One of the first steps that I took this year was to ‘declutter’ my home after discovering the Konmari Japanese method of cleaning on YouTube and then reading one of Marie Kondo’s books on sparking joy. I instantly attempted to reshuffle my home and my life. Taking on the many tips and advise that she insists are the best way to declutter and organise your home, keeping only those items that spark joy, I started with my wardrobe filled with clothing that I had not worn in years and clothes I didn’t even like.
I managed to get rid of three bin bags full of clothes and then a further two filled with my children’s unused, worn, and tatty clothing. Next on the list was books. And this is where I struggled. My whole book collection sparked some sort of joy. Owning so many books made me look intelligent, or so I thought. Because I had dreamed of one day owning a home big enough to provide me with a personal library, tackling my hundreds of books scared me.
And then I discovered minimalism and prepared myself to step into this unknown territory of meaning and value.
I had to question whether the books that I owned added value to my life and whether they would help me in the future. Most importantly, would I even read these books again? Simple answer, no. So then why was I holding on to them? I went through each book, disconnecting myself with just the joy I felt reading them in the past, I realised that they no longer held value to me and the joy was my memory recaping the information it had take away. The physical book itself was unnecessary. After putting several books into a box to give to charity, I realised that I wanted to pass these once loved books onto others. I no longer wanted to keep them cluttering my home either so 90% of my books went to several charitable organisations. I was then left with ones that I have yet to and want to read, and those that I loved so much that I will read again and again.
I think that the Konmari method of getting rid of stuff is a great way to start narrowing down your unwanted possessions, but the method does not really tackle why we would, should or should not hold on to an item. I had several pairs of shoes and a few handbags that sparked joy for me but none of these shoes ever got worn often enough or fit comfortable, and I hadn’t used these handbags in years even though I really like the look of them. I kept them because I liked them and stored them neatly inside my wardrobe. Since my transition into minimalism, I realised they added no value or meaning to my life and so I donated them. I also began to reject the idea of organising. Organising to me is just another word for making unnecessary stuff look tidy instead of getting rid of the unnecessary. If I don’t need something andit holds not value or meaning, then why do I need to organise it and store it nicely in a drawer?