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How To Decide What To Throw Away

by jenny sansouci on January 15, 2016

Hi bumblebees,

In honor of my friend Kirk’s 30-day writing experiment (it starts today, head over here if you want to join, you can join late), I’m attempting to get a blog out before midnight. In fact, it’s not even 7pm yet as I start this blog (actually now it’s 10pm, fine, I procrastinated again). This, my friends, is progress…

One thing I will note is that since his writing experiment starts today, that means I’ll officially be doing 45 days straight of writing, since I started my own writing experiment on Jan 1…this is mildly/moderately terrifying. Overachiever/total crazy person, I am. That’s a lot of writing but I’m doing it, because I’m SUCH a good friend. 😉 Maybe I’ll be a real writer after that…

I wrote about de-cluttering last year around this time, because I was getting ready to move apartments. Now, I’ve lived in the same apartment for almost a year and I’m yet again thinking about getting rid of stuff.

5 Ways Clutter Can Impact Your Life

There are so many good reasons to clear your space and get rid of/donate things you don’t need, but I think the most important reason is because having too much stuff drains your energy. I am all about doing whatever possible to lift my energy, and I notice that when I have items/clothes/documents that I don’t need, I start to feel really weighed down and tired.

I have the book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, but to be honest I’ve only read one page of it. I think it’s the most important page, though. It’s about HOW you decide what to get rid of.

It’s not about how old it is, whether or not it fits, how long you’ve had it, if it’s still fashionable, or whatever.

It’s about one thing and one thing only.


That’s the question. That’s the magic question to ask when you’re wondering whether or not you should throw something out/donate it, or keep it.

The reason this question is so important is because you want your entire space to be filled with ONLY things that spark joy. Isn’t that an awesome thing to imagine!?!?

The author recommends that you actually pick each thing up and hold it, to see if it sparks joy. Your body will tell you.

I think you’ll actually be surprised if you try this, because when I first did this practice, I ended up actually donating a bunch of things that I had acquired VERY recently. I didn’t expect to do that, but I realized I was only keeping those things around because they were new. But seriously, if they aren’t sparking joy, why the heck would you want to even look at them?!?!?

I bet if you take the time to look around your home, you’ll see things that don’t spark joy. Maybe there are things that every time you pick them up or see them you have a subtle low-energy feeling, and that just drains a tiny spark of energy from you every day. Have enough things around you that drain a little bit of happy energy… and you’re not feeling too good.

Little things like almost-empty lip gloss or random beauty products that you’ve never used before…or clothes that you haven’t worn in forever but you used to love them, mail you’ve kept that you thought was important but really it’s tossable, books you have stacked up that don’t represent who you are anymore…all of these things could be draining your joy.

I’m going to spend a big part of this weekend going through this process and getting rid of anything that isn’t sparking joy when I look at it and touch it. I literally can’t wait to start clearing some space for new beautiful energy to come into my life!

You can do the same thing with other areas of your life, too – social plans, events, etc. Does thinking about it spark joy? If not, why are you going? I like to think of that Jason Mraz quote, “Open up your plans, and damn, you’re free.” 🙂 Love that line. The choice is yours.

Ok, let’s get rid of stuff we don’t need in the new year!!!!! (I’m just officially realizing it’s a new year today, halfway through January. Haven’t really felt any new year energy until now. I’m ok with that).

Try the “does it spark joy” test and let me know how it goes!!

Love, love, love…


Check out The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up

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Cheryl Major January 16, 2016 at 7:58 am

This is a great simple shift in thinking! I’m going to give it a try and pass it on to others. I’d like to create some empty space for “new wonderful” myself. Thanks!

Nika January 19, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Wow-“Does it spark joy” How perfect. I always resisted the “if you havent worn or used it in a year” Because maybe there wasn’t an occassion to, but those items bring promise of good times. Thank you for such a simple and profound tip!?

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