Kat’s Netflix subscription was paying off. Like the rest of the world, she had watched Marie Kondo transform homes from cluttered to cute, and she was ready to find what sparked joy in her own home.
She had watched the show, and she’d bought the book. She also bought a sweet little prayer mat so she could greet her home, just like Marie did. And of course she needed boxes in various sizes, so she bought those too. Kat was ready.
Marie says you must start with the clothes. Marie says you must put all your clothes in a pile on the bed.
Kat pulled out all the clothes she had. They came from her wardrobe, from her chest of drawers, from the laundry, from the spare room, and from the free-standing rack she’d bought at Kmart for the things she wore most often, and even from the mending basket. She was smart, she didn’t start on the shoes yet. They would get the Kondo treatment another day.
It was hard and heavy work lugging it all from every corner of the house. A couple of times she stumbled and knocked over a pile of books on the floor. Finally, the clothing was all piled high on the bed, like a clothing Mt Everest. In fact, there’d been a minor avalanche when the last few armfuls wouldn’t quite fit on the bed. Kat was tired but still determined.
She took a break, made herself a cup of tea and called her friend, Violet, who would surely be proud of her efforts. Violet was delighted. “Oh Kat, good for you! I did mine the other day and I know exactly how it works. I’ll pop right over and give you a hand.”
Violet knows about Kat’s hoarding and love of clothes shopping, but even she was surprised by the size of the pile. But she realised that all Kat had to do was to find the things that really sparked joy. Violet repeated the catch cry often and passionately. “Does this spark joy?”
And so they began. Kat picked up one piece after another and she and Violet fell into a rhythm. Kat would hold the item close. Violet would ask the question. Kat would reminisce about where and when she’d bought it or worn it or planned to wear it. Then Kat would say emphatically, “Yes, it sparks joy”. She would then fold it carefully, just as she’d seen Marie do on TV, and put it into a pile with other similar items, ready for colour-coding and putting away. This pattern happened time and time again.
Occasionally Violet pushed Kat to reconsider. “But this outfit couldn’t possibly still fit!”
Kat: “I know but I wore it for Kylie’s grade 6 graduation. It’s not about whether it fits. It’s about whether it sparks joy. And it does.”
Another time, Violet said, “This bright yellow blazer is from the 80s. I remember you wearing that to work before Kylie was born. And the pocket’s torn. Surely this can go?”
Kat: “I just have to repair that tear and it’ll be good as new. And didn’t you see in last month’s Women’s Weekly magazine that the boxy blazer look is coming back? Lucky I had the foresight to keep it. I know what I’m doing. And that sparks joy.”
They worked through all day, stopping for a quick lunch and a cup of tea. Eventually only one small bag of clothes were identified as not sparking joy. Those were set aside for donation to the op shop. Kat had read about how the Marie Kondo craze had caused an oversupply problem for the op shops, and how they didn’t want any more donations for now. She’d keep an eye out in her local area and hang on till they needed more. In the meantime, the bag of donations could sit by the front door, so she wouldn’t forget.
After all their work, there was still one problem. The pile of clothes on the bed didn’t seem to have dwindled. It was clear that she and Bill would be sleeping in the spare room tonight.
Violet had just about used up all her patience. When she pointed out to Kat that they hadn’t made much of a difference, Kat gave her a withering look. With that, Kat declared, “Violet, you’re not sparking joy. It’s high time you left.”
And so ended a long, tiring day. Violet was miffed. Bill was not happy to be evicted from his bed by a pile of clothes. And Kat realised that while all those individual garments sparked joy, the sheer volume left her with only misery.
Catch up on the past Adventures of Kat here…