How to choose happiness (hint: maybe less is more!)

How to choose happiness (hint: maybe less is more!)

Marie Kondo: How to Choose Happiness (via the NY Times) 

This is an article from Turning Points, a magazine that explores what critical moments from this year might mean for the year ahead.

Turning Point: An executive at Ikea declared that the West has reached “peak stuff,” with people owning too many things.

The Japanese word “tokimeku” means “to spark joy.” Someone who is adopting my method of tidying must take a possession of hers and ask: “Does this spark joy for me?” This question is the sole basis for choosing what things to keep in one’s home and what to discard.

But can we apply this notion of sparking joy on a larger scale?

We live in a disorganized and chaotic world, much of it outside our control. I read recently that more than 80 billion articles of clothing are produced each year, but only a negligible few are recycled. As people’s buying habits shift and technology moves most everything to the cloud, people have been valuing experiences over material things. Some have even pointed out that we may have reached a critical point in terms of mass consumption — we’ve reached peak stuff.

Though it sometimes may seem like our things are threatening to take over our world, we can focus our energy and determination on choosing what makes us happy, and ultimately change our lives. Asking ourselves whether something sparks joy seems like such a simple process — so simple that many people wonder whether it can really be effective. The strength of the “spark joy” standard, however, lies in its ambiguity.

Let’s consider, for argument’s sake, more precise standards for what to keep or discard, even for something as basic as clothing. Should the number of jackets you own be fewer than 10? Should you discard clothes that you haven’t worn in more than three years?

Rules that adopt concise numerical values may appear to be more practical, which is why society often imposes specific standards on us, such as the amount of money we should earn, the ideal body weight we should maintain or the recommended quantity of food we should consume each day. But what makes one person happy, comfortable and healthy varies for the next, so your individual gold standard can be determined only through your own perspective. This is where the magic question — Does it spark joy? — comes into play…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE