Moving Beyond the Question of "Joy"


The best part about Marie Kondo’s approach to a tidier home is that you don’t really have to buy anything to accomplish the task. You just have to spend time making the magic happen. That makes this the perfect All About the Jack$on$ challenge.

If I’m being a stickler, I rented this book—The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up—from the library and probably had a late fee of $10.00 or so...

Does this count as spending money on the challenge? I’ll leave that to you to decide. 😉


I grew up with a father who was a “collector” of many, MANY things. His desire to collect and my mother’s desire to have an orderly house were constantly at odds with each other.

The effect on me was to inherit a heart for the unique paired with the absence of needing to own things forever.

That being said, the one place I probably own too much is my costume collection…

But when I find a pale orange cape lined with white feathers and adorned on the back with rhinestones, I think,

“It must be mine!!!”


For me, costuming is a hobby that brings together huge groups of friends for quirky and unforgettable experiences.


Because of that, I like to be prepared—over prepared, really—so that at the drop of a hat, eight people can enter our house dressed in “normal” street clothes, and 20 minutes later those people have been completely transformed into whatever their imagination has dreamed up.


The thing is, if my costumes bins are crammed and disorganized, then dress-up isn’t as much fun. So this is where I got inspired this week.

I read Marie Kondo’s book about a year ago and thought it could be really useful advice for anyone who struggles with letting go of the “stuff” that we fill our lives with. I feel like there is a story we are told from the time we are little—a message we are given over and over that when we find and posses the right house, car, furniture, clothes, whatever, we will be happy.

And so we consume and consume and consume hoping to find the promise of happiness in our things. But that happiness never comes. And yet we continue the cycle of buying and buying and buying until we fill our closets and basements and attics with things.

Things that we are now responsible for caring for, organizing, cleaning...

I want to erase the fairy tale that things bring me joy, and so instead of asking myself the question as to whether an item brings me “joy,” I ask myself the following questions:

  1. Does the item serve a purpose in my life?

  2. When I need the item, will I know where to find it?

  3. Am I willing to give up precious moments of my life caring for the item?


These three questions make it possible for me to have an organized home without becoming obsessed with getting rid of everything.

What I like most about Marie’s approach to tidying up is that it forces you to deal with the entire matter at hand all at once. I’m not sure that we could organize our entire house all at once, like Marie suggests, but focusing on one large area was doable.


And I liked pulling all my costumes out and then sorting them. And the letting go of some and then putting back what I kept was actually kinda fun.

Darrick did it with me. We listened to some music and tried some stuff on, so instead of the process being work, it felt like playing. Of course, we were handling costumes which is inherently more fun than going through the tool collection in your garage, but either way having a partner in crime made it more enjoyable.

Three hours later and we had it all organized, plus we had a car full stuff to drop off at the thrift store!

The most important part of the process for me was asking the questions about why I am really holding onto the things in my house. It was important to dig deeper than the first idea of “joy,” or thoughts of “I like it,” or “It’s a vintage piece from 1934,” or “I am gonna use it for my derby hat.”

It was important for me to find the deeper meaning in my questions and answers about my things.


I collect costumes because I want to inspire creativity and humor, and to foster play in the lives of the adults around me.

And that takes a lot of wigs, masks, and sparkly capes!


See what everyone else did ♥