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Does It Spark Joy?

During quarantine and again just last week Chauncey and I did a huge clear out on our house. We love to do these overhauls at least once a year. I don't know how we acquire so much "stuff" but we are trying to be much more mindful of the things we bring into our house as we go forward. It seems very easy to just keep gathering more things especially when you have a child. Everyone (including us) wants to see the happiness on Mckenna's face, so what's another stuffed animal? The reality is the more toys she has the more overwhelming it is. I think the same rings true for adults too.

A couple years ago I read Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I did an immediate clear out of my closet. More recently I watched her series on Netflix Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. If you don't know who Marie Kondo is, I highly recommend both her book and her Netflix series to give you some motivation to start cleaning up any disorganization you may have in your home. I wanted to share a few tips of how we organize and what we hope to implement moving forward.

Does the item have a use or does it bring you joy?

We assess an item to see if we really love it. Do we want to keep it and if so can we explain why? We each have a bin of sentimental items from our childhood and school days, but how many bins is too many? We agreed one each should fit our most important mementos . For example I kept every book from my entire University career, all my notes and textbooks. Was I really going to reference back to my first year of physical education 101 class. The answer is I haven't in over 15 years so I likely won't in the future. They were thrown in the burn pile. If the item hasn't been used in the last 6 months, it's time to re-access if you even need it.

Have a plan and stick to it.

I often find myself getting overwhelmed so it's good to have a plan prior to starting your de-cluttering. We like to go room by room and deal with all the items in each room. For example in our master bedroom, we would go through the dressers and closets and purge our clothing. In the guest room we have a large bookshelf so I went through all the books to see what books we really wanted to keep and which we could sell or donate.

If you are getting overwhelmed take a break.

Depending on how much stuff you have, this can be a very stressful process. The main areas of our home are fairly clutter free, but our basement (the huge storage area) was practically full. We had boxes that we moved nearly 3 years ago to this house and haven't opened yet. So we went through box by box and donated probably 90% of the items. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a lunch break or even come back the next day with fresh eyes and a better attitude.

Donate or sell the items.

I donated my clothing to a local single mother who was in need. It makes me feel better knowing the items are going to a specific person in need. I just went on my local Facebook group page (Paris Moms) and asked if anyone knew anyone in need. It feels better than just dumping them in one of those donation bins. With that said though, when in doubt, those bins are going to a good cause so that's always an option! We did end up selling a few items on Facebook Marketplace and we probably made over $300 so that's always a nice bonus. All in all, this made the process easier knowing that we were helping others and also making a little money on some items.

Be mindful of each purchase you make.

When we go shopping we try to think if the item is a need or want. We also try to determine if we really need that item in our home, or if it is going to clutter up our space. The more you regularly purge your house, the less likely you are to purchase more and more moving forward.

Artwork of Marie Kondo by Estee (Instagram @msbulat)

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