How to Recalibrate Your Space (and Your Life) with One Simple Question: Does it Spark Joy?

I am materialistic.

Not materialistic in the way we’ve come to think of the word. With endless holiday sales, cheap knockoff items, tchotkes, and clutter stuffed into our homes or offices, it’s easy to think of materialism in a negative way.

My materialism comes with one huge caveat: Everything I own must spark joy.

Marie Kondo, organization guru, wrote a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Over the course of many years and many clients, Marie came up with a formula for creating peace, beauty, and harmony in interior environments. Her process is so simple, it’s silly.

It goes something like this: Hold an object in your hands and ask, “Does this spark joy?” Then take a moment to listen. Listen to yourself and to your feelings.

What are they really telling you?

If you feel anything other than pure joy, then it’s time to let it go. It seems radical, because it is. But it’s an incredibly effective way to recalibrate your space — and ultimately your life. Just like people, objects have and hold energy. (If you don’t believe me, then I encourage you to take Marie Kondo’s test.)

I love talking about what I do. More importantly, I love talking about why I do what I do and the philosophies I’ve come to believe on my journey in design and business. The industry of interior design is materialistic. It’s tempting and often impossible not to look at our neighbors to see what they have done with their homes. It’s easy to make comparisons and wonder if we measure up. To continue to purchase new things in an attempt to outshine, feel better, or seek success.

I can tell you that comparison is an endless and neverending trap of over-consumption and unhappiness if you get lured into buying for the sake of filling up space.

While it is important for our homes and offices to function well, commit to them not only in how they work for you, but also in how they ignite passion, inspiration, and joy. This can only be done if you decide to let go of comparisons and tune directly into what ignites that joy.

And it’s often simpler than you think.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to focus on making the purchases that are right for you.

  1. Do you love it? It’s that simple.
  2. Why? Give it a story. Give it meaning.
  3. Where? Every single item in your life should have its own home. This is a fail-proof way of eliminating clutter. (Yes, even in your closets and drawers.)
  4. Is it going to be a part of a collection? I’ve often fallen in love with a chair or a sofa as a launching point to create a living room or bedroom set.
  5. Does it meet your quality standards? Just because an item is discounted doesn’t mean it’s not high quality. Learn to develop a discerning eye. If you don’t have one, find a friend who does!
  6. Does it fit into the picture of who you see yourself becoming? By investing in pieces that inspire and motivate, you can step into bigger and more beautiful versions of yourself.


These questions can be applied to home organization as well. I’ve found going through the clearing out process after a challenging time, such as a breakup, move, or job change, can be extremely cathartic. Objects hold memories, and some past experiences spark everything but joy. Let those go in favor of what’s to come as a reflection of who you are becoming — not who you were.

Lastly, enjoy the process. After years of procrastination, hoarding, or ignoring what’s around you, you will find tremendous liberation in letting go of low energy belongings in favor of those that invigorate and inspire.

Don’t get trapped and blocked in a scarcity mindset. Continue to orient toward higher vision and the rest will fall into place. I promise.

Candy ScottComment