A Journey to Sparking Joy: How Decluttering has Completely Changed My Life

Hello again! And a very happy Sunday my friends!

Can you believe we’ve reached the last week of our {Sparking Joy} series?!

Seriously! Eight weeks of decluttering, organizing and tidying our home.

I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to share our journeys as we rid our lives of clutter!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: A Journey to Sparking Joy

 

A Journey to Sparking Joy with:

Anderson & Grant
Making it in the Mountains
DIY Passion
Dwelling in Happiness
Zevy Joy
Cupcakes & Crinoline
Lost in the Found
The Happy Housie


 

Turns out the real magic to tidying up doesn’t come from clever storage ideas or organizing tricks, it all starts with the act of decluttering. Makes sense. The less you have to keep organized, the less work it will be to keep it all in it’s place.

Easier said than done.

Following the principles outlined in the life-changing magic of tidying up, we’ve worked our way through the entire house to get rid of anything and everything that doesn’t spark joy. The ultimate goal of course is to simplify our life. Follow along as we share our journey to declutter … who knows, maybe it will even inspire you to start one of your own too!


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: A Journey to Sparking Joy
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.*

My journey to {sparking joy} so far:

Week One: How Decluttering can Change your Life
Week Two: Decluttering the Closet
Week Three: Decluttering Make-up, Shoes & Accessories
Week Four: Decluttering Books (& a million other things!)
Week Five: Decluttering All Things Paper
Week Six: Decluttering & Organizing the Kitchen
Week Seven: Decluttering & Organizing the Playroom


There’s no denying that I had BIG expectations of this journey to sparking joy. I didn’t just want the promises of a simpler life to be true, I needed them to be!

When I started this journey, I explained the feelings of stress & anxiety that I felt in trying to keep a perfectly tidy home.

Maybe it’s a bit unrealistic to expect the entire house to be neat and clean at all times … that’s what everyone tells me. And, let’s face it, it’s utterly exhausting keeping a perfect house with everything in it’s place with a three year old son blowing his way through each room like a tornado and a husband that isn’t as crazy about clean as I am. I was starting to face the fact that a perfectly neat and tidy house wasn’t just unrealistic, it was darn near impossible with real life happening within it.

Truly, I’ve spent my entire life hearing about how silly those expectations are. I remember hearing often about how crazy my Mom was for choosing to keep her house SO clean and tidy. Apparently everyone didn’t live that way.

And then I grew up, bought my own house and that talk shifted to me. People have been telling me that I was a bit over the top with my need to keep things neat and tidy for years. They’ve led me to believe that it’s just not normal and even that there is something wrong with me – that because everybody didn’t feel this way, this strongly about keeping things clean and in their place, that I was wrong to.

So, over the years, I’ve worked hard to change my expectations of my family – and, honestly of myself too. I’v tried my best to change who I was and talk myself out of the anxiety that any little mess might give me. And, to some extent, I have. I’d like to think that my family feels less pressure to keep a perfect house for my benefit.

But, honestly, I’d have to say that not so deep down, no matter how much I try to talk myself out of it, that stress and anxiety to keep everything perfect is still there. I may have alleviated the pressure on my family (at least a bit!), but my own stress to keep everything perfect was totally through the roof. Mostly, I think I’d just shifted some of the burden of that perfectly neat and tidy house from those around me to myself.

Then came this book …

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: A Journey to Sparking Joy

And, I swear, I felt as if it had been written just for me!

I’ve always believed in the power of a clean and tidy space. Not to fix everything that’s wrong in my life on any given day necessarily. I just can’t help but feel grounded and safe in my own, tidy space.

Turns out Marie Kondo and I are two peas in a pod. Except that she’s found a way to make keeping things neat & tidy easier. Less exhausting let’s say.

A little work now to create a more peaceful life for years to come…

How could I resist?

I quickly got to work. In fact, I’ve spent the last eight weeks working my way through my home and, with the help of this brilliant book, my home is now filled only with those things that truly spark joy.

Now, typically getting rid of things can be quite difficult – I might need it, I might miss it, you know the drill. Thankfully, Kondo’s black and white approach to it all made the process so much easier! Holding each and every item I own in my hands, asking myself whether keeping it would bring me joy, and then making the choice to either keep it or let it go – who knew decluttering could be so simple?

Did I make my way through every inch of my home? No. But, I did make incredible progress. I carted no less than 25 GIANT bags of clutter out of our home and, subsequently, out of our lives. And I’m not done yet!

I have to tell you, ridding our lives of clutter has been so freeing, so empowering. I had no idea all of this extra stuff in our lives had been weighing us down so much. I honestly can’t believe the difference it’s made to our lives! Imagine waking up in a cozy, tidy bedroom, getting dressed in a closet that is filled only with things that you love, preparing breakfast in a kitchen with clear countertops that aren’t cluttered and overloaded with things you never use.

Now, imagine your entire life this way.

Lighter, simpler, tidier, less hurried, less stressful. Happier.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: A Journey to Sparking Joy

I’m definitely a believer and I hope that through my journey I’ve shown you why you should be too!

What are you waiting for? Go grab your copy now and spark some joy in your own life.
 



 

Did you miss something? Catch my entire journey to {sparking joy} below:


 

Wishing you SUCH a lovely day!

PS. You can find me sharing here and Savvy Southern Style.

Happy Notes copy    

38 thoughts on “A Journey to Sparking Joy: How Decluttering has Completely Changed My Life

  1. Hi Kristi. I really enjoyed reading your post. And it struck quite a cord with me. I come from a family of people who believe in a neat and clean home. As an adult in California, virtually everyone I knew kept their homes this way. But then I moved, to Idaho and now Texas. I’ve had complete strangers make a point of commenting on the cleanliness of my home. As if it’s a bad thing. As if it’s an exception.

    I was raised to think of my home as an extension of respect for myself, my belongings, and visitors. It is how I chose to keep my home. It makes me comfortable and happy. I would never dream of making derogatory comments about someone else’s home, their personal sanctuary. They are welcoming me in and I respect and appreciate that.

    I used to let these strange comments pass without reply. I admit I don’t anymore. And I wonder if those who take such liberties consider that they raise doubts about their manners and questions about how they care for their own homes.

    Thank you again, Kristi, for your post and for welcoming people like me into your blog.

    Cheers, Ardith

    1. Thank you SO much for writing this Ardith and sharing your thoughts and experience! It means so much to hear from others that feel the very same way! Honestly, I couldn’t agree more with each and every word you wrote! I’ve always felt my need to keep a neat & tidy house was excessive, a quality I needed to overcome. But why? What is so wrong with wanting to keep a clean home? I’m realizing (finally, at 31) that, just as you’ve said, these comments from others that are meant to make me feel this way are purely a reflection of the person they come from. This journey has been as life-changing as I’d hoped it would be – it’s changed my way of thinking about myself and my home, allowing me to keep it the way I’m most comfortable and thankfully, after decluttering, it is so much easier to maintain! Thanks again for your sweet comment Ardith! It really does mean the world!

  2. I’ve enjoyed reading your segments of “decluttering” and finding what sparks your Joy in your Home. I know it’s not easy to divest yourself and your family of the stuff you accumulate over the years. I have had 4 parents (2 in-laws) pass away in the last 5 years, and rather than confront all the emotions with “inherited” stuff, I’ve just stored it in my back rooms, thus setting the stage for clutter. It is really painful sometimes to go through it all and let “go” of those belongings……it is still an ongoing process. I will say I am getting better at it as I am entering my twilight years, and don’t want anyone else burdened with such difficult tasks. Keep the Joy flowing, you’re inspiring me! Thanks-a-Bunch, Kristi =D

    1. Thank you Kristi! I’m so happy to hear that you are feeling inspired to work your way through things – it can be SUCH a difficult task to face those memories and feel like you’re letting things go. I haven’t been able to make myself get rid of any of the things I inherited from my own Dad either, though thankfully there wasn’t a ton that made it’s way here. Wishing you all the best and thanks again!

  3. Kristi, I couldn’t agree with you more! This book has definitely changed my life and it’s crazy how such a simple concept can make such a HUGE difference! By asking if items spark joy, I’ve sadly come to realize that most of our “stuff” doesn’t, or didn’t. It was more of a great deal where I bought items on sale vs splurging for the item I really loved. Of course I now know that I can thank those items for the thrill of the purchase and for realizing they are not actually my style, and move on. It’s been especially encouraging and helpful since we will be downsizing, but I have to admit that I am definitely taking longer to make decisions because I want to make sure each item we purchase is not only functional, but something I LOVE. This has been a great series and thanks for sharing your journey!

    1. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience Katie! I can’t imagine the downsizing that is going to take – though there’s something very exciting energizing about starting new and getting rid of those things you don’t love or need. I am so, so excited for you both and cannot wait to follow along with all of your new adventures … you’re definitely living out one of our dreams and I think it’s going to be the adventure of a lifetime!

  4. I have been reading through the book myself and it’s nice to know I am not alone in my struggle! In this home especially we have a real issues with clutter and the book has really opened my eyes to how much stuff we have that really brings no joy to us, in reality most of it just stresses me out! I have not applied any of the ideas yet but I have started to formulate a plan and once I complete the book I plan to start the decluttering process….hopefully the right way!

    1. Thanks so much Gilly! You know, I always thought clutter was a worry reserved for small apartments, short on storage, but now I know that the bigger the space, the more crap you collect! It can be very overwhelming, without even knowing it!!! It’s amazing how much lighter I feel and how much easier it is to keep things tidy and put away at all times now that there’s so much less to worry about! Good luck on your journey my friend! It might not be easy, but it’ll totally be worth it!

  5. Kristi, your post couldn’t be more timely! I just bought this book over the weekend and have just started reading it. I’ve pretty much decided to start the process after the holidays, but seeing and reading abut your progress is making me really excited to get started.
    I’m already a pretty tidy person, but I have been married for almost 30 years with 2 teenagers, so we have STUFF! I’m just itching to get at it!
    Congrats on your decluttering and tidying achievement.
    In awe, Lynn

    1. Thanks Lynn! I’m SO happy you’re feeling inspired! I felt exactly the same way – once I started reading it, I couldn’t resist going through my things the very next day! Good luck with your journey Lynn!

    1. Thank you Shehla! You’re right, having a place for everything helps, and I found getting rid of those things I no longer needed made more room for the things that I still do. Happy knitting!!!

  6. It does make a big difference. We tackled our garage (though I didn’t share that) and I can actually park in there now! But then I asked my husband if we still had some strips of MDF we had been holding onto that I wanted for a project, and he said no, he burned them! Ahh!! Sometimes it backfires when you are a project type – you need to have access to some things for your last minute creative ideas. I have let go of the tidiness issue a lot Kristi- it has helped me incredibly hiring a house cleaner. I work outside the home full time, plus have two boys, plus coach soccer, plus run this blog. So I gave in a handed something over to someone else. It is incredible, that has taken the most weight off my shoulders knowing that everything will get a deep-clean once a week and I don’t have to do it!

    1. Absolutely Krista! We actually hired one too when we moved back to AB and it was amazing the weight it lifted from my shoulders, not even having to think about/ plan how I would get it all done! Then she had surgery and we’ve just been too busy to replace her (first world problems I guess!). Anyway, I couldn’t agree more! And kudos to you for clearing out your garage! We still have an ENTIRE basement to do!!!

    1. Thank you Erin! Moving has a way of making you want to get rid of things rather than pack them 😉 It really does make such a difference to keeping things tidy when there’s just less to keep clean! Good luck with the rest!

  7. I’ve really enjoyed following along with this series, and now I want to read the book! We definitely are a lot alike in that we like a neat and tidy space! I’ve found that a messy house makes me feel grumpy and it makes my mind feel cluttered. I’m less focused and less motivated when my space isn’t organized. I really enjoyed hearing about your decluttering process and can’t wait to try some of these ideas myself!

    1. Thank you SO much Jenna! It definitely sounds like we’re two peas in a pod! I couldn’t agree more!!! You should totally read that book (I bet you’d have it done in a jiffy) and work through decluttering too! Good luck my friend and thanks again! xo

  8. Like you, I’ve found that clever storage ideas are not the answer, but decluttering takes continued diligence since ‘things’ creep in over time. Thanks for sharing. (stopping by from Brag Worthy Thursday hop)

    ~Taylor-Made Homestead~
    Texas

  9. Hi Kristi,
    Enjoyed this post, and I agree there really is something cathartic about decluttering your life.
    I have that desire too, and will definitely have to get this book. Never thought of using the rule
    of thumb “does it spark joy”. That is a great question.
    About 13-14 yrs. ago, we had a flood in our house, which meant I had to pack up a lot of things
    and they sat in our garage for about 6 mos or more………….when the time came that I could put
    them back, I found it much easier to let go of so much of it, since I had done without it for 6 mos.
    or more I lost my attachment. I found that I kept so many things because so and so had given
    it to me and I felt bad to get rid of it…………….but after that time of being without it…..it was easy
    to let go of…………..and my house was quite decluttered, but over the years we have gotten cluttered up again, so I try to make it a weekly habit at least to get rid of something, I want
    it to be a daily habit, and sometimes it is, but most of the time it is not………but your post has
    inspired me and I will just have to get this book…………….
    Blessings on your decluttered home and life,
    Nellie

    1. Thank you SO much Nellie! What a great way declutter (minus the flooding part I guess). The book actually dresses gifts by pointing out that whoever gave you it do so because they wanted you to be happy, if it’s not sparking joy, they wouldn’t want you to keep it! Good luck with your journey Nellie!!!

  10. Thanks for writing this series, Kristi. I’ve really enjoyed following your progress and seeing how you deal with each challenge. Living in a clean and organized health IS a great thing, and not something to be ashamed of! I’m not quite where I’d like to be yet, but every time a get a bit more clutter out of the house I feel so much better about things.
    Great job on getting rid of 25 bags-that’s awesome! Do you plan on continue to blog about your progress? I’d love to hear how you continue to tackle things, especially cards and such as Christmas is coming!

    1. Thank you Hannah!!! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it! I don’t feel like I’m “there” yet either, though I’m not sure I’ll ever really be – I’ve still got an entire garage and basement to go through, which could totally be another entire series just on their own 😉 I would be happy to continue to share progress as I go, thank you for the encouragement! Wishing you luck with your journey too Hannah!

  11. Hello Kristi, I’m visiting for the first time and I am so impressed with your blog, this segment and what you are accomplishing! Thank you so much for sharing your de-cluttering experience. My interest is piqued in this book, and I think I just may have to put it on my Christmas list, lol. I look forward to many visits here for inspiration and some fun. Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow

    1. Thank you SO much for your kind words Carrie! I’m thrilled that you have enjoyed reading about my journey to tidy up our home once and for all! It really has simplified our day-to-day lives and was totally worth the investment. Thanks again, you’re sweet comment totally made my morning! xo

  12. Hmmm, I’m intrigued. I truly am one of those women that can only relax in a tidy house. And when mine is not, it adds stress to my entire day and life. After reading this great post, I think I may need to read that book. 🙂

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