Not everything useful brings joy

Japanese de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo has it all figured out.

To successfully rid yourself of all that’s weighing you down, she suggests we keep one simple mantra in mind: Keep only those things that spark joy.

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Kondo is a master at the simplify-your-life thing. Me? Not so much.

Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try, given my ongoing quest to live a little lighter.

I got the husband involved.

“Remember,” I said. “We keep only those things that spark joy.”

I was pretty sure he did not know what Marie Kondo was talking about. I was 100-per-cent sure he’d never heard of Marie Kondo.

The Dickens collection sparked joy, we decided. The deflated football did not.

The grandmother’s jewelry sparked joy, we determined, as did our golf clubs, the son’s hockey trophies and the children’s baby books. The 10-year-old tax receipts sparked nothing but a quick trip to the shredder.

Those were the straightforward things. The travel diaries? In. The outdated atlas? Out.

The electric mixers did not spark joy, but without them, I would not be able to make peanut butter cookies, which most certainly spark joy. 

The leftover kitchen flooring, which had been eating up precious real estate in the shed for the past six years, did not spark joy, but it did spark a bit of a conundrum. What happens if we chip one of the tiles on the floor? That would spark an issue.

I scratched my head.

I could give all the excess bedding away — it’s seen better days and we don’t really need it — but the jumbo-sized casserole? It sparks a storage problem, but what to do if we’re invited to a potluck dinner for 300 people one day and opt to bring macaroni and cheese?

“What about all those old sweaters in your closet?” I asked the husband. “You haven’t worn some of them in years. Do they spark joy?”

“Do they spark what?” he asked.

“Joy,” I replied. “Remember: Marie Kondo says we should keep only those things that spark joy.”

This time, it was the husband’s turn to scratch his head.

“I like those sweaters,” he said. “Well, most of them anyway.”

I took that to mean that they wouldn’t be taken to the curb any time soon.

I began to wonder about Marie Kondo, and imagined her living in, well, a condo, surrounded only by artwork, bracelets, CDs, fluffy blankets, poetry books, travel souvenirs, photo albums, fine wine and really, really good chocolate.

Yes, she’s successful at living quite light, but I’m guessing she doesn’t make cookies.

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