I have a confession to make. I spent almost all weekend binging on an original series on Netflix. I watched one episode after another of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up — a series about decluttering your home.
Now, hang with me here — because this is leading into something relevant to storytelling.
If you’re not familiar with Marie Kondo and the Netflix series — the gist of it is she has a 4-part system that is helping people all across the world declutter their homes, clean out their closets, and organize their bathroom drawers. But it goes so much deeper....
In each episode, Kondo — who is Japanese and travels with a translator — arrives to help a particular family by showing them how to systematically go through their clothing, books, paper, and miscellaneous areas like kitchen drawers, garages, and sentimental items.
What’s so fascinating about the show is the storytelling. You can learn so much about people by the way they live — and the stuff they are hiding in their closets, and letting pile up into heaps on the floor. When you dig a little deeper, you get the story of their journey in life.
There are so many metaphors for how we hoard stuff, place meaning on things, and stash junk away into deep closets.
I spent the better part of yesterday cleaning out my own closet and going to down memory lane on more than a few occasions. Yes, even the clothes hanging in our closets tell stories.
What I love about Marie Kondo’s method is in the decision making process of whether you are going to keep something, or donate it— for this, she uses a very simple litmus test. Does it spark joy? When you hold the item, or wear it, does it fill you up with joy and light? If the answer is yes, it’s a keeper.
If the answer is no… it’s time to donate it. But even before you discard the item, Kondo encourages you to first thank it…. give it gratitude, and wish that item well as it makes its way to a new home.
As I cleaned out my own closet — it was fascinating to hold certain tops, dresses, and scarfs and ask myself, “Does this spark joy?”
What is so interesting is how easily the Joy was revealed. Maybe it was the particular color that made me happy — or the beautiful way the fabric felt on my body. But more often than not — the Joy was sparked by the stories running through my head as I held each item.
Where had I last worn that piece? A fun party? an important business meeting? an extravagant trip? a romantic date? The clothing spoke life to me as I pulled all the pieces from the pile that sparked joy.
Then there were the items that didn’t. I’d hold a sweater in my hand and feel absolutely nothing. Not one single positive memory would come to mind. If anything, how the item fit (or didn't fit) created negative thoughts in my head. So with gratitude, I gently laid those items together in a pile for donation.
If you aren’t familiar with Marie Kondo’s work — check out her website
Also, her first book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is an international best-seller, and it's what started the world's fascination with the KonMari method. She has a new book out called, Spark Joy.
I'd love to hear if you dive into the KonMari Method, as she calls it, and start sweeping through your house looking for items that spark joy.
Join us over in the LIGHTbeamers Community and post your pics of the transformations, and the stories, the experience sparks!