I have never been comfortable with excess or having too much of things. It makes me restless and I know I’m not just simply suffering from obsessive compulsiveness. That’s why tidying or sorting things are not new to me. Even as a young child, I spend my Sundays looking for things to throw and toss for giveaway. And this continues up to this day
Marie Kondo’s book entitled The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up – the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing came on a perfect time as I take on the road to minimalism.
Although I thought I may have built a good habit of tidying over the years, I realized the reason why I keep doing it and my things still continue to accumulate is because I was doing it all wrong. This book pointed that out. So let me breakdown what I have learned from this book.
First and foremost, I need to identify what this means to me, why I want to do this. It’s important I am able to visualize clearly the destination or the end goal. Ultimately, the reason for all of us is happiness however way it will be served. For me, I want a life of few and core things that resonate who I am and of which sparks joy and inspiration. I want a space that vibrates light, energy and peace. And only by keeping enough things which truly matter will I achieve this. So anything that does not support this, I have to let them go.
Here’s how I did it.
I made a decision to do this all at once. The strategy to discard one item per day will not work. I had to do it once and for all while the inspiration and will is there!
I started sorting by category not by location. Also, there is a reason why these categories are set in this order. Letters, cards, gifts and photos have sentimental value so it’s best to deal with them last. Tidying is a dialogue with one’s self. For each item, we ask ourselves, “Does it spark joy?”
Clothes or not, there will be things it’s hard to discard. So when we come across something like that, we must carefully asses and consider why we had it in the first place. For example, there are clothes we have excitedly bought but never worn. Sometimes their only purpose is the joy or the excitement we felt when we bought them. And it means it has served the purpose. Sounds shallow but that may just be the plain truth. Tip: touch each of your clothing when deciding to discard.
Only keep those books we imagine reading again or which give us thrill pleasure. If the book had been left on the shelf without being read, let them go. We’d think we’ll read it in the future but guess what; chances are we will never will. Instead of accumulating dust in the shelf, the book may need a new owner.
Rule of thumb is to dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time (ex. warranties for electrical devices/appliances), or must be kept indefinitely (ex. birth certificates, land titles and the likes). The book will tackle more on specifics like payslip, checkbooks, credit card statements, etc and how to file them effectively.
Fourth: Komono (miscellany)
These are diverse range of items that you can’t pic what category they fall into- from CDs, skin care products, household equipment/supplies, cords, buttons to other type of things that maybe given as gift or received as a freebie. Well believe it or not, their purpose has long been served and they’re ready to be let go. Even gifts – their purpose is receiving them. If the gifts do not serve any other purpose than that then let them go. We can’t be keeping an item out of guilt if there is no use for us.
Fifth: Mementos (Letters/Photos)
Letters/cards have fulfilled its purpose the moment the receiver finishes reading it. Of course there are few that may be worth keeping and it must spark joy. And if we’re to remember the address stated in the card then we should only keep one as reference. As for photos, their purpose is to show a specific event or time of our lives. When we take a look at them one by one, it will be easy to identify which ones still touch our heart. Moreover, we may only identify about 5 per day of a special trip for example. And they will be the best illustrative of that special time.
This exercise gives me a standpoint of what I only need and what sparks joy. And also by realizing I have enough or more than enough, the temptation of buying more or accumulating more trickles down. My resources — time, money, energy — are now starting to focus on to what really matters to me.
I have covered the basic from the book so I suggest investing on this book for a comprehensive take on de-cluttering (and even storage). It’s a first step to life-changing experience. I can’t wait for mine to unfold.
*Found these wall stickers two years ago and finally they’re up on the wall. This is to remind me of my practice and why I practice.
*Here’s a look inside to one of the cabinets. These boxes store specific items. One box stores the items I bring when I travel like universal plug, passport case, etc. The other box stores my gopro camera, its mounts and everything related to it.
*This shelf is able to store the bags I will only use (first level) except my backpack and gym bag. Second level stores my favorite magazines and important papers and a red basket with my hat and 2 tote bags I use for grocery/shopping inside. The third level stores my favorite books and new books am about to read.
*This little spot is happiness spot as I can make my room smell beach or Christmas when I want to.
Lastly, I kept this pillow which I received also a gift to remind me of life’s goal — to wander the world.