spark joy

Sparking Joy...for less stress and more positive energy

Have you ever stood in front of your closet and thought, “I have nothing to wear?” You are in good company if you answered yes. I have a theory about why this is so prevalent. And, I must thank Marie Kondo and Chriselle Lim for this epiphany and argument in favor of asking, “Does this spark joy?" Adding to that question, “If not, why not?”

Less-Stress Organizing Solutions Blog Spark Joy

This morning I was re-reading an article in Darling Magazine-Issue 7 written by Chriselle Lim. Her article, “Paper Doll” inspired a circuitous thought bubble as I contemplated my own challenges with curating my closet and outfits over the years. Chriselle notes a few key guidelines in her article. Her second key point, “Focus on your favorite object,” was meant to inspire the reader to begin building an outfit with a favorite item.

My ADHD brain went into overdrive considering the connection between the pitfalls of retail therapy and curating a closet of clothing we love to wear.

One possible reason many garments, shoes, and accessories don’t spark joy for some of us, is connected to our reason for making those purchases in the first place. Think about it. If you initially purchase something to soothe or validate yourself, is it possible you hesitate later to continue using that item, unknowingly, because it triggers negative feelings?!

I know this to be true for myself. I used to LOVE shopping! But my closet was filled with many garments that were just a little bit snug because I would only purchase clothes when I felt good about my body. Those clothes mocked me every time I saw them. And, I would no longer feel good about myself. I felt like I had almost nothing to wear in a sea of beautiful garments. Retail therapy as a reward system has its drawbacks, as I learned. At the end of the day, I still need clothing that is comfortable, fits well, and suits the body I have right now.

Purchasing something when I feel angry or sad is almost always regretted. Admittedly, retail therapy, feels good, but only in the moment. Later, I am reminded of the negative event and usually return my purchase unworn. If it cannot be returned or a small part of me really does like this item or finds it useful, I spend time reframing reasons for keeping it so that it brings me joy going forward. If I cannot find a positive spin, I give it away and consider this episode of retail therapy another difficult lesson learned.

If we are making purchases without considering the financial implications, even when we love something at the time of the purchase, it may become a negative reminder of an impulse that added to our financial woes. And, that is a good enough reason to reconsider the purchase and reinforces my theory that retail therapy doesn’t always bring the lasting joy we seek.

In my twenties, I LOVED earrings. Since, I wore scrubs to work every day, earrings were the only accessory I could wear that brought a little whimsy or personality to my outfitting. I treated myself to a new pair every month or so and enjoyed wearing each and every pair! My choices were mindful and deliberate, and their cost fit my budget. There was no negativity attached to them.

I don’t wear earrings as often any more. My style and taste have changed. So, letting go of most of my earring collection was really quite easy. It served me well for a long time and is now making someone else happy.

Perhaps, Marie Kondo really IS on to something when it comes to curating the contents of our homes from a place of joy. If we make mindful choices, choices that are needed, wanted, and/or bring us joy, then seeing and using what we bring and keep in our spaces will be more likely to foster less stress and more joyful living. And, that includes a curated closet that lifts us up.

I say, Amen to that!




Treasures...Keep those cards and letters coming...and going!

Ever need to stay home while work is being done to a part of your house? Did you set aside a special project or task, easily interrupted, to occupy you so that you were available for the potential myriad of questions from the soul who chose to assist you in refreshing your home? My advice is this: have a stocked fridge, the coffee or tea kettle ready, and a clear work space. And if you are visually hypersensitive, as I am, then know what soothes you during the disruption to your visual senses. For me, I am calmed by Mozart, deep breathing and objective family members who remind me that this disruption is temporary.

Painting the master bedroom and bathroom seemed like a brilliant idea, especially on paper when I scheduled it a few months ago. Amazing how a simple, fresh coat of paint will cheer up a room! I am fortunate to have high, sloping ceilings in my bedroom, and although I could do this task myself, do not relish the idea of tottering on a ladder craning my neck for three days at such a lofty height!

Sunday was spent pulling everything out of my room to make space to move the large furniture into the middle of the room come "paint day." This could have taken an hour, but...those of you who know me, know I cannot simply remove things without peering inside the drawer, the box, the trunk. So I spent much of Sunday looking through my personal things, sorting, purging and reminiscing.

Yes, I can be very organized. But I am also sentimental and have a little trouble letting go of treasures! Mine includes boxes of cards and letters that have collected over the years never to be tossed or dismissed. Today I read through about 100 cards and letters sent years ago. Yes, I sat in the midst of my office, crammed full of the overflow from my bedroom, and poured over old messages and pretty cards.

There are several from my Nana, and many from mother's cousin who has faithfully written to me a few times every year with her beautiful, recognizable penmanship. Despite having never met her in person, I feel a connection through these many letters.

These treasures reminded me yet again of the many blessings in my life...friends and family, moments and events, weddings and  births, and thank you's for long since forgotten gifts of self. Saying thank you is such a simple task and yet so meaningful to the recipient. I have a happy heart tonight as I write a few thank you's of my own. I am saving a few of the cards and letters for myself, setting aside a few to share with friends and family to remind them of long past memories, and recycling the rest! They have served a beautiful purpose, a walk down memory lane, and now safely stashed in the "blue recycle bin" for the next collection. Perhaps, they will serve to save a tree!


Hallways, Entryways, & Alleyways...when the cat has her ears flicking backwards, best you pay attention!

I have a cat named Gabby who prefers that the house be calm and orderly. So you can imagine how disruptive the process of clearing and decluttering is for her.

My office is now a beautiful, organized space and Gabby is lounging near the window...content! Not so yesterday!! What I no longer wanted in my office work space had accumulated in the hallway and down the stairs into the entryway.

My task or should I say, my priority yesterday was to make sense of the piles, and then move them out of those walkways or out of the house if possible. Every time I passed Gabby I knew there was more work to do since her ears are a telltale sign of disapproval.

Today she is happy and I can walk through the house without tripping over anything but my own feet. The entry is as it should be to suit me...shoes, a key basket and a few things to take on my errands. The hallway is open and ready for the next project. Sorry Gabby...I am not finished with the house, but for now, it feels calm and orderly, just the way we like it!

Stuck for ideas on sharing unwanted or no longer needed items? Here are two of my favorites.

   1. AMVETS-will pick up household items that can be lifted by one person               Call-1-877-990-VETS or check out www.teamvets.com

   2. Carmel Mountain Vision Care-collects usable, discarded eyewear for Lions Club Optometrics 9320 Carmel Mountain Rd., Suite E, San Diego, CA 92129  (858) 484-1500