Or rather, more like my style, since it took me a lot longer than Marie Kondo would have probably liked.
It all started with me jumping on the bandwagon of the best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever a year ago. I just looked at my order history, and I purchased it on 1 January 2016. I suppose, new year, new me, new clean and tidy flat here we come!
It took me another month before I read the book. It is an easy read, nothing super intellectual and makes you feel right at home, or shall I say, it made me feel at home. It may have something to do with how I was raised, my cultural background, but something just clicked. I laughed out loud at the crazy human connections this woman makes with her socks, but have to admit, that I do that too (not necessarily with socks but other things I treasure). I have learned very early on to take care of what you have, treat it with respect and return things in the state you received them in back to where you took them from. Everything has its place! I have realised that this is not necessarily what everyone grows up learning and I still find it astounding how people who find new homes for their belongings every day, can find these things again. I’d be in a constant brain blockage trying to remember where I put anything at all.
I think there is enough evidence in this post that I am the offspring of the writer, who has the tidiest house I know.
I should also say that I hadn’t really sorted out my stuff for more than 10 years, as things have been in boxes in various places whilst I moved around Europe/the world. Having all of those things in one place all of a sudden made me too emotional to throw anything away, even though I may not have wanted to hang on to my 16-year-old post card collection. So I kept things promising myself to look at and make use of everything I owned. It not only made me feel like I had too many things but also like it cluttered my brain. The more you own, the more brain matter is caught up in busying yourself with all of your possessions (some of which you don’t even remember having).
Simplifying your life, therefore, will free up space. And I don’t mean physical space.
The whole cleaning out process took me about 9 months in total. I wanted to do this process together with my husband, since, after all, half of this stuff is his and we only found time to properly start in April last year. Truthfully, I still have some tidying up to do with my digital photos, but that should be all done in a week. Everything else is sorted out and everything has a home. Even my partner can find things now (most of the time). I went through each category as per Marie Kondo’s guidelines:
- Sentimental Items
And with each item I went through the exercise of “Does it spark joy?”. Sure, there were moments I caught myself asking “Do I need this?” or saying “But so and so gave this to me”. However, in the end, I think I managed pretty well to keep only the things I want in my live and I truly appreciate.
This question has also swept over into my buying habits. These days, I think it is easy to get caught up in trying to stay on trend and it is also easy to get instant satisfaction on all price levels, but in the end you have to ask yourself “Does it spark joy?”.
Here are some other useful tips:
- Designate a place for each thing and put things back
- Discard first, store later
- Don’t scatter storage spaces
- Don’t let your family see
- Empty your bag every day
- Forget about flow planning or frequency of use
- Reduce noise of information
Let me know if this inspired you to tackle some of your clutter and how it turned out.