I love Marie Kondo’s phrase of ‘does this spark joy?’ when reviewing an item, but sometimes think it’s overstating how I feel. My raincoat doesn’t exactly spark joy but I wouldn’t be without it. So, I’ve tended to use The Minimalists’ phrase of ‘does this add value to my life?’. This suits me better and allows me to make sensible choices when deciding what to keep or what to de-clutter.
But I have found that there are cases when ‘joy’ describes what ‘value’ can’t. That’s when I understand why Konmari uses the word ‘joy’.
Some time ago, I came across a cardigan in a neutral, stone colour. I immediately thought, ‘this will be so useful – the neutral colour will go with everything – it will be (that holy grail item) a wardrobe staple’. I also thought that it was a bit ‘meh’ but I sensibly tamped down this feeling!
I bought it, took it home and hung it in the middle of my capsule wardrobe. I felt pleased with myself for my sensible decision and was confident that it would add value to my wardrobe.
But here’s the thing – it didn’t spark joy. It felt worthy and sensible and practical – but I never looked forward to wearing it. The colour didn’t suit me, I felt I had to shrug my shoulders constantly to make it sit right and it always felt a bit dull – and this coming from someone who wears black A LOT!
I valued the practicality over the joy and, on this occasion, it didn’t work out.
Now, I have a pair of plain, black trousers – I love them, not only the trousers themselves, but because they go with so many items. They look professional for work, I feel pulled together when I wear them and they’re comfortable. Others may look at them and think ‘dull’! But they spark joy for me.
I think joy and value are unique, individual feelings. The cardigan has helped me to distinguish between erring too much on the logical side and being comfortable with a gut feeling.
So, I’ve let the cardigan go, with no regrets. Are you ever torn between practicality and joy? Which wins?!! Have a great week 🙂