Spark Your Life

You may have heard the words “spark joy” tossed around at parties, or maybe you saw it sprinkled within the copy of your favorite lifestyle publication. The term “spark joy” refers to the minimalist ideas expressed by organizational expert and author Marie Kondo in her best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” In her book, Kondo explains how she instructs her clients to only keep items in their house that they find useful or beautiful―the things that “spark joy.”

Since its publication in 2011, Kondo’s book has taken the world by storm. People all over are decluttering and getting rid of things around the house in an attempt to live a tidier and less stressful life. While in the past Americans have associated having more—the bigger house, multiple cars, a wardrobe big enough for a small village—with success, nowadays some of us accept the fact that when we own less stuff, we are happier.

Seniors in particular can benefit from downsizing. Once the kids are out of the house, there typically is little need for as much space and stuff. Over the years, we accumulate a lot of belongings we don’t need, as well. Committing to downsizing in your senior years can help cut down on costs and home maintenance so you can spend this time traveling, relaxing, or doing whatever it is you always dreamed of doing.

If you are interested in downsizing to help decrease stress and increase happiness in your senior years, use the following advice on organizing and executing your efforts.

Start With the Easy Stuff

It can be difficult to get rid of the items connected to emotions and memories. A good way to ease into it is to start by getting rid of things that are not so sentimental. Kondo recommends you declutter by working room-by-room from the most communal areas to your more intimate and personal spaces. Remember that you are only keeping the things that truly spark joy in your heart. Just because an item is connected to a memory or is little used, doesn’t mean you should keep it. Instead, hold the item in your hands and thank it for serving its purpose. This can make it easier to let go and move on to the next item as you declutter.

Label and Organize Your Boxes and Bags

Whenever you are boxing or bagging items to get rid of, be sure and label each one clearly with what it contains. Knowing what each box or bag contains can help with lingering “what if” feelings and keep you from digging back through them in search of something you’ve decided to keep. Once you’ve thanked an item for its service and dismissed it, it is best to let it go and avoid touching it again so you aren’t confronted with feelings of uncertainty and doubt.

Hire a Professional

Depending on the amount of stuff you actually have, decluttering, organizing, and downsizing might be too big a job for you to handle all on your own. Fortunately, there are professionals available that can help you overcome a mountain of stuff and keep you on track. They can be pretty affordable – full-service storage providers like MyPorter can storage the things you don’t want to get rid of.


Downsizing your belongings helps contribute to a happier and healthier lifestyle. Seniors in particular are in more need of—and can benefit most from—downsizing. To help make the process easier, start with areas that are more communal and work toward rooms that contain more personal and sentimental items. Clearly label bags and boxes containing items that you intend to get rid of or store, and hire a professional if the job is simply too big to complete on your own.