Joy in the “junk”
Since last spring, we’ve been on quite the KonMari kick in our household.
Well, to be more accurate, my husband has been on quite the KonMari kick, and when he’s on a kick, it’s best to just go with it.
For those of you not familiar with KonMari, it’s shorthand for a method of decluttering–and then organizing–your belongings, as described in Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Basically you go through everything you own, keep/find a home for the items that “spark joy,” and get rid of the rest.
While I find it difficult to not roll my eyeballs out of my own head at the phrase “spark joy,”1 I must admit that her approach is working for us.
The two, hulking wardrobes in our bedroom are now empty; our clothes now fit it one small dresser and two tiny closets.2 We cleared out five (!!!) bookshelves, selling some of their contents to a local bookstore and donating the rest. All those wedding gifts we excitedly added to our registry over 13 years ago but never used?3 Passed along to friends or left in the alley behind our house4 to be found by a lucky dumpster diver. All those file folders stuffed with bills from services we don’t even use anymore?5 Sayonara, suckers!
KonMari wasn’t always a fun process for us–it’s my experience that those instances in which more than one member of the family wants to KonMari a room are exceptionally rare–but it was good. Stuff can be suffocating, and it felt good to take control of our space and trim the fat, if you will. And we’re trying to keep our KonMari momentum (KonMarmentum?) going, particularly when it comes to more stuff coming into our house–or back into our house, in some cases.
In February of last year, a friend of mine had a baby boy. As the younger brother of two girls, this little guy could only rely on hand-me-downs from his sisters but so much. My son’s preschool-era clothes continue to make the rounds among his younger friends, but his baby clothes were just sitting in a big Rubbermaid tub in our attic when this new little boy arrived. So off they went to be put to good use by these family friends.
Cut to last week when I got a text from my friend telling me she had our baby clothes all ready to return and asking when I wanted to schedule a hand-off. I hesitated, my head flurrying with thoughts…
We don’t need baby clothes, so what’s the point of stuffing that big ol’ tub into our attic again?
I should probably just tell her to pass them along to someone else.
It would be very non-KonMari of us to bring something back into our house after getting rid of it.
Do those baby clothes really “spark joy” for me?
In a word: yes. YES. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS.
Am I going to have another baby to wear those tiny clothes? Probably not. But I had a baby who did wear those tiny clothes. Now he’s all arms and legs and opinions and silliness. And while I love the boy he is, I will always want to celebrate the baby he was. Sometimes I do that by marveling at impossibly small socks and little footie pajamas.6 It still sparks joy, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
1 My mop doesn’t exactly “spark joy” when I look at it, but I still need the damn thing.
2 Our house was built in 1928, so the closets are really more like glorified nooks with doors.
3 Ice cream maker, I’m looking at you.
4 We call it “The Magical Alley.” Items placed back there typically disappear within the hour. It’s one of my most favorite features of our home!
5 Comcast, now I’m looking at you.
6 For what it’s worth, I’m going to lend the bulk of these clothes to another friend who just welcomed a baby boy. But the big ol’ tub will be back. It will always come back.
(Front page image by Megan Sparks)