I thought I’d start with (arguably) the easiest topic of them all. The material “clutter” that surrounds us.
This post has little to do with Marie Kondo’s book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’. It involves more of an exploration of what I think things should mean to us, and why we should have them (or not have them). Although, Kondo’s “spark joy” method was employed in some way in my room cleansing exercise.
I will be the first to admit, I love things. I also love nice things. As you can see from the picture representing this blog post (it’s a miniature of a room which I would have loved to have), it’s filled to the brim with things. Collecting things, accumulating things, it’s fun isn’t it? The thing is, the more things I had, the more I felt anxious. I spent the better part of the first half of this year going through EVERYTHING I owned. This would have included clothes, books and bags. I tackled the 3 categories of items most of which I owned would fall in.
- I have maybe reduced my non-work closet to what is most essential (ok some items are superfluous, but baby steps, right?).
- My work closet is a work in progress. I admit, I DETEST professional wear.
- I hate shoes but they’re a necessary evil for work. I now have a decent set of work shoes, leisure sneakers and my beloved Birks. Though, if I could I’d forever be in sneakers or Birks.
- I LOVE bags. And no, I don’t and would never spend thousands of dollars on a bag because it’s ridiculous (and… I know affordability is relative, but no I can’t afford one). I have a few good bags which I love and they have served me well for the past few years. My trustiest one has been with me 8 years.
- I did not give up any of my books (Oops?).
It took me a long while to realise why owning so many things made me feel uncomfortable.
Firstly, because I didn’t use most of what I owned. So, for the rest of the unused things, I felt it was a waste keeping them. Now, the reason I kept and accumulated these things was because I felt bad about throwing them away. Either I had spent good money on them, or someone had spent good money gifting them to me (I’m also terribly sentimental).
Secondly, because I attached too much value to things. I just read too much into everything, and I started to project the same on what I owned. I was miserable. Appreciation for a nice item is one thing, needing to own it for a completely stupid reason is another.
Thirdly, I am a simple person by nature. I like nice things, but you will never see me other than in an oversized black shirt and a pair of pants with Birks. I do indulge in the nice item once in a while, because admittedly I like nice things. There is nothing wrong in doing so, but owning something, or needing to own something should never afflict you.
Fourthly, owning things meant I had spent time, effort and money purchasing whatever item instead of spending time with my family, learning something new, reading, saving (in its absolute form – the future is unpredictable) or saving for a trip. The 5 things that I now value the most.
Fifthly, and perhaps most importantly, someone I love dearly fell very ill. It was then I had to re-evaluate my priorities. I had to think long and hard about what actually mattered in my life, and I needed to put my big person pants on.
Please share your experience with me? Or ask me questions on anything I have written in this post?