Every once in a while on a reddit or youtube binge, I come across something that is actually really insightful. A couple months ago, it was a youtube documentary about planned obsolescence. An interviewee said
“In the last generation or so, our role in life seems just to be to consume things with credit to borrow money to buy things we don’t need. That makes no real sense to me at all.”
It reminded me of this Metric song
Reducing your stuff is good for the environment, it’s good for your brain to not be weighed down with the burden of storage or organization. It’s good for your wallet. I also stumbled across a famous book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It just happened to be free on audible for the new year. She advocates strange method of tidying up, where you take each item you own in your hand and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?” And if it does not, you throw it out. Her quasi-spiritual treatment of her belongings is just the type of craziness I could get into.
She advocates using and training your intuition above all else to figure out what makes you happy.
“When choosing what to keep, ask your heart. When choosing where to store something, ask your house.”
She gives practical tips. You should store heavy items towards the left of a closet and light items towards the right, because upward graphs tend to make you happier. Or how you can decorate your closet with secret or embarrassing pleasures that you still want to keep but not necessarily display. However the best parts of the book are when she get deep on how tidying applies to life.
She writes about about how, if you cherish the items around you like an athlete would treat his equipment, you form a relationship with your belongings. Also the memories and feelings they represent. They can be a support in your life, and make you happy just like a good friend can. She writes that you should take each item in your hand and physically touch it to help develop this relationship.
“You are honing your intuitive sense of attraction, examining your inner self. It is an act of caring, a display of love and appreciation for the way these clothes support your lifestyle.
When you handle each of these items, you process and then move on from your past. If you keep these keepsakes in drawers and boxes, your past becomes a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here in now. To put things in order means putting your past in order too. It is not our memories, but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now. Not for the person we were in the past.”
Here is another gem on discarding old books
“If you haven’t read it by now the book’s purpose was to teach you that you didn’t need it. There’s no purpose to keep books you’ve only read half through. Their purpose was to be read half way.”
Another great point was about storage. She recommends you store stuff in a way so you can clearly see what you have at a glance.
“When you put your house in order, you put you affairs and life in order too. As a result, you can clearly see what you need, and what you should and shouldn’t do.”
I can’t believe I finished a book on tidying in the first place. I think it was my older sister who gave me the idea that my room should be my own space. I was inspired by her artistic room in high school, and then her beautiful house now. It just seems like such a happy thing to live in a place that is a perfect representation of your personality.
At some point the idea is you reach a “click point” – when you’ve reduced enough of your belongings that you realize exactly how much or how little you need to be happy. I want to reach this point!