I've been watching and enjoying Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. Her positive personality and love of mess sparks joy in me although I have not started folding my shirts in thirds.
I also sit in awe of the amount of stuff the people on the show have. I like Christmas, but I don't need an army of Nutcrackers. Are we first-world inhabitants really just sitting on piles of so much stuff that we don't know what we have anymore? How did we end up with so much that it suffocates us?
Still I admire the folks willing to be on the show. I don't know if I could pile all my clothes in front of a camera crew or a Netflix audience. I'm just shy that way.
A few years back, after living out of a backpack to walk across Spain, I did a major clean out. It took a long time to get rid of stuff because I had to think about the thing I wanted to throw out, wonder about it, ponder if I would need the thing again, and visualize living without it. Even though I didn't thank my possessions when I parted with them, I did say a good bye to them. My throwing out process happened slowly in segments, and now several years later, I continue to wonder what material things I need to live my urban female existence.
Probably the thing that sparks the most joy in me is my collection of books. I related to the guy on the show who said he didn't care about clothes, but when he had to tidy the books, he understood the spark joy concept. I still have my high school copy of Jane Eyre. When I was cleaning out, I realized I had too many books and could not enjoy the books I liked. I went through my books one at a time and sent almost half of them to the local library book sale.
Since then, I have bought very few new books. Instead, I use the local library. I reserve a book, check it out, read it, then return it. I keep track of what I read on a Microsoft Word document which takes up very little space.
As I was thinking about Marie Kondo, I looked at my bookshelves and smiled. I looked at each book and knew each one. I looked at the Kunderas, the Flann O'Briens, the cocktail histories, the plays, the art books, the guide to plumbing. Yes, even good ole Jane. They all sparked joy.
Maybe another word for spark joy is delight. How does one live with as much delight as possible? Maybe that's why I like watching Marie Kondo. She seems to delight in what she is doing. She takes time to listen to people and greet the house. She looks at the suffocating piles of stuff and exclaims that she loves mess. She doesn't force people to get rid of things. She just makes it easier to say goodbye.