Over the last few weeks, my kids and I have been asking each other, “Does this spark joy?”
What a simple yet profound question.
If you’re not familiar with Marie Kondo, she is an international home organizing sensation.
Here in the United States, she has become a household name in the last 45 days. In addition to a best-selling book on organizing your home, her TV show appeared on Netflix at the beginning of this year.
I’ve become a Kondovert.
My kids think I’ve gone insane.
Two weekends ago, I insisted we go through every item of their clothing to determine if each item sparks joy for them.
Last night, I started on the same process for myself.
For the first time in my life, I open my clothing drawers and I do actually feel joy.
There are a million things in the world that are out of my control. Not being able to find my favorite shirt in under three seconds is not one of them (or at least not anymore).
When I read books, attend seminars, or hire coaches, I prefer learning about a topic from a single person who’s really good at what they do.
Rather than picking up little tactics and ideas here and there, I prefer to learn someone's entire overarching approach.
What I’ve come to realize is that there are techniques, and then there’s an overall approach of how the techniques are used together to form an elegant whole — a whole that’s far greater than the sum of its parts.
Roughly two-thirds of the ideas Kondo teaches I had heard of previously. One-third was new to me. How those two parts combine is extremely powerful.
Here are two key insights that were new to me and a revelation:
- Before you organize, say goodbye to things from your past that aren’t a part of your future.
- For the belongings that you want to “get rid of,” say “thank you.” Thank it for the role it played in your past.
A few hours ago, I said “goodbye” to the suit I wore every other day at McKinsey... 23 years ago!
The suit no longer fits and hasn’t for years. But, I’ve carried it around for decades because THAT suit was what I wore at the start of what would become an incredible career and life.
So I finally said, “Thank you, suit.
"Thank you for helping me dress the part to be taken seriously.
"Thank you for letting me walk into my first Fortune 500 boardroom with confidence.
"Thank you for helping me build a career that would ultimately allow me to raise three amazing daughters who bring me enormous joy in my life.”
I hope that whoever ends up wearing this suit next gets as much out of it as I have in the past.
And thank you, Marie Kondo, for sharing your talents and gifts with the world.
I don’t know what my future holds, but I’m pretty certain there will be a lot more "joy" in it.