Many people combine spring cleaning and decluttering during the Pesach-cleaning process. It’s a logical concept, but I would like to remind everyone there are 50/52 weeks of the year for decluttering, which is an ongoing process, not a yearly event. The mitzvah is to look for chometz.
Nevertheless, in the cleaning process, I found a few items to declutter. One basic concept I use for decluttering is one from Marie Kondo (the Konmari method): Does the item SPARK JOY?
I wanted to share what I decluttered and why, as I encountered items in my Pesach prep that no longer suited my needs. So for a little show and tell, or more accurately telling because there are no photos, here’s what I did.
- Jacket with the broken zipper. I had this jacket since 1997 (it’s now 2022, do the math). I loved this jacket, but at some point, the zipper broke. I looked into getting the zipper replaced, but sadly, the cost of replacing it would be more than the jacket. I thought of wearing it unzipped, but it just never happened. After more than a handful of winters of not wearing it, it went to the clothing recycling receptacle.
What’s interesting is when I bought a new sweatshirt, I didn’t connect the fact it was the same color as the jacket, so inadvertently, I had already replaced it, which made getting rid of the jacket easier. Broken zippers do not spark joy.
- Throw pillows. While nice to lean upon, they always end up on the floor and a good part of my tidying up involves putting them back on the couch or nagging the kids to do so. While only a fraction of a second to return the pillow to the couch I spend a lot of time doing it. Being on a cleaning frenzy for both crumbs and conquering dust, I needed to wash the pillow covers as the once uncovered and less pristine-looking pillows needed a facelift.
With the pillow covers off, I realized that dust had gotten past the pillow covers giving the pillows a dusty smell and sending my allergies into overdrive. Since the pillows were showing their stuffing, they were unwashable. I thanked the pillows for their service (the Jewish concept of hakoras ta tov, showing gratitude, as well as a Konmari concept) and then trashed them. Dusty, unsightly pillows do not spark joy.
- Books. Normally, I have no difficulty parting with reading material. These particular books have been controversial since the author was found to have done some heinous acts. After news broke, I pulled them from my shelves, stashed them in a bag unsure of what to do with them, and left them in limbo. Today they went away. If items have bad memories or associations attached to them, they do not spark joy.
- Decorative items. I like looking at things that make me happy and displaying them. However, too much stuff can overwhelm a small space. After putting a few items away and not seeing them for a certain amount of time, I got clarity on which items I really loved and which I was ready to part with. Too many display items can lead to visual clutter, and stress, and also accumulate dust. Clutter, stress, and dust do not spark joy.
- Odds and ends. Stretched-out clothing that didn’t make me feel fab, some cookie cutters that never get used (we prefer classic chocolate chip, not shaped cookies), and a handful of craft supplies. The fabric-covered cardboard box from the Old Country that held the supplies was more tape than the box. The box had sparked joy, so I kept trying to repair it. I gave it a sad goodbye and it went out with the pillows. Broken, stretched out, or unused items do not spark joy.
The newly cleared-out spaces spark joy.
So there you have it, a peek into my recent decluttering.
The goal is deciding what we want to surround ourselves with and what sparks joy, and that is what we keep. Note that our likes and preferences change over time, so what once was, no longer is and that’s ok. You don’t need to keep something for posterity.
So I’m back to Pesach preparations and searching for chometz after this brief recharge to write (an activity that Sparks Joy). Wishing you a chag kasher v’sameach.