The New Year often sparks cleaning and decluttering for me and many others who crowd their Pinterest boards with organizing hacks and stock up at “The Container Store” with endless containers that promise to get you organized. Since my severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) changed my life and lifestyle I have gotten rid of a lot of things and yet I still found plenty of clutter in my closet and bedroom. After being reminded of Marie Kondo’s decluttering rules (she was the answer to a trivia question on a game show I was watching) I started the task of ridding my closet and dresser drawers of clutter and mess. I think I inspired my parents as they each have been organizing. All this cleaning had me asking myself Marie Kondo’s (a Japanese author and organizer) signature question when deciding if I wanted to keep an item: “Does this spark joy?” I decided that not only is this a great way to declutter your home of stuff it’s also a great way to declutter your life of unnecessary things. Because if I have learned anything in the four years since my nearly fatal severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and coma it’s that life is far too short to clutter it up with things that don’t bring you joy.
I actually hadn’t read Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” when she was the answer to a trivia question on game show “The Chase.” Yet I knew the answer and I knew about Kondo because her book made a splash in pop culture a few years ago and she now has a Netflix show where she declutters people’s homes. I have been wanting to organize my closet for a while and this actually reminded me to do it. The results were a decluttered closet and a newfound focus on joy.
In this week’s blog post I discuss how choosing joy has been a key focus of my recovery post brain injury and discuss Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
It shouldn’t take a brain injury or near-death experience to make one realize that life should be focused on things that make us happy. And yet it did for me. Because it’s easy to structure a life around obligations instead of happiness and joy (TRUTH). That’s what happened to me and one of the reasons it took a brain injury for me to remember what my true passion and joy was and always will be: creative writing.
So I have taken this time at the beginning of the year to reflect and reassess: am I doing things in my life that spark joy? I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the brain injury had already made me reassess my life, my material possessions and my priorities. The key for me is not to bog myself down with things whether they are obligations or ambitions. I have a lot of ambition and drive following my TBI because it made me realize that life is too precious to spend it frittering away doing things that don’t spark joy. That’s easy enough to say but harder to put into practice. I have realized that I am the most successful at achieving goals if I break them down into smaller chunks. Honestly, I get overwhelmed easier than I did before the TBI and working on giant projects and goals requires more endurance, patience and stamina than I have.
If January started with organization I would like the rest of the year to continue on that path with the general focus of mental wellbeing and what feels and is good for my injured brain. A few weeks ago I realized computer time as generated by virtual/video meetings is quite taxing on my injured brain. After 6 and half hours of video meetings of doctors appointments over 5 days, I started to meltdown and I have been relatively meek ever since in regards to computer/digital device time ( that’s why blogs are not going up on #TBIthursday, etc.). So that reaction I had really had me thinking about focusing on health rather than anything else. And so let me move into the rest of the year asking if something sparks joy but also counter that with make sure it’s healthy, etc.
And since Marie Kondo inspired my new outlook of only focusing my energy on joy, I felt it was appropriate to discuss her book in my book recommendation.
Monthly Feature of the Week: Book Review
I am still reading this book so this really isn’t a review as it is a discussion of the topic of organizing. Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizer and author who has published several books based on her style of organizing called the konmarie method. The book I am reading and discussing is “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and it was published in 2011. Kondo now has a show on Netflix that centers on helping people organize and tidy their homes. And really, a tidy life can lead to less cluttered and chaotic living. I think that’s why Marie Kondo and her “does it spark joy” philosophy has made such a splash. I plan to finish the book and finish decluttering at a pace that works for me.
Daily Doodle Weekly Summary
Like I mentioned in my last post, I have started a daily drawing journal to help get me creating and keep a record of creative ideas. I have been diligent with it and loving both having that time every day to create and having a record of ideas. I have begun to draw pictures that reflect events of the day (but I initially just started with drawing fun pictures).
A Selby Sweetie Conclusion
One of my Daily Doodles had me looking more closely at Selby’s many freckles. This picture is the adorable result.
6 thoughts on “Does this scratchy sweater spark joy and other questions asked when decluttering”
I love “does my scratchy sweater spark joy.” But it’s a tough question! I have one like that, and I love the color and the fit, and it’s comfy, but that turtle neck does get a little scratchy. For now, I’m keeping it. It sounds like you have a good balance and attitude about decluttering, Laura. That’s all you need.
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I understand the conflict. I have a small section in my closet of things I couldn’t get rid of yet! It’s a process.
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This opportunity for writing submission might interest you: https://godoggocafe.com/2021/02/05/submissions-reopened-for-but-you-dont-look-sick/
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Thank you! I will check it out!
So much of my life can be either embraced or eliminated by the “does this spark joy?” meme. But then again, so much can’t. Sometimes the things that are important, that are worthwhile — like writing, or caregiving — don’t immediately spark joy. I know, I know, hard work does eventually spark joy if one changes one’s attitude. But overall I prefer “Does this spark satisfaction?”
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Very wise words!