So, I re-read Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” recently and fell in love with her approach all over again. It’s such a great way to address our stuff and deciding which things we should let go. The basic premise, is to do your decluttering by category (for eg, ‘clothes’) all in one go. You take every single piece that belongs in that category into a room and address each piece until you’ve done it all. And the way you decide whether to keep or not is to ask yourself: does that item still spark joy? If it does, you keep, if it doesn’t, you chuck. Once this is completed, you then move onto the next category. She goes into quite alot of detail about the ‘how’ and more importantly, the ‘why’, answering in advance loads of questions you might have and her conversational style is charming.
She has a certain number of categories that need to be done in a certain order (you’ll have to buy the book to find that out ;-)). In the end, everything in your home should bring a smile to your face because each item sparks joy. She does address sentimental items, which is the last category because it can be more challenging than the others. I’ve applied her approach to most items in my house BUT there are some things that while they don’t spark joy, they do remind me of how I got to this point in my life and how it contributed to the way I am; why I react to things in certain ways, why I like or don’t like things, what my dreams were and are today. Life is not simply a series of happy events. They’re there yes, but they’re mixed in with loss, shame, jealousy and snippets of other human failings (our’s and other’s) and the lessons we’ve learnt from them. This, I believe is very important to informing us and reminding us of who we are and how we fit in. I believe it is just as important to hold onto items that signify a negative almost as much as something that does indeed spark joy. I think this need to be reminded of how we’ve survived the lows is human nature – why else do we build memorials around loss (911 in NYC) and acknowledge anniversaries of loss such as Anzac Day.
So, I keep photos of people who have cheated me, angry letters from family members, sentimental things that I broke in anger. I don’t look at them often – in fact they’re in boxes in the garage. I probably see them once every couple of years. But they ground me when I do see them. They refresh the lessons I took from that chapter in my life and remind me what not to repeat. They give me cause to be grateful for those lessons because in the end I have achieved alot and have reached a wonderful point in life where I don’t want for anything. My boxes of memories are like conversations with ghost friends – provoking both laughter and heartache. I have an average memory and I really feel that if I tossed all these things, I would forget my own story in time and I simply don’t want to do that. What I have done is edit, edit edit. I’ve kept the most pertinent and even though I’ve reviewed them a number of times I sincerely feel I’ve got it to a point where its just the right amount.
So as with all these methods of decluttering, do as I do and pick and choose what will suit you, your home (which has physical limits for storage) and your own story. I would highly recommend getting this book – it isn’t expensive and it really does get you kick started, it’s a quick read and for most things, is an awesome system! I give it 9 out of 10! Buy it here