"Does it spark joy?"
Marie Kondo has taken over the world with this question. Kondo is an acclaimed tidying expert, an occupation that I didn't know existed until recently. She has published four books on tidying and even has her own show on Netflix. Marie Kondo uses her KonMari method to help people tidy up their homes by category and ultimately create a calming environment to live in. She suggests to only keep items that spark joy; she says to thank all the others for their service and give them away.
As a self-proclaimed neat freak, I quickly became obsessed with Kondo and her tidying method. I thinned out my closet over J-term, thanked old clothes for their service, and I refolded all my clothes the KonMari way once I got back to college. I have never ventured past this first step of clothing, though. But after barely surviving the hassle that was end of year packing, I am determined to "Marie Kondo" my whole life.
Arriving home and starting the process right away, I learned something: I have a lot of socks. And I don't mean this lightly; I mean I had an entire drawer full of socks in my dorm that I brought and upon returning home I found another drawer full of socks, a box in my closet full of socks, and two Ziploc bags on a shelf...full of socks. For someone who only has two feet, I had too many socks.
I suppose most of them came from high school. I went to Catholic schools all my life, which meant uniforms and strict dress codes ("School colored sweaters only!" "Skirts must be no more than three fingers above the knee!" "Only white, non-brand socks allowed!") Once I got to my sophomore year of high school, though, all that changed. In my new school, the strict dress code stayed the same, with a blue and white uniform that made me look more like a nun than I ever wanted, but I got to wear whatever socks I wanted.
And let me tell you, I went crazy.
I wore long socks, short socks, socks with stripes and pictures and glitter. I had socks with the faces of every superhero known to man. I must have looked ridiculous with my nun-like uniform and crazy socks underneath. My eclectic sock collection became a way to express myself during high school, but I never thought I wouldn't need that form of self-expression in college. A small portion of that collection came with me during my first year, and during my packing, I realized I hadn't worn most of them. Sure I wore some pink socks with hearts on them for Valentine's Day, and of course, I wore all my Christmas socks. But those hot pink unicorn socks? Or the glow in the dark socks? Those never left drawer.
As I've been sifting through what feels like a million pairs of socks, I know that at one point they did spark joy for me. Now that I'm in college, however, I no longer need a large sock collection to tell the world who I am. Perhaps in the strangest way, I realized that people grow and change. If this tidying process has taught me anything so far, it is that you can outgrow what sparks joy. When that happens, you thank it for its service and the joy it brought you and move on. And that's totally OK. In fact, it's exciting because it means that I am going to find joy in so many different things throughout my life.
And while I can't wait to find those things, I really think I should do something about the mountain of socks in my room first!