• Suzie Newman

Psychological Spring Cleaning

It is likely that the name Marie Kondo rings a bell. In the last several months, the tidying-up expert, bestselling author, and Netflix TV star, Marie Kondo, has caught the attention of billions across the globe due to her tidying-up method. Her method includes these six basic rules…

1. Commit yourself to tidying up

2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle

3. Finish discarding first

4. Tidy by category not location

5. Follow the right order

6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy

While Marie Kondo’s method is primarily for tangible objects, such as photographs or sweaters, I think the method could be extended to consider other things, such as relationships and behavioral patterns. At its core, the method is about being mindful and introspective. So I wonder… What would it look like if we not only went through our closet but went through our life! What would we hold onto? What would we let go of?

Well, why not see what it might look like… quite literally through an art therapy exercise. I invite you to try this “spring cleaning” art exercise at home in order to explore the questions above. As you proceed with this directive, consider this… Does the object, idea, relationship, etc., you are exploring spark joy?

Here’s the exercise:

1. Get out a piece of paper and drawing materials of your choice

2. Draw a circle that takes up about half the page

3. Using words and images, place the things in life you’d like to hold onto inside of the circle

4. Using words and images, place the things in life you’d like to let go of outside of the circle

I understand that asking the question, “does it spark joy?” can be hard. Sometimes in the midst of depression, anxiety, and stress, we don’t always know joy. Although we might not always feel it, I believe we can attempt to access joy through art making, as art is an avenue to explore blocks without words or conscious understanding. So perhaps after reading this article, you may want to explore what you would like to keep, what you would like to let go of. Or you may simply explore your relationship to joy at this moment. Remember, whichever you choose, make art from a curious and nonjudgmental place, and you will be bound to learn!

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