Showing posts from December, 2018

Reporting for Support & Encouragement

This helps me. Would it help you?
I appreciate that I have friends and sisters who are happy to have me report in (over texts usually) about how I am progressing on my challenging areas while doing Spark Joy projects at home. I find it supportive.

My sister and I did a "long-distance" work day the other day. Instead of me driving to her home and being there to keep her motivated, this time I stayed home and worked on my home projects (stuck areas) while she worked in her home. We talked on the phone every hour or so. We both were helped and encouraged by this.

If you think this would help you, I can be your check in buddy!

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You Deserve Joy

You work hard. You care for others. You are unique and special.
When you are home, does your living space make you feel good? I hope so!

'Cause you deserve joy!

Photo credit:

The idea for this post came from my biggest Spark Joy fan, M. Lupercia.

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Sorting for & with Family

In Marie Kondo's book, she discusses that if parents leave their many years of collecting to their children to deal with when they die, they miss out on revisiting their treasures (photos for instance) themselves before then. While looking through all they have, they can pick and choose what to leave behind...what they want their children to enjoy.

I learned today that Margareta Magnusson wrote: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter

"It should be said that “death cleaning,” translated from the Swedish döstädning, does not necessarily involve the dreaded fact of death; rather, it is the steady acknowledgement and anticipation that you should start shedding the baggage of life rather than leave it for your unfortunate children to deal with. It’s also about facing one’s eventual exit in a mature, healthy, and unsentimental way." source:
video with the author: y…

Bedroom & office for Ph.D student, M. Lupercia, testimonial

Deb is an enzyme. She is that enzyme that helps you to facilitate your transformation. Like you know you are on a journey to your higher self and you can’t see where you are going. And sometimes you just wanna give up. That is where I was when Deb offered to help me spark joy. At first I was like, sure – I am organizationally challenged, I could use help with cleaning my room, I mean whatever I was doing certainly wasn’t working.

So Deb walked me through her process. Clothes? Sure. I can’t fit or wear half of them. Some I didn’t even like but when you dress like me, people just want you to have stuff in hopes that you won’t hurt their eyes or evoke unwanted feelings. LOL. A lot was myself as well and trying to hold on to something.

Books we left for last. Because. Books.

Anyways, the thing that was most unique about Deb is that she saw my soul or she’s empathetic. So she really tries to channel your journey and helps you clear your path (pun intended).

Now we are at the tail end of my spa…

Rediscovered Joy in Activities

While sorting your things in your home, you might rediscover an object you haven't used in ages; something you remember having fun with in the distant past when you took more time for fun. Like a tent or a hula hoop. While holding the object in your hands and checking in with your feelings, you decide to keep it. You put it in a more convenient spot and take it out now and then again to use it alone or with friends. It still Sparks Joy!

photo sun with camping son
© Jason Bosinoff, 2018

photo hooping in front rock garden with pottery students
© Philip R. Bosinoff, 2016

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In the Spaces Between

We can see beauty not just in objects, but in the spaces between them. In shadows and time alone and with taking time to smell the roses...while looking around...and up!

Where do you see beauty between?

photo seen at home
© Debra A. Griffin, 2017

photo hiking son
© Jason Bosinoff, 2018
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Feel the Joy?

When you hold each of the things in your life in your hands, do they spark joy?
If so, keep them.
If not, let them go.

This is part of the Spark Joy process. It works.

photo Nancy's Hands Holding © Debra A. Griffin, 2018
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Sisterly Support in her Room, testimonial

I needed to get rid of a bunch of things, but could never find the time and motivation. Deb offered to help me using her "spark joy" approach. It took a while for it to work for me, because I didn't think in terms of "joy" from my possessions. She has patiently worked with me and helped me figure out what to do when I feel stuck. I appreciate how she suggests where she could help while waiting for me to say when I'm ready to deal with a particular area.
- Nancy
Helping my sister once a month with her bedroom/office in her shared apartment in Brighton gave me experience and practice using the Spark Joy technique with a particularly reluctant participant who had little time or energy to care for her living space.

During one stage, Nancy gave me a ratty old cardboard filing box, with years of tape history on it, to recycle or donate. Instead, I took it home and covered it in cloth and added new hanging files. With matching cloth, I also covered another box I pl…

Making Time for What More?

So after you do a Spark Joy project, you might find you have more time, since you have a simplified home space.

I changed my large perennial garden over to a low maintenance, draught-tolerant garden in the fall of 2016 in order to make more time for doing more racial justice meeting organizing. This work helps me feel like I can make a difference, build sharing communities, and more...things that bring me joy (more than any object), and hopefully the work brings joy to others too, in the process.

Below is my garden filled in more than when I made it over in 2016; this was taken in the summer of 2018. I look happy because I can enjoy the garden more isn't just work!

I also realized that I had too many part-time jobs and was feeling a lot of stress from that. I decided which jobs brought me joy, and which ones didn't (anymore), and proceeded to quit some. That freed me up to do work that sparks joy. Like teaching pottery ( organizing racial justice me…

Photographer Phil's office & clothes, testimonial

Deb helped me focus on the possessions I truly care about, instead of just the one's I thought I was saving for posterity. Turns out if you don't get joy from it, there isn't a whole lot of reason to save it. 

Deb has an uncanny ability by just listening to me and discussing how I feel about things when I pick them up, to help me realize their true value in my life. She seems to do this almost instinctively, clearly empathetically, and essentially instantly. 

Despite previously storing things "wherever", and thinking I knew where everything was kept, the new approach looks a whole lot better, and I can still find something when I need it. Mostly, my previous messy arrangement just wore on me in various subtle nagging ways at a somewhat subconscious level. Turns out a clean environment encourages better thinking and problem solving, and those are important parts of my life. 

Thank you, Deb!
- Phil

Phil is an amateur photographer ( and software developmen…

Joy: TED talk & podcast

Ingrid Fetell Lee has a TED talk: Where joy hides and how to find it

This talk is not directly related to the simplifying and organizing work that I do, but it is topic-related and interesting non-the-less, and worth watching and thinking about.

Ingrid talks about color, circles, patterns...what visual things bring you joy?

Update March 1, 2020: I listened to a podcast today with an interview of this same author, Ingrid Fetell Lee. I think you might be interested in these ideas for joyful home changes: 
JOYFUL: Why Ordinary Objects Can Make You Extraordinarily Happy
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Practice Selection to Find Joy in Less, Not More

Are you unhappy in your home due to too much "stuff"?
Do you not know where to start to simplify and organize?
Do you need motivation and encouragement to get it done?

In planned blocks of time, I can work with you step by step, to help you go through your possessions in your home...selecting and making decisions about what to keep and what to give away, or trash...based on what sparks joy for you now...not based on past experiences or future desires.

When the sorting is done for each group (clothes, books, paper, mementos, etc.) then we organize and put away what you are keeping in such a way that things are easy to find, access, and return. It is so much more joyful to have less things so they can be found and put away quickly. (Usually, the storage space and containers you already have are the perfect size for what you decide to keep!)

It is exciting is to rediscover, while sorting, what sparks joy for you, and let go of what does not, so someone else can benefit from you…

Book Inspiration

In 2016, I read this book and it did for me what the title says:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing 
by Marie Kondo

I recommend this book for all to read. If you read it or not, and want help doing this kind of organizing in your home (if within an hour or Ashland, MA) then I can help you. I don't do exactly what Marie does, but I have learned from her and think her methods work well, in general.
More info on her book here.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, on Netflix as of Jan. 2019, video
I watched the whole series already and learned more from Marie about her process. I recommend it.

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