I "Sparked Joy" In My Office and It Worked
I don’t pretend to be any better than the kids who love to watch hours of people unboxing toys they’ll never play with: I love watching people buy homes I’ll never live in, make food I’ll never eat, or declutter spaces I’ll never visit.To that end, I really adore Marie Kondo, the enthusiastic and sensitive soul who encourages you to either “spark joy” with items or don’t keep them, among other steps in her decluttering process. My husband is terrified when I turn on one of the episodes on Netflix, because he knows I'll be inspired to tackle another room. ?I admit to being a packrat and wishful crafter, especially in my job. When I see corrugated plastic yard signs or empty takeout I bring up the “Pinterest of my mind” and imagine what I could turn it into. Having a shoestring budget to cover 3-7 different rooms every year meant I had to be creative and I thought if I could just find more there would be… more! What if I needed it later?A few years ago, unaware of Ms. Kondo’s methods, I inherited a workspace that resembled what an avalanche in a tiny library might look like. Materials were slowly suffocating me, and I realized The Purge must happen. I created a little test in my head: was this going to positively impact a student this month? Yes, keep and organize, if not, pitch. That's it, the only rule!What was donated?
- 60% of the games and books
- Outdated testing materials
- Old triplicate IEP forms from 1997
- 99% of my college books and projects
- 90% of the worksheets
- Treasure box toys (and any references to treasure box/incentives)
- Assistive Technology that has really truly bit the dust or past its useful life (check with your schools on how to dispose of it properly)
I can report I’ve never missed anything that was donated, not once.It was better than a facelift: I felt like I had energy! The room wasn’t so busy, I could put things away quickly and my students could get things out. We were moving and grooving to a new rhythm.At this stage in my career, the 5-7 speech rooms have condensed into the trunk of my car. It’s still a battle of making sure what’s in there really sparks joy and moves the needle. I’m moving offices again, wish me luck in making sure what stays in my new workspace provides me purpose and energy for another year!
- Solidly constructed organization tools like shelves and file drawers
- Perennial office supplies, although not so many
- A set of what I still consider my “speech therapy on a deserted island” emergency kit: mirror, dry erase board, post its, pens, crayons, tongue depressors