Cottage Life - The Decluttering Continues
A few weeks ago I took my first step toward seriously decluttering our cottage. I wrote about the closet purging and living intentionally here, and shared Mandi Ehman's quote:
"Living intentionally means defining your values
and making choices that reflect those values."The wardrobe purge inspired me to get rid of more stuff, and that's when I ordered Marie Kondo's book from the library. (I wrote about that here.)
I've now finished the book, and I have to say there are some things she advocates that make sense to me. There are also some things that just seem plain silly, such as her insistence that we fold our clothes a certain way so that they will be happy (as if cotton and wool have feelings), and thanking them outloud for meeting our needs (which builds up their self-esteem). She repeats herself frequently, which made me want to chastise her editor. And at times I felt a serious case of OCD was the impetus for her career. (Actually, as I think about it, OCD is probably a plus for a consultant that helps people organize their homes and offices.) There's more, but let's get to what I found helpful.
1. Tidy by category and not by location.
Don't tidy by room, tidy by categories:
Clothes first, then books, papers, miscellany, and lastly
This means gathering all items from a category from all the rooms and closets into one spot before deciding what to keep and what to discard. Using this method nothing gets overlooked and it's a do-it-once and it's done approach.
She leaves mementos for last because by the time you plow through all the other more practical categories, your decision-making skills will have been perfected and it'll be easier to make decisions about sentimental items.
2. Take each item in your hand and ask yourself "Does this spark joy?" If it does, keep it. If it doesn't, dispose of it.
At first I thought her claim that one must actually touch the item and not simply look at it and decide its fate seemed odd. But then I tried it with my books. I was sure I could tell just by looking at my bookcase which books I wanted to keep, and that's what I did a couple of months ago. But yesterday when I actually took one of my remaining books off the shelf and held it (not read it! She is sure to say not to do that!), I realized I could let it go because it didn't "spark joy". After doing this with all my other books I ended up with 3 additional boxes of books to give away.
If I find later I want to read a particular title again, I can get it from the library or discount bookseller. In the meantime, I've cleared off three shelves, and that makes me feel really good.
3. What to do when you can't throw something away.
Think carefully about its true purpose in your life and ask if it has fulfilled its role. Kondo believes there are only two reasons why we can't let something go: an attachment to the past or a fear of the future (desire for stability in the
"To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose." -- Marie Kondo
I'm still in the decluttering stage. Next is magazines and then miscellany and so on. When I get through the final category of mementos, then I'll start the organization process.
I won't bore you with more details from the book. (There are some good reviews of the book on Goodreads here.) You can go to Youtube and do a "marie kondo declutter" search and find lots of information about her technique. If you're interested in reading the book, I suggest borrowing it from the library.
Before I go I want to relate a funny conversation I had with my hair stylist last week:
Lisa: So what have you been up to?
Me: Oh, I've been decluttering. I'm on a mission to get rid of stuff.
Lisa: No! No! Nancy, you already live like a minimalist. You've downsized to that darling little house. Stop! Just stop! You don't need to get rid of anything else.
Me: (Laughing) Lisa, it's okay. I just want to simplify and keep only those things that really bring me joy.
Lisa: But. . .but. . .I'm just worried about you.
Me: Don't worry. Really. It'll be fine.
I don't think she bought it. That's not going to stop me, though.
Stay tuned for more.
Stay tuned for more.