Calhoun Magazine

January - February 2017

Dalton Daily CItizen, Calhoun Magazine

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Calhoun Magazine | January/February 2017 | 35 purchasing. With the KonMari method everything in your home has a home or space of its own, like a shelf for a book. Yet, to make changes that last, and make the tidying up sessions count, you have to look deeply into what matters most to you. Do you value family, health, relationships, work-life balance, spirituality? Do you need to make space to read and relax when you get home? Do you want to create a special sanctuary for your family or guests to take reprieve from the day? The only way to answer whether a particular item serves a good purpose in your home is to hold it for a moment and ask, "Does this spark joy?" If it doesn't give you that good feeling or serve a useful purpose, kick it out of your home. "Does it spark joy?" seems so silly WRDVNEXWZKHQ\RX¿QGWKDWSODLQ "yes" or "no" answer, you give yourself permission to let go of the emotional baggage that may be associated with the item. From clothes that don't look ÀDWWHULQJRQ\RXEXW\RXERXJKWDQ\ZD\ because they were on sale, to that huge grandfather clock you inherited but does QRW¿WZLWK\RXUKRPHGHFRU²\RXDUH now free to let them go without guilt. As you continue with this method you may ¿QG\RXKDYHOHVVDQGOHVVVWXIIEXW more importantly, you are left with only the right stuff for your home. Because decluttering can be so overwhelming, Kondo recommends sorting through your belongings by category, starting with clothes. Notice that it says clothes, not closet. To begin, choose an area in your home with an open space, like the top of the bed or DFOHDQÀRRU*DWKHUDOO\RXUFORWKLQJ from the closet, drawers, coat rack, and storage in one place. It's also helpful to look at the clothes by type, for example all tops, pants, socks, and so on so you can compare them to each other more easily. Keep only the clothes that are in great condition, and above all, that make you feel great when you wear them. Following the KonMari method I began by sorting through all of my FORWKHV$W¿UVW,IHOWUDWKHUVLOO\KROGLQJ a pair of pants and taking a pause to consider whether there really was any joy emanating from the faded denim. I looked at the tag and saw the size… these pants were too tight and always made me feel chubby. Feeling fat GH¿QLWHO\ZDVQRWMR\IXO$V,WRVVHG them to the donate pile, I was relieved, then felt a sense of liberation. When I was done sorting clothes into the keep, donate, and toss piles I found each type of clothes its own home. For example, all socks, pantyhose, and tights were stored in a dedicated drawer in the dresser. Blouses were hung in the closet together sorted by color then length, while winter clothes were placed in a storage bin. Now, after doing laundry, I place each item of clothing back in its home. Since everything has a home, and it gets put up, there's no clutter hanging around. It is almost magical. After you sort clothing, you can declutter books. Again, gather all the books from your collection in one place. Keep only those that are useful or bring you joy. Donate, sell, or recycle books that you no longer need. Consider downloading an electronic version of the books to your iPad or Kindle instead of keeping the paper copy to save space. After books are sorted you can tackle SDSHUVRI¿FHVXSSOLHVNLWFKHQVXSSOLHV food, and so on. Going through your whole house step by step could take up to six months depending on your particular situation. In the end, it's worth it. You'll end up with a home that sparks joy every time you step inside. Once you have your stuff in order, there's no telling how the "spark joy" philosophy could change your life. You may be brave enough to ask, "Does this job spark joy?" or "Does this relationship spark joy?" And you may begin to take the steps to make this the best year of your life yet. Elizabeth "Liz" Swafford is a creative writer and artist living in the foothills of Northwest Georgia with her husband and small dog. Some of her artwork is on display at the Dalton Chamber of Commerce, and short stories are available at lizswafford.com.

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