Posted on September 23, 2016

Cherry blossom joy inspired by Marie Kondo

This week I’ve been reading ‘Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to Tidying Up‘ by Marie Kondo, the sequel if you like, to ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ (which incidently, I have yet to read.)

Cherry Blossom time & sparking joy with Marie Kondo

I’m late to the party on these books I know, and I’m also a bit of a hoarder; collecting bubble wrap and ‘nice’ empty boxes and ‘things-that-might-one-day-be-useful-for-that-amazing-project-I’ve-yet-to-start…’

I expected the book to be all about discarding as many possessions as possible, being ruthless with your sentimental ‘komono‘ items and keeping nothing if it wasn’t of the utmost practical use.

There was an element of that (the part about her getting rid of her vacuum cleaner because it didn’t spark joy was particularly amusing), but much more than getting rid of things, the focus was on what to keep, and most specifically, what to keep that sparks joy.

Does what it says on the cover. Good start.

But I didn’t really think I had that much to learn about all this.

I love tidying and reorganising things and feel like I’ve been on a mission for half my life to do just that.

But then that’s the problem too.

The point of the ‘KonMari Method‘ is that once you decide to keep only the things that spark joy and allocate them all a space in your home, there should never be a need to undertake a big ‘clear out’ ever again. A hefty claim when you consider the modern crisis of fast fashion, perk-me-up purchasing and the Western culture for accumulating possessions as status symbols.

And it turns out I had a lot to learn.

Cherry Blossom

This week I’ve KonMari-ed the clothes I keep in drawers – basically folded them into squares and rolled them up, and it was pretty joyful KonMari-ing the kitchen. I will never again be defeated/deflated/deafened by pans and oven trays falling from the cupboard.

And I’ve started using things I’d almost forgotten about.

A beautiful pen, a roller-ball perfume stick, hot pink lipstick, a heart-shaped casserole dish and some bright, colourful dresses that I’d never had ‘occasion’ to wear.

Use the things that spark joy!

I also discarded about 15 pens that didn’t work, didn’t write well or were just cheap promotional pens I’ve gathered over the years and kept for no reason except maybe ‘you can never have too many pens’. Except you can.

I’ve recycled manuals and papers and been able to part with things I’ve agonised over for years.

I’m not going to analyse the book in any further detail (and plenty of people already have), but I do want to share this anecdote that Marie Kondo gives in the book. I think it sums up the point of it all for me and I keep thinking of it because it’s such an uplifting story:

Not long ago, I went cherry blossom viewing with my family for the first time in fifteen years. We didn’t go anywhere special, just to a little park near my house. Despite the sudden notice, my mother had prepared a picnic lunch…but that was not all.

My mother opened another package to reveal a bottle of pink-hued amazake, a beverage made from sweet fermented rice, and small pink glasses with a cherry blossom pattern. When filled with the pink amazake, it looked like cherry blossoms were blooming in our glasses. ‘How beautiful!’

The blossoms I viewed with my family that day were the best I had ever seen. The glasses that my mother had chosen showed me the precious piece I had been missing.

Her take-out thought after this wonderful day with her family was: I want to live my life in such a way that it colours my things with memories.

I love that so much.

I want to live my life in such a way that it colours my things with memories

Cherry Blossom time & sparking joy with Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo also suggest some changes that might occur when you start to tidy:

  • You gain a little confidence

  • You start to believe in the future

  • Things begin to go more smoothly

  • The people you meet change

  • Unexpected things happen in a positive way

  • Change begins to accelerate

  • You begin to really enjoy your life

I don’t agree or disagree with these statements – I didn’t feel shy or disbelieving in the future before I read the book (or before I started this special process of tidying to spark joy), but I think for some people the act of tidying up can become a deep psychological process because it forces you to analyse how you really feel about each possession and also why you are keeping it.

One statement I do agree with comes near the end of the book:

Tidying is contagious.

Yes, yes it is!

Do you have a special ‘cherry blossom’ memory?

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  • Reply Clare September 23, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    I have borrowed both of these books from the library and not really read them properly. Maybe they should be my next #10pagesaday books! I am also a ‘better keep it, just in case’ person and my husband is a ‘keep it for the memories’ person. Consequently we have a basement full of old toys and gift bags!!!
    I need to tidy….
    Clare recently posted…Persimmon predictionsMy Profile

    • Reply daintydora September 23, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      It is so hard to get rid of things once and for all – especially things that have sentimental value, photos etc. Read the book and see how you feel – I’ve been battling my hoard for so long but the KonMari insights really helped!

  • Reply Robyna | the mummy and the minx September 25, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    I’m all for using the things that spark joy but I’m always worried that if I get rid of sentimental things that may not grab me now, I might regret it in the future.

    • Reply daintydora September 26, 2016 at 6:42 am

      I agree and still have that worry too. At the moment I’m focusing on clothes, big things, how I use my home and how often I use certain things (and therefore how handily it needs to be stored). The sentimental category is last and I don’t think I’ll be as sure or as ruthless there. Marie Kondo herself admitted that she only finished sorting her photographs quite recently (or around the time she published ‘Spark Joy’). She also advises that if you are certain you want to keep something because of the memories or joy it sparks, then go ahead – you are in charge. I was surprised at that as I had expected her to be more of a ruthless taskmaster!

  • Reply Collette September 26, 2016 at 8:56 am

    I swing wildly between culling and decluttering, and suffering from declutter’s remorse (there really is such a thing). So for now, I’m just sitting with the ‘stuff’ – not really sure which camp I’m in. Your cherry blossom photos are gorgeous!
    Collette recently posted…Taking Stock: SeptemberMy Profile

    • Reply daintydora September 26, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Alas, I know all too well about declutter-er’s remorse. It is indeed a thing. There’s definitely things I wish I hadn’t got rid of, and some are clothes, but it feels like the right time for me to get rid of things just now, like I need to shed old iterations of myself before I can move forward? There is no mention of that really in the book, but I love this quote from Anais Nin: “If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects.” I feel like that might be the situation for me right now! xx

  • Reply Matthew Bull September 27, 2016 at 11:44 am

    what a beautiful cherry like to see it in person

    • Reply daintydora September 27, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you – me too. Visiting Japan at ‘cherry blossom time’ in the Spring and following the trail would be magical!

  • Reply Elizabeth October 2, 2016 at 2:30 am

    When you wrote of “nice” empty boxes and things that might someday be useful I had to double check your profile picture. I thought it might be me there! My family teased me for years (decades, actually) about not allowing them to throw out the bows on Christmas gifts before I inspected them to see if they could be used again. And the boxes! If I shirt box tore I mourned it. This was a really great post and I’m heartened to know I’m not alone in saving the lives of boxes that would otherwise not have a loving home.

    • Reply daintydora October 2, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      So pleased it chimed with you and that I’ve found a fellow box-hoarder – I’m similar with gift bags too… It just feels hard to throw things away that are actually still pristine and that can be endlessly upcycled. In fact, Marie Kondo advises using ‘pretty’ boxes in drawers etc to organise things – win-win for us!

  • Reply Carole Russell October 2, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    I love decluttering! So why do I not do it often enough? Being surrounded by too many “things” can stop creativity so I am off to declutter and do a big tidy up!! Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Reply daintydora October 2, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Totally agree Carole and glad I could help and inspire you! It’s so good to tidy and shift up the energy around you, decluttering along the way. It’s an on-going work in progress for me, but I really learnt a lot from ‘Spark Joy’. Good luck with your tidy-up – you’ll find all sorts and be so glad you did it :)

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