I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo’s method of home organization and will often encourage my clients to read her books and incorporate many of her methods into their own organization practices. Kondo centers the decluttering process on one simple concept….if an item “sparks joy” for you then keep it, but if it doesn’t, then don’t keep it. While, I love the simplicity and message of this process; because like Kondo, I believe we should have our homes only holding items we love and appreciate; I do feel that some items are difficult to define in this “spark joy” category.

For example, when I am helping a someone decide if they should keep some of their garage tools, like a hammer or hand sander for instance; it can be difficult for them to evaluate the item by if it “sparks joy” or not. I mean, it’s a hammer. You may use it and need it, but do you feel joy when holding it or seeing it in your house?….Most likely not.

That is why I always teach my clients to ask two important questions when going through items in their home. With each item they evaluate, Do I love this? OR Do I need this? I have found that these two simple questions make it so much easier to decide what stays and what goes. If it’s an item that instantly “sparks joy,” then that means you LOVE it and should definitely keep it in your home. Items in this category could be a favorite dress you love to wear, or a cozy sweater or a family picture. When holding, wearing or seeing this item in your home, you feel happy, pleasant, joyful or love.

If it’s an item like tools or household cleaning items, you may not necessarily feel like you love those items, but if you NEED them and use them regularly, then keep them. Kitchen appliances, gadgets, ironing board, lawn tools, etc may be used regularly or often in your home, but you may not necessarily love them or feel that spark of joy when you touch them, but you NEED them and therefore they should be an item you want to keep for your home. Some items that may have started with a need, may even turn into a love for them, but sometimes they never do. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt a love for my ironing board, because I don’t enjoy ironing, but I do appreciate it and that it fulfills a need for me in my home. See the difference?

I used to (emphasis on “used to”) have an extra category for items that perhaps you don’t love or use right now, but may be kept in the “want” category for later. An example of this could be a client wanting to hold onto a dress that they used to wear, but no longer wear because it’s out of style or it doesn’t fit anymore. Sometimes they want to keep it, because they have thoughts like, “What if that style comes back?” Or, “Maybe I’ll lose some weight and can wear that dress again.” Either way, they’d want to keep it and I used to be okay with that theory. For several years though, I’d see more and more clients holding onto items that they didn’t really love or need, but wanted to keep. After reading and applying more of Marie’s Kondo’s methods to my own organization system, I decided that I would NOT use the “Want” category for my clients anymore. Why?… because it was as if I was giving my clients a crutch to use when they weren’t sure what to do with an item or if they didn’t want to face the music and just get rid of it. They’d put it in the “want” pile and truth be told, years later those items were still being un-loved, un-used, and taking up valuable space in the home. So, keep it simple. If it’s not loved or needed, then it’s time to let go of the item.

So, to piggy back off of Kondo’s “sparking joy” theory, I’d like you to experiment with this today:

Pick an easy category in your home; let’s say your shoes and after picking up each pair of shoes, ask these two essential questions…

1) Do I love these shoes?
2) Do I need these shoes?

If you answer yes to one of those questions, then awesome, keep the shoes; but if you sit and stare at the shoes, start rationalizing or talking to yourself about how you used to love them, but you don’t anymore; how much they cost to buy them; how they’re uncomfortable to wear sometimes; or that you used to need them, but not as much anymore; then you just answered those questions and the answer is a clear NO.

No longer are we having our minds trick us into throwing our “rationalized items” into the WANT pile. These two questions keep it simple and straightforward. If I love or need it, I keep it. If not, then you get rid of it.

The more you ask these two questions, whether it’s while you de-clutter your home, shop at the store or help your children with their items; it does get easier the more you do it. Before you know it, these two questions will pop into your head all the time! You’ll begin to see that when we keep it super simple when evaluating items in our home, it’ll make life SO much easier. Living with the constant “maybe/want” pile is never good and only adds more weight to the burden we carry with our homes, so nix it altogether.

I promise that spark you want to feel when you enter your home will come, but like everything else in life, it takes some time, consistency and practice.

So, start with your shoes and give it a shot today! Ask those questions and see your home and personal life improve as you surround yourself with what you love or need.

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