How many socks do you have?
Why do people think so much about their possessions? Minimalists are as bad the designer shoes-shirts-jeans crowd. They both obsess. The designers want a lot of impressive stuff and the minimalists want a little as possible.
“Look at me, I only have one spoon!” Good grief.
Minimalists know the exact number of items they own. I’ve even read discussions about whether to count a pair of socks as one item or two. Guess what? Anyone debating the numeric scoring of socks has too much time on their hands. Stop being weird.
But I get it. Having too much clutter or wasting money on stuff is a big, fat burden. But an obsessive focus on only owning a few items is just as bad as focusing on owning a lot.
How about this? Stop thinking about how much you own. Instead of wallowing in your possessions, buy this book, follow it’s advice and then get on with your life.
Read this book
The book I’m talking about is, “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by marie kondo.
Minimalists will love this book because the title doesn’t even use capital letters. Maybe she donated them all to Goodwill or put them in recycling.
Kondo’s writing is quirky in a charming sort of way. Or maybe vice versa. But if I wanted to hire someone to help me get rid it clutter? She would be the one.
She is so attuned to the world of “stuff” she likes to talk to her home and possessions. When she looks at books piled high, she wonders how a book feels being on the bottom of a stack.
In her mind the book hates being way down there, all smushed and scrunched up. She knows it’s yearning to breathe free.
Anyway, I loved the book. She’s honest and gives a clear picture of who she is and why she is qualified to write about the topic. Her philosophy is well grounded and consistent throughout the book. The main points are listed below.
Main points of the book:
1) Don’t look for items to throw away. Look for what you want to keep.
Sort through everything you own, one item at a time, and ask youself, “does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it.
That’s it. The entire premise of the book. Don’t look for what to throw away. Instead focus first on what you love and really want to keep.
The goal is to be surrounded by possessions that spark joy. My bike is what’s she talking about. I really like it and I ride it every day. Okay, I’ve never said, “my bike sparks joy!” but I understand.
The point she makes is excellent. The more you are surrounded by what personally resonates with you, the better life is.
2) Make this a one-time project
Organizing specialists often tell us to clean out a random drawer when you have time or do a shelf here and there. Or throw away a certain number of items a day. The idea is that gradually over time you’ll have a tidy living environment.
Kondo’s theory is that a gradual approach isn’t effective because the clutter is likely to return. Since your efforts are spread out over such a long time you never notice much difference and you’ll slip back into your old habits.
Instead she wants you to focus on doing it all at once so you change your mindset. A different mindset gives you a new, healthy and permanent attitude. Even though she admits a large project might take a few months to complete, once you’re done it’s likely to stay that way.
3) Sort by categories and not locations
When people get rid of clutter they often go room by room. Kondo says to ignore the rooms and focus instead on categories.
For example, when deciding what to do with clothing, just deal with all your clothing no matter where it’s located. You might have clothing in a front closet, attic, basement, trunk of your car, laundry room, or even your actual bedroom closet.
So round up all your clothing and make the same decision about each article, one at a time. Does it spark joy? If not, then get rid of it.
Use the same technique with books, photos or papers. They can be all over the place. Assemble all the similar items in one spot and deal with them together.
4) Start with the category with the least emotional attachment
Kondo recommends we start with clothing because we’re used to giving away, discarding, and buying new clothes all the time. So it’s not likely we have strong emotional attachments to clothing.
As we go through clothing and decide what to keep, we get better at making those type of decisions. Later it will be easier to deal with more sentimental items and determine what to keep and what to throw away.
5) Tidying is just a tool not a final destination
“When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.” This advice is the best part of the book. Kondo doesn’t want you to obsess over your stuff. Instead she wants to create room in your life for what really matters to you. Possessions you don’t love weigh you down.
Kondo says to do it once and then get on with your life. Unless you’re a professional organizer, don’t obsess about organizing your stuff. Do it once and then focus on what’s really important. Your life.