One of the trickiest parts of trying to live with less, is holding on to stuff for the wrong reason. In the KonMari Method, Marie Kondo suggests holding each item you own before you decide to keep it or toss it. She says if it “sparks joy” you should keep it.
I totally agree with Marie on holding each item and not just standing back and looking at your stuff, but I think the “spark joy” tenet is a bit tricky to follow.
Very rarely do things like electric toothbrushes or spatulas “spark joy” but I do absolutely need both of those things on a regular basis. Another example of things that may or may not spark joy? Shoes!
Here are some of my shoes as an example. See those pretty Rachel Comey silver oxfords up at the top of this post? Those 100%, definitely spark joy all over the place when I wear them or just look adoringly at them in the closet.
But what about these (see below) less inspiring, 4-year-old tennis shoes? These definitely don’t spark joy. Usually when they are on my feet that means I’m sweating up a storm and extremely tired and cranky. So they don’t remind me of good times or give me a feeling of unstoppable effervescence when I clutch them to my bosom. In fact, I feel more “ugh/blegh” when holding them.
According to Marie, that means I should definitely keep the silver shoes and donate the tennis shoes. But I can’t very well wear the sparking-joy-shoes while trying to imitate Kayla Itsines (aka, pretending I can do burpees and comandos like a boss lady), can I?
So instead of holding each item and thinking “does it spark joy,” I suggest holding each item and giving it a little more of a think. For example, my poor maligned tennis shoes; though they don’t spark joy because of their utilitarian nature, I am so grateful to have shoes in my closet in which it makes it easier for me to (pretend to) do burpees and squats. If something does not spark joy, does it nudge your gratitude?
I mentioned this in my closet clean-out post, but another example of sorting practical, non-sparking items is my simple white cami. This cami does not spark joy as it is incredibly unflattering when worn alone, but the lacy top it allows me to wear sends off fireworks of joy, and for that I am very grateful. Thank you, cami.
A final example if you are still finding this whole getting-rid-of-stuff tricky, take these slim looking Gazelles (below). I bought them because I had visions of me looking very fashion-editor-off-duty in cropped pants and long wool coat. I bought them for a ridiculous sum and they hurt my feet worse than any pair of heels I’ve had to break in. But I persevered because Pinterest had me believing I too could look like this.
For many reasons, I did not look like that when I had the unyielding Gazelles on my feet (not least because I might have been grimacing in pain). And, more importantly, it didn’t feel like me at all. I love the a sporty trend, but not so much on me. So as hard as it was to let them go, I did – hopefully to find a home with someone who holds them and slips them on their feet and it makes them feel like magic!