff.  My winter and summer clothes now co-exist peacefully.

It's kind of a rainbow.  The left is short sleeves green to yellow/neutral, and the right is long sleeves in the same order.  The middle is white to black and encompasses both long and short sleeves.

I did give up on rolling my socks.  Too much work.  That wasn't a Kondo suggestion anyway.  In fact, she might actually approve of my new solution more.

E'erbody loves undie pictures, right?!
I stopped hanging my pants.  As much as I liked not having any clothes on the top rack in the closet, I really don't like hanging them.  Couldn't tell you why since I do it for all my skirts.  I'm also having some other closet issues.

I could not figure out a way to make all the bags up top look nice.  They lean against each other and it looks messy and blegh.  The shoes I had on the ground and then up top and now they're all over because neither solution was really optimal and my boot rack is so flimsy it falls over if there aren't clothes pushing it against the wall.  I was going to tape it to the wire rack up top so it couldn't fall and then realized I'm not quite tall enough to put my boots back on if I do that.  So I'm kind of stuck for solutions on that.  Anyone have a good boot organization solution?

I kind of want one of those cubby organizers with baskets for flip flops and open spaces for the other shoes, but they're not terribly space efficient and it feels like an unnecessary expense.  BUT it would give me joy, so maybe I can argue that and give myself permission to buy one anyway.

We'll see.  Our house is so big and open to possibilities it's almost overwhelming.  The guys have made a few design suggestions that I just can't quite envision and it's frustrating the heck out of me, but maybe if I start small and tackle one thing at a time, I can finally get to a place where I really do have a home that brings me joy.

Although I honestly don't know that I'll ever feel done.  I always find a new project.

Any suggestions for how to fix my closet quandary?  What have you done to add joy to your home?  Have you read either of Kondo's books?

Jenn signature graphic | Business, Life & Design


  1. have you tried hanging up boots using a pants hanger like this?? https://clorox.ca/lifepro/?v=tip&c=All&t=16 (google "hanging boots with a pants hanger" and you can see a lot of other photos).

    You can also buy hangers like this for it: http://www.amazon.com/Swivel-Hangers-Hanging-Laundry-Portable/dp/B015DVUZOG

    I hope to read Spark Joy someday but I am still working on the principles from the first book, haha! :)

  2. I buy all the same socks and I just toss them all in a drawer. Whichever two I pull out are going to match, the end. Ain't nobody got time for sock folding.
    For the bags, have you tried putting them inside each other like she suggests? That worked for me.
    For boots, get pool noodles at the dollar store and cut them to fit just inside each boot and then they'll stand and line up nicely next to your other ones.
    When it comes to declutter, I too feel like I'll never be done. I thought I was but then I got rid of tons more in January so I guess I wasn't! Since I'm packing to move soon, we'll see what actually makes it in the moving boxes, that'll be the true test. I told John that besides big furniture, he can't help me move - I have to move the boxes myself. That'll really light that declutter fire!

  3. I add joy with found sea treasures! I do need to do a purge though before summer, it just feels like every weekend I have something planned and purging takes a back seat.

    I use to roll my clothes now I'm just to lazy.

  4. First, serious closet envy is happening here. I have one long closet for my entire place and I make it work, but I wish I had some more room and could see everything from the same angle all at once. But anyway, moving on.
    I am still so, so torn about whether I should read this book or the second. I know logic says I should just read it and stop if I don't like it. But on the one hand, I'm already SUPER organized and tidy and kind of don't think there's anything I need to learn there? But then again anything that promises life-changing should be worth considering, right? So torn. I guess I'll see if my library has a copy and just give it a whirl.

  5. Wow. I thought my closet was large! SO MUCH SPACE...for ACTIVITIES (Sorry- Stepbrothers reference). I love Goldtoe socks and recently bought a whole bunch! I also like rolling them into lumpy potatoes because otherwise they'll get lost. As for your handbag sitch, I got one of those belt hangers but with removable rings that can open/close, and that's where I hang all of my purses. It's convenient because it stays in my closet and I can see them all easier. I have a wicker basket that I use for scarves/hats/gloves/umbrellas in winter and flip flops in spring/summer. I also have a collapsible cubby organizer that I found at TJ Maxx or Home Goods (can't remember). I love it because when I don't need to put stuff in it, it folds neatly away.

  6. oooh i like that. i thought some people took the 'find joy' thing too literally.. like, i don't find joy in toilet paper. but i am glad to have it. so yeah. lol. i hate hanging my pants as well, i don't know why, but it bugs me. and i have to roll my socks otherwise i can never find a pair!

  7. Using a ruler instead of a screwdriver?? Why would you get rid of a screwdriver?? That is something that doesn't bring me joy and I might only use it once or twice a year...but I need that shit! You know what I dont need? A ruler. Hahaha. You would die if you saw how full my closet is. It is very organized and clean....but not minimalist at all. I hang my dress pants, but my jeans are folded in a container in my closet.


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