Back in October, HM forwarded this article to me. It describes author and expert organizer Marie Kondo’s philosophy of closet cleaning and organization: Discard everything that fails to “spark joy.” At first I resisted this idea, mostly because I have experienced the antithesis of buyer’s remorse: Donator’s remorse. I know what it’s like to get rid of something in a whirl of organizational frenzy, only to find myself longing for it months afterward. I also believe that the maxim of, “If you haven’t worn it in six months/one year, get rid of it,” can be a little too harsh in some situations. Some items have limited use, but should still stick around for those infrequent but important occasions.
And yet, as the weeks rolled by and I continued on my own style journey, I found that phrase echoing in my brain. Spark joy, spark joy … it sounded extreme initially, but since I was now actively on the road to minimizing and honing my wardrobe, it began to resonate. I love style and dressing and consider it to be a creative outlet, so why shouldn’t everything in my wardrobe spark joy? There followed some merciless purging. Lots of it.
And I never missed any of the items I donated or sold, or regretted jettisoning them. Eventually, though, I hit a wall. I have several solid-colored tee shirts that don’t actively spark joy, some really simple black flats that don’t excite me in the least, charcoal gray tights that I’ve worn frequently but don’t adore. Did these things need to get chucked out with the rest of the non-joy-sparking stuff? They were layering pieces, practical and comfortable items. And I couldn’t envision replacing them with more elegant or exciting versions that actually would spark joy.
So I focused on another pillar of wardrobe curation: Utility. I may not love those black flats, and it’s possible that I may find a more exciting, special pair some day to replace them, but for now they are useful to me. The ultimate goal may be to only own clothing, shoes, and accessories that spark joy – from socks and underwear to snowboots and pajamas – but in the meantime, keeping some pieces that are more useful than exciting will make dressing on a daily basis a whole lot easier. (I will admit that I haven’t yet read Kondo’s book, so perhaps she makes some allowances for utility. But the articles I’ve read about her methods make me think the joy-spark is supposed to apply universally.)
Anyone else been pondering the joy-sparking method of organization and curation? Do you feel like you could enforce it wardrobe-wide, or would you rather make room for practical if unexciting pieces?