Decluttering and minimizing has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people recognizing the benefits of simplifying their lives. There are many writers and experts who have contributed to this movement, including Joshua Becker (’Things that Matter’), Leo Babauta (Zen Habits blog), Courtney Carver (instagram page), and Marie Kondo (YouTube channel). Each of these individuals offers their own unique perspective on decluttering and minimising, but they all share a common goal: to help people lead happier, more fulfilling lives by simplifying their possessions and their surroundings.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and author who has gained worldwide popularity for her unique approach to decluttering. Her main idea is to focus on keeping only the items that “spark joy” in your life, and letting go of everything else. She suggests decluttering by category, starting with clothing, followed by books, papers, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items. Her method involves holding each item and asking yourself if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, it’s time to let it go. The goal is to create a home filled only with the things you love and that bring you happiness.
Although I have watched her on Netflix and read her book ‘Spark Joy’, I still am appallingly bad at getting rid of things even if I no longer use them; this is especially true for artists who often collect objects and ideas for use by a possible ‘future self’.
Recently travelling about in my campervan has helped me to think more carefully about what I do really need and indeed want.
This week I have been reading ‘Goodbye, Things’ by Fumio Sasaki. Although there were places where I was frustrated with his repetition of concepts, in the end I decided that that very annoyance was what may have made the book resonate for me. Sasaki is a 35 year old singleton which makes the process of decluttering easier, but keeping his over all ideas in mind will be of use.
Here are the brief notes I took in the course of reading the book which will remind me of the main points when I am struggling with what I really need:
Sasaki radically downsizes his apartment and belongings and discovers a lightness of being, both physically and mentally – it’s a true account.
I was particularly interested in how he writes about releasing his ego in the process because that fits with my love of studying the Vedanta.
Tips I could adopt:
- Photograph possessions that are difficult to release
- Store photos and letters etc.on hard drive or in the cloud
- It’s easier to revisit your memories once you go digital
- Download books more and take notes digitally in Notion or other note taking app such as GoodNotes or Evernote
- Without possessions we can devote more time to helping others
- Get rid of it if you haven’t used it in a year
- Discard it if you have it for the sake of appearance
- Organising is not minimising
- Tackle the nest before the pest
- Leave your unused space empty
- Let go of the idea of “someday”
- Say goodbye to who you used to be
- Discard the things you have already forgotten about
- Don’t get creative when you’re trying to discard things (yes!)
- Let go of the idea of getting your money’s worth
- Feeling the spark of joy will help you focus (ref: Kondo)
- Don’t get hung up on the price that you initially paid
- Think of shops as your personal warehouses
- Discard any possessions that you can’t discuss with passion
- If you lost it, would you buy it again?
- Try to imagine what the person who passed away, would’ve wanted if it’s an ‘heirloom’ or ‘hand-me-down’
- Discarding memorabilia is not the same as discarding memories
- Homes are not museums; they don’t need collections!
- Be social; be a borrower
- Rent, what can be rented
- Social media can boost your minimising motivation
- What if you started from scratch?
- Discard anything that creates visual noise
- One in, one out
- Be quick to admit mistakes. They help you grow.
- The things we really need will always find their way back to us
- Keep the gratitude
Perhaps, of course, it is just a timely moment for ME to be reading the book (we spiral into development) but maybe we could all consider not being governed, imprisoned and defined by our ‘stuff’ now in an age when we need to think more about sustainability and contentment with what we have.
Next… I am thinking about how the decluttering I am doing might influence my art making – watch this space!
…. and ‘How can clear decluttered environment help my Homeopathic Medical Practice further?’
The links I have made to books here are intentionally not to the big river company – let’s give others a chance in this global mayhem