Sounds kind of silly, right? I got 2/3 of the way through Marie Kondo’s book and I feel as though that’s her main point. In some ways, I see her point though. Decluttering looks different for every person and the things that I keep because they have value may not be the things that you see as valuable. So there is very much an art to it. However, it’s also not artistic in the way that we typically think of art. Either way, I’ve come to some conclusions about decluttering.
First, she believes that you need to start with clothing because it holds the least sentimental value for people. This is probably true for most people. I found decluttering the clothes to be the least difficult part. Shoes were a little tougher but still manageable. So, if you’re looking to declutter, I would start there. I’ve picked up some good tips on YouTube, such as get rid of socks with no match, clothes with holes and things that don’t fit first and then go from there. I don’t get real lovey with clothes, so the idea of thanking them is a bit much but it may work for you if you’re having trouble getting rid of things. I highly suggest her method of folding clothes though, because it really does save a lot of space.
Secondly, one of her big things is getting rid of papers. This confused me at first but now it makes total sense. Manuals for things? Toss them. Old credit card statements, bank statements, pay stubs? Toss them. In fact, aside from things like birth certificates, social security cards, titles or leases, you probably don’t need it. Honestly, when was the last time you used the manual for your oven? I need to go through stuff again and trim it more but currently, everything fits in a three ring binder with page protectors. Like I said, it needs more work but it’s a vast improvement from what it was before. If you have a filing cabinet, you probably don’t need it.
Next on my list was hobbies. Specifically, old hobbies that you still have materials for. I got rid of all of it. What was I keeping it for? Mostly because I paid for it. But I wasn’t using it and it was taking up space in my house, collecting dust and getting moved from storage container to storage container (sounds familiar?). I did keep some things but they were all things that I have used in the past year. It’s almost all art supplies with some bullet journal supplies and scrapbooking supplies thrown in. I keep going through things a little at a time to see if there’s anything else that can go but I think I’m getting close to a good number because I find less and less every time.
Then I went through my kitchen and cleaned out all the gadgets that I never use. I have also made food a part of this journey and am working hard at making sure that there’s no excess sitting in the closet for months. I used to pull half eaten packages out of the back of the pantry and sigh because it would have to be thrown away. Now, you can see everything and there’s no hiding things anywhere. This has the sad side effect of constant complaining that there’s nothing to eat in the house but that’s silly because there’s plenty of food. There’s just no piles of it to sort through anymore. It’s a little odd to see an almost empty pantry at first but I’ve gotten used to it and it’s made life easier. It also makes menu planning easier because I don’t have to guess about what ingredients I might or might not have. And things aren’t going bad which is even better.
Books and movies are also something that were a challenge to me. Again, I still have some work to do in this area but I have decreased numbers considerably and the house is much cleaner for it. I can dust very quickly and I can see what I have. One of the things she talks about in the book is how you get attached to the idea of a book – it’s more what it represents than the fact that you reread it. Because, really, why else would you keep a book? That makes sense when you really think about it but I kept tons of books I would never read again because I though I should. They look good on the shelf or some other such idea. There are people who get joy out of having books on their shelves just to look at. I really don’t though. I know that sounds odd but when I really thought about it, I kept the books because I thought it proved something about me. It doesn’t though. Books are to be read. I read them and now I’m passing them on for others to enjoy. There are some that I will keep (Harry Potter, anyone?) because I have and will continue to reread them. Movies work in much the same way for me. I have a select few that I watch over and over and really love. Most of them were just there to try and prove something though.
I am still working on this journey of mine. I want to have things that I love and that I use around me. Finding those things is a process and it seems silly to really think about why you have certain things or buy certain things. Ultimately, it’s about figuring out who you are and what you truly want in your life. Your stuff is not your legacy. Your stuff is not going to love you. It certainly doesn’t make you happy. Happiness has to be found within yourself. There’s nothing wrong with having material possessions but all to often the possessions begin to possess us. Stopping and thinking about your things and deciding what’s bringing you true joy makes your whole life happier and easier.