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Does It Spark Joy?

Updated: Mar 15, 2019


I’ve been asking myself that question multiple times a day as I consider the emotional attachment I have to years of accumulated, unneeded stuff. Sometimes the answer is surprising and unexpected.

If you’re like me, and thousands of other determined organizers across the country, you have been clearing out cluttered drawers, closets, kitchens, bathrooms and garages, tossing out the many once treasured items that no longer “spark joy” for you or your loved ones. Whether you’re obsessed with the Konmari method of tidying developed by Marie Kondo (like me), or you’re going rogue with your own decluttering plan, it feels good to start a new year by purging unwanted and unneeded stuff from our lives.

Learning what sparks joy begins with honestly considering your attachment to clothing and books, then progresses to the more emotional connection you have to pictures and memorabilia. When holding and considering these personal items, strong emotions are often stirred. While joy may be sparked by pictures of grinning toddlers posing with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland or building sand castles on your favorite ocean beach, other items may bring up feelings of regret or loss.


After days of sorting through mounds of clothing, and a houseful of clutter, I have a pretty good idea of what sparks real joy for me. It wasn’t my favorite sweater, or even my bookcases full of treasured books that brought the real joy, it was all about the pictures and videos and the memories they evoked. Smiles on the faces of my children and laughter in the eyes of my friends reminded me of what’s really important in my life.


I hope, like me, when you look through your collection of scrapbooks and photo albums, you truly do experience joy and are inspired to create many more new memories with your family and friends.