Magical tidying and writing books

I came a bit late to the Marie Kondo phenomenon. But as soon as I started reading her book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, I knew I could never go back.

I've always loved organizing. Getting rid of things, decluttering. But often the process was tedious. I'd stare at my closet, unable to let go of that scratchy yet fashionable gray sweater I'd never worn, or the striped skirt that wasn't exactly my style but still very practical. 

Does all of this spark joy? Probably not...

Does all of this spark joy? Probably not...

Reading Kondo's work felt revolutionary. Instead of focusing on what to toss, Kondo teaches you to focus on what to keep. And to determine what to keep, you physically hold each object and determine whether it "sparks joy."

Kondo has a whole method, which I (more or less) followed. The process was exhausting, but did result in a tidier house. (Though it still gets untidy, and requires periodic analysis of the joy-sparking ability of new things that have pushed their way in.)

One surprising benefit: I learned to trust my gut and determine what I truly loved. Not just what I might need, or what I thought I should have - but what I loved.

As Kondo writes (both in her original book and her new graphic novel, The Life-Changing Magna of Tidying Up), each of us knows immediately what "sparks joy." You can just feel it. No analysis, no pro/con list needed. It's a gut-level reaction. For me, I may smile or feel a fondness or a lightness when holding something I love.

Not my office, but I wouldn't mind if it was.

Not my office, but I wouldn't mind if it was.

Learning to listen to that little voice, to give weight to that which I love, has been helpful in my writing process. I'm not writing just to create a good, marketable story, but rather, to follow a fancy or to dip my toe in something that interests me

Writing, painting, acting - all art depends on millions of choices, one made after another. Do I dip a brush into navy or aqua? Elevate my voice or lower it for emphasis? Start a scene here or there?

It's impossible to make every choice like a master analyst. You must often go with your instinct. And amidst my piles of clothing and old papers and pots and pans, I feel I have improved my skill at doing just that.

So thank you, Marie Kondo. Not just for a tidier house. But a happier, more creative life.