Well, here we are at the end of 2016!

In Japan it's a tradition to do a deep house cleaning, to eliminate any accumulated clutter from the past year and tidy up the entire house. I think of myself as more of a minimalist and try to own primarily essential things...well, my studio being an exception. I have more papers, craft materials and tools than anything else in the house, and although it is not difficult for me to let go of other material things, it's sometimes hard to let go of any of my creations and artwork. Evidently they have taken over most of the storage space in my studio.

A friend of mine noticed this habit of mine and gave me a book by Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It was an eye opening experience to listen to the audiobook and organize my work area. Her method of cleaning is to "spark joy" in which you decide to keep or let go of the things depending on how the items "spark joy" to you or not. Most of us feel bad about throwing or giving away the things we took time to create, people gave us as gifts or that hold memories...even if they don't inspire or excite us anymore. Marie says that these items did their jobs when they came into your life and sparked "joy" at that moment. So your job now is to say "thank you for making me a happy memory" then let that go so that you can welcome new things that will spark joy in your current life.

This idea was particularly inspiring because it's very similar to what gift wrapping is. Gift wrapping is really to be created to deliver special messages to the recipients at the particular moment. Beautifully wrapped packages may not last for a long time but they "spark joy" to the recipients' life in a special event.

I stacked all the gift wrapping packages I created in the past year on my table. (that's how Marie suggests to start your cleaning) Then I mentally said to each and every package "thank you for making me happy and helping others to see what they can do" and let them go.

I hope that you have a successful cleaning and organizing your house and start your new year being surrounded by the items that "spark joy" for you!

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!

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