Purge the Bad to Find the Joy

Posted by Abby Akin on

Nothing like starting the new year out with a bang and purging everything I own! Just kidding, but that’s exactly how I feel after watching and reading all things Marie Kondo. From clothing organization to purging social media and choosing to work through hard relationships, this mama is working through all the categories of life in order to experience joy to the fullest.

Marie Kondo talks about purging items in your life that don’t spark joy. She recommends going through items in categories. But she emphasizes the importance of thanking each item for what it has done for us. I love this idea. It allows us to thank the things we have held onto for far too long and move on in a healthy and respectful way.

The things we decide to keep are items that truly spark joy. When you hold a certain shirt and you can “feel” the happiness it gives you (a.k.a sparks joy) you keep it. I love all of this, but I thought, why should I just stop with my stuff, why not implement this mindset in every area of my life? So that’s what I’m doing…hold on to your horses if you want to join me in this journey of sparking joy where it matters and purging the rest.

First up – The Stuff

Never have I been more humbled than the moment I had stare at the ginormous pile of clothes on my bed. The first step in the Marie Kondo method of tidying up, is to put every item of clothing on your bed…yes every item! You then have to touch and feel every item and decided which to keep based on which ones spark joy. I had to sift through old t-shirts, too many dresses, workout clothes and tons of pajamas in order to pair-down to the items that bring me joy. It was a long process and somewhat heart wrenching.

Lots of the clothing I chose to purge are items I had for over 10 years…embarrassing to say, but it's true. Although it was hard to put a lot of my clothes and shoes into bags and say goodbye, boy did it feel good! I took my nicer outdoor items to a local outdoor consignment store and got money for a lot my stuff, which made it easier to part ways with!

My wardrobe is anything but fancy (because I’m usually covered in food or breast milk) but since I have uncluttered my closet my clothing choices are items I love and items I wear. I am still making my way through the rest of my stuff, i.e books, and mementos…but it’s a start and my life already feel lighter. If you get nothing from this post, please do yourself a favor and go through your clothes!

Second up - Social media

Yes, social media. This is no way a part of Marie Kondo’s method of sparking joy, but it is part of mine. I have been thinking about taking a break from social media for a long time now. I have gone through weird comparison struggles through what I see on social media. From thinking my life isn’t adventurous enough or my kids aren’t smart enough or that I don’t wear enough makeup or that being at home full-time is hindering me from experiencing my full potential.


These are all lies and I was fed up with it. But I also had to look inward and really evaluate why I was posting the things I was. Was it to share my beautiful babies and my life with the ones I love? Absolutely. But subconsciously was it also to prove something? Sadly, I think it was.

Comparison was my thief of joy

I had gotten so caught up in sharing posts and stories with people that I don’t even have a normal relationship with, in order to gain what? Affirmation, to be seen, to prove something? Probably all of those things and more. But let me be honest, this decision was not an easy one. I really did enjoy posting fun things I did with my babies, and loved seeing what other people were up to as well, but being on social media became my way of “taking a break.”

The mindless scrolling was getting in the way of me being intentional with my husband after the kids were asleep, and was getting in the way of me be more productive around the house. Let’s face it, we all know how fast 45 minutes can go when we start looking at Facebook or Instagram. As if I needed anymore more reasons to end my relationship with social media, it didn’t happen until I found myself taking pictures and videos of my kids only to figure out when I could post them.

This was the final straw for me.

I finally decided to take control of the emotions that social media was making me feel and purge it all together. I’m not sure if I’m done with social media forever, but until I can figure out a healthy balance, it needed to be purged from my life. Girlfriend, if you’re reading this and agree with anything that I have said, I want to encourage you to evaluate your motivation behind social media. Maybe it’s nothing like how I was feeling and that's totally fine…but if there is any glimmer of similarity, I want to challenge you to take a break from it. Even if its for a day or week or maybe forever…but give yourself permission to step away if it’s not sparking joy in your life!

Last – The Unhealthy Relationship

There is one relationship in my life that is strained. It’s been this way from the get-go. From the moment I met this person I wasn’t accepted and have always felt that I fall short of their standard. As much as I would love to just cut this person out of my life, I don’t have the privilege of doing this. I am called to a higher standard, and I know this.

But Lord knows it’s a constant struggle to love them.

I am not going to say who this person is to respect them but the amount of conflict, tears, anxiety, and the sadness that this relationship has caused in my life, is ridiculous and it was time for me to make a change. Like I said, I cannot just purge this relationship, but I can purge the control this relationship has over my joy. Just as hard as it was having to stare at my pile of clothes, it was time that I stare my emotions in the face and work through the control this relationship has over me.

Talking to my husband and family has been so therapeutic, but going to a therapist is an even healthier step toward repairing the damage I feel from this person. Just like with my clothing and social media, this was not an easy decision for me to face, but I know it’s necessary if I truly want to experience joy to its fullest.

Never did I think that by choosing to organize my closet I would be faced with such deep introspective work. Turns out that if you give yourself the time to go through clothes, it opens up the flood gates to deeper emotional work. I want to encourage you to find the areas in your life that spark joy and to be brave enough to purge the rest. It may cause you to face big emotional giants, but I know it will lead to a more healthy “you” in the end. Be strong, be brave and spark joy mama bears!


Abby is a Mom to two little ones and an amazing team member of Baja Baby. She lives in Colorado with her husband Alex, their beautiful daughter Amelia Grace, baby boy Amos Lee and Maple the dog. You can find Abby on Instagram by clicking here.

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