My first step - declutter

The book that started everything
Shortly after my mother-in-law’s death I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It was all the rage and when I saw the title of the book I immediately thought “that’s for me”.

At the time I read it, I didn’t really connect my desire to read the book with the bigger picture stuff that I had been thinking about.

I just knew that I felt as though I was drowning in an overwhelming mess at home and that I wanted to do something about it.

The book was small and easy to read. I finished it off quickly and immediately got to work.

Marie Kondo’s premise was simple: tidy big, tidy once (over a maximum 6 month period) and never have to tidy again. I was skeptical, but I was ready to give it a go. Her system is this:

  • Declutter a single category at a time: clothes, books, paperwork, komono (miscellaneous everything else) and sentimentals.
  • Complete each category before moving on to the next
  • Hold each belonging in each category in your hand and ask yourself “does this spark joy”? If it does not, discard it in whatever manner is most suitable
  • Make a space for everything else and ensure that you always replace the belonging in that space

Awesome”, I thought. I can do that.

I started with my own clothes and soon I had four bags for donation and two bags for the rubbish.

Slowly slowly I began working my way through the rest of the house and the categories.

Paperwork, which I was dreading, really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting (although two months after completing that category I still haven’t got around to the shredding).

Toys, on the other hand, was not only as bad as I had envisaged, it was worse.

I still have a long way to go. I have completed most of the major categories but I still have some of the miscellaneous category to complete (like DVDs, CD’s, random cables etc) and the sentimental items.

But I immediately began to see the results. I started to feel more relaxed. I had less work to do, more time to myself.

With this first step my life began to change and I began to look for even more ways I could change my life.

My first step was about stuff. Excess possessions. Decluttering.

Yours might be about technology. Less time at work. Doing one thing at a time.

We all have to take a first step to get started and it might just change your life.  

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