Does it Spark Joy?


I recently finished reading “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Japanese consultant Marie Kondo. It’s a lovely book that has a few simple changes to make to transform your living space, and by doing so, your life. 

Like many things eastern, although it is simple, it isn’t particularly easy. Especially for a westerner.

One of the biggest principles is to first discard everything you own that does not spark joy within. After sorting and gathering all of your belongings, Kondo recommends handling each object you own and holding it next to your heart to determine if it sparks joy.

When I thought about it, I realized that hardly anything I own sparks joy in me.

My parents were raised in the Great Depression, so the unspoken words I was raised with were “it’s not enough.” So I’ve accumulated things over the years, subconsciously telling myself that it’s not enough.

No matter what I got or did, it wasn’t enough—so just keep going.

When I chose the word Bravery for my word of 2015, I knew I wanted to make some big changes in my life. One of which was to leave my job. The other was another major downsizing. Last month, I took the plunge and left my job and also moved out of my living space. I will be renting a house with a little over 700 square feet.

I knew I wanted to end the “it’s not enough” way of living. After reading Kondo’s book, I know that I want use “does it spark joy?” as a guidepost for objects I keep and also for how I live.


  1. Deb nuse says

    I so know how you feel about the messages from the Great Depression. Better not get rid of anything because you might need it and you certainly can’t afford to replace it. Am living in the house I grew up in and know I need to purge, but the process is so overwhelming that I feel like I’m still in limbo. A big stumbling block is feeling that to get rid of things that my parents owned is being disloyal to them and their memory. And also know, that as an only child, they’d probably support whatever I needed to progress in my life. Now, I just have to hold that close to my heart and believe it.

    • Sue says

      Hi, Deb.

      Leo Babauta said, “The truth is, neither our love for the person, nor their love for us, nor our memories, are in the possession.” It’s so hard though! Thanks for reading.

      Be Well,


  2. says

    This is quite a provocative question, Sue, and it is changing my perspective on my stuff, as I ask myself whether each item sparks joy. Thank you!

    • Sue says

      Hi Ellen! I think it will be a real eye opener for me when I downsize this next month.

      Be Well,