New Year’s resolution: recognizing sparks of joy

Wade Young

New Year’s Day has come and gone. How many of you made a New Year’s resolution?

Did you make the perennial favorite to lose weight? (I should have.)

How about make better food choices? (I should have.)

Quit snacking on the fattening and unhealthy food, sugars and refined white flour-products? (I should.)

Did you resolve to eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and good foods? (I should.)

How about non-food related resolutions? What about organizing the catch-all closet or drawer that haunts you ever day of the year? You know the one. It’s where you toss everything when you get tired of cleaning and just want to be finished? Or the place where you shove everything because you run out of time cleaning before company comes over?

What about a resolution to no longer procrastinate?

Sorry, if you’ve put that one off till now, you’ve already failed, sorry to say.

I haven’t resolved to do or not do any of those things.


Because I don’t like to fail. Every year I have made those resolutions. Every year, I always have broken them, which explains why they’re still on my resolution list!

Instead, my life goal is joy. Bonnie and I watched a new show on Netflix called, “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo. In case you haven’t heard of her, she’s a Japanese organizing consultant and creator of the KonMari method. She visits families to help them organize and tidy their homes.

Her method is about cultivating empathy for the things that surround us. She had a 2014 New York Times bestseller, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Her advice is simple: If an item “sparks joy,” you keep it. In case you don’t know what that feels like, it’s the feeling you get when holding a puppy, kitten or baby.

If you don’t feel a spark, you thank the item for the service it gave you and donate/get rid of it.

On her show, Kondo is charming as she teaches families how to organize their toolboxes and laundry rooms and lives.

It is important to note that her goal is not to design the perfect home — Kondo couldn’t care less what color someone’s walls are or the type of furniture you have — it’s to seek out and increase the tranquility in your space among your things. She helps you see your home as a sanctuary instead of a dream house.

After watching the first episode and seeing how she engages the entire family in liberating their lives from under the stress of stuff, I wanted to get started on the closets in our house.

She always has her clients start with their clothes. All clothing is dumped in one area. The method shocks your mind by making it realize how much there really is. Then, one item by one item, spark or fizzle, you go through each piece, discarding what weighs you down. She also teaches folding methods to keep the tidy places tidy.

She doesn’t do the work. She teaches you and assigns “homework” over the course of weeks, guiding along the way. The process on the show is usually a month.

I will admit. Her method works. I did one of our “community” drawers in our kitchen after watching the shows. After almost two weeks, everything has stayed in its place!

“The point of this process isn’t to force yourself to eliminate things,” Kondo says in the final episode of the season. “It’s really to confirm how you feel about each and every item that you possess.”

It’s not like my house is packed with stuff. Far from it, but, like everyone we have things we don’t really need. So this idea of paring down my castle so it’s only filled with things that actually make me happy, and having the benefits transfer through my life is intriguing.

To accomplish this, I don’t have to buy anything? No resolutions to make and remember? This can become part of everyday life?

What New Year’s resolution? This is way better than that!


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