I Marie Kondo'd My Life


It seems as though the Marie Kondo phenomenon has struck the world overnight and the overflow of our donation bins show the proof. While I love a good Spring cleaning gone wild in Winter, I decided to apply the KonMari method to my life.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up or binge-watched her Netflix series, the main takeaway is this: Keep only the things that spark joy and thank the rest for coming into your life to teach you a valuable lesson before you let it go.

Of course in her case Marie is talking about the separation of physical items into two categories: Joy and the Not-so-Joyous. But what if you tried to do that with relationships? Goals? Jobs? Expectations? Life plans?

The life plan I had at the time landed me in a place where I felt as though I was keeping joy out of my life by the things that I was choosing to keep in my life. So when I came across Kondo’s message, I took it as a sign that it was time to a do a little life Spring cleaning.

Before I started to execute the KonMari method, I found myself creating arguments to keep things in my life that I knew no longer brought me me joy. Relationships are complicated, job security is vital, goals change overtime—trust me, I went through the whole shebang.

And then I had this whole lightbulb moment when I realized I was missing the entire point. I was creating long-winded explanations for the life I was currently living (which did not bring me joy) in an attempt to justify my answers; when I should have been asking myself point blank: Does [blank] bring me joy? Yes or No?

It may feel like a very cut throat way to go about the division process, and you may in fact find yourself doing what I was doing. Arguing “No, it’s not as simple as yes or no because of X and then Y due to Z.” But just try. Try to make yourself answer yes or no and then see how true that statement feels. This was the easiest way that I found to stop making excuses or stories surrounding why I was holding on when joy could be found by letting go.

And over the course of a few months, this is what happened:

I decided to leave a job that was comfortable but always left me feeling unfulfilled and unhappy.

I walked away from relationships where the quantity of time outweighed the quality of the relationship.

I changed goals created out of societal pressure and parental expectations to ones that held true meaning to me.

Doing all of this did not come without its fair share of hardship or doubts, but when I released each thing that no longer brought me joy I had a gut feeling I was doing the right thing. So while holding onto that feeling, I continued to push forward and make changes that opened opportunities to create joy.

This is not a one-and-done type of Spring cleaning. Just as each year brings a new Spring, it also brings an opportunity to reevaluate. The meaning of what sparks joy will change as I do. What brings me joy in my 20’s will be different than what will bring my joy in my 30’s and so on. Do not limit or constrain your joy, but let it be a vast journey that is never-ending.

Cindal Ma