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Taking back joy

When did so many people become efficiency experts? It isn’t anything new to try to pare down belongings or try to justify moving and never opening the same 10 boxes of my mother’s china. Marie Kondo’s popular show, “Spark Joy,” deals with efficiency and decluttering techniques. Did she have to hijack the word “joy” along the way?

It’s Christmas time, and I can’t enter a store without seeing actual signs of “joy” as I walk down holiday-themed aisles. “If it doesn’t bring you joy,” rings in my head. Christmas carols are also ringing in my head, but that has been going on since Halloween. 

I always feel that decorating for the holidays is the only time of year people don’t judge me for my clutter. I can simply throw some tinsel on whatever is around, and I’m festive. A few twinkle lights wrapped around work files form a tree in its own way, a glimpse of its own forest past.

Searching for joy through all my belongings feels like more of a fad than any type of lifestyle change. It feels entwined in the clock-watchers and time monitors from past jobs. 

I have a family member with hoarding issues, so please don’t come at me with your grids, charts and justifications. I do understand hoarding is a different rabbit hole to go down. If clutter is making someone unhappy or unable to function, that is a different issue. There are other ways of looking at our cluttered lives. It is looking for balance. 

I do support anyone to take on their life and shift it to be productive, purposeful and happy. If it is organizing your shelves and folding your clothes, do it. If it’s helping your neighbor, do it. If it’s tossing tinsel on a pile of dirty clothes on your child’s floor, do it. Do it to be happy. If it brings you joy, do it. 

I feel slightly vindicated when I bring “joy” into my house. It just may light up and sit on a shelf. I’ll pack it up later when the snow melts. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Have a joyful season.

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