Many people are familiar with the Marie Kondo (“KonMari”) approach to decluttering, which involves touching every item to determine whether the item “sparks joy”. This determination then prompts you to either keep the item (if it sparks joy) or discard the item (if it does not).

For the chronically disorganized person, this method can pose a problem.  According to Judith Kolberg, a professional organizer and founder of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (now the Institute for Challenging Disorganization), there is a force at play called "Tactile Sympathy" in this touch-each-item process.

Tactile Sympathy refers to that attachment or connection that a chronically disorganized person (or, frankly, any person) may feel when holding an item they own.

In her work with clients, Kolberg discovered her clients were better equipped to make a decision on the usefulness (or I will call it “spark-joy-fullness”) of an item when they were NOT holding it, but rather when someone else was holding it up for them.

If you are in the middle of a decluttering project and are finding that there are way more “keepers” than you would prefer, consider enlisting the help of a trusted friend or family member and ask them to hold up the items for you, WITHOUT you touching them.  This method often provides a breakthrough in the process!