After watching Marie Kondo’s life-changing show, “Tidying Up,” and reading her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I found myself absolutely hooked on the KonMari method. Since then, my husband and I have torn through our closets, our drawers, our cabinets, our garage…there is no space in our house that is safe from our frenzy. The interesting result of all of this has been that we have begun asking ourselves the question, “does this spark joy?” about almost everything in our life. We have discovered that many aspects of our lives need to be decluttered and that there are lots of ways to “spark joy” that stretch beyond cleaning out our closets.
We all use our phones for essentially everything – for calling and texting, for checking social media, for tracking our bank accounts, for online shopping, for playing games. You name it, and we probably use our phone to do it. However, over time, our phones can become jammed with apps, pictures, and videos. Take a few minutes to look over each of these and get rid of those that you don’t want or that you don’t need anymore. When I started looking through my phone, I found tons of apps that I no longer use. I had close to 100 different apps downloaded on my phone. I was easily able to eliminate over 50 of those. There were tons of old games I had downloaded for the kids to play, which now that they have their own devices, are unnecessary. I also had a bunch of shopping apps, which I no longer use, so I was able to whittle those down to only 3 that I actually use. Even though a junky phone isn’t something we really “see,” it still makes our lives more complicated because it makes it difficult to find the apps we actually need when we are constantly swiping through all the extras to find what we want. Save yourself some time and some stress by deleting all that unnecessary fluff.
2. Our Email
My email accounts were embarrassing. I was getting probably thousands of emails each day, and I was constantly trying to mark them all as read so that I wouldn’t have that little notification bubble with an ungodly number on it. I was getting email updates from stores and services that I had not used in YEARS. I finally decided that enough was enough. I was tired of dealing with my inbox constantly being an ABSOLUTE mess. I spent about 30 minutes scrolling through my email and unsubscribing to all the email lists that I never actually look at. I was able to go from about a thousand emails a day to less than 100. Again, even though it’s a small thing, it makes me feel like my life is less cluttered and more organized.
3. Our Social Media
When I was looking through my apps to delete, I realized that my social media accounts were out of control. I had multiple accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat. I cannot tell you how much time I was spending each day checking all of these accounts. Even though I haven’t fully deleted all of the accounts (I need to download pictures and some other information before I do the final delete), I have deleted the apps off my phone. Deleting SnapChat was easy because I never really use it. Facebook and Twitter were the next to go because I feel like these sites only stress me out. Facebook is full of political arguments and personal drama, and Twitter was full of news stories that made me feel hopeless and depressed, so those were the next to go, along with Facebook Messenger. I decided to keep Instagram because I actually enjoy using it. After deleting these apps from my phone, I shaved HOURS off my weekly screentime. And, I don’t miss them at all. I feel happier and more productive. I even FINALLY got around to writing this article!
4. Our Finances
Bills are absolutely the bane of my existence. I hate paying them. I hate tracking them. I just hate dealing with them period. NOTHING about this process sparks joy for me. NOTHING. But a huge part of adulting, as we all know, is paying bills, so I have to do it, even if I find it depressing and disgusting. However, if you sit down and examine your finances, you will find that there are bills that can be eliminated or combined. My husband and I discovered that we both were paying for Amazon Prime, so we consolidated that into one account. We were also both paying for music subscriptions, so we combined that into one family account through one provider. We were also able to shave down our cable bill and our cell phone bill. There are other bills that we can’t do much about right now, but we developed a plan to begin to whittle down our debt so that eventually, we won’t have as many bills to pay, and that DEFINITELY sparks joy for me.
5. Our Relationship
This was probably the trickiest aspect of my life to declutter. My husband and I both work full time, we each have children of our own, and we have a child together. It’s stressful. Being an adult is hard. Being a parent is hard. And being a parent in a blended family is especially hard. There are often circumstances that arise that are beyond our control. Seriously. WAY beyond our control. But our lives are still impacted by these circumstances, and we still have to find ways to deal with them. Sometimes we deal with these things in positive ways, and sometimes we deal with them in not so positive ways. Looking back, we realize that there are arguments that we have had over and over again for our entire relationship. At some point, we have to decide what’s worth fighting about and what’s not. Eventually, we have to learn to just let go of some things, otherwise, we will be fighting about these same things for the rest of our lives. And personally, that doesn’t spark very much joy for me. I think that decluttering our relationship is probably the most difficult step we have to take and the step that will take the longest, but ultimately, just attempting to make our marriage stronger will make it stronger.
I encourage you to not only look at these aspects of your life, but any others that you think could use decluttering. Tidy up your life, not just your closet. Spark all the joy that you possibly can!