I started decluttering my belongings about four years ago. I had just returned from a long trip where I lived off two suitcases, and still had two closets full of clothes back home. My sister prompted me to read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. I listened to it and followed her two questions about the items I owned: does it make me happy and would I buy this again? So many pieces started falling into the no pile. The next year I got married and move into an apartment with my husband. Not long after I did the process again. A few months later we moved into our first house and within days, I went through the process again. Then and today, I continue decluttering not because it is ineffective, but because I learn more and more about myself, and my needs and wants change as well. I also become more strict of what I own the more I do it.
Please don’t be fooled; I still have more clothes and items than what I need, but my mindset has changed on what gets to stay. I ask myself, if I had to move, would this come with me? If the answer is no, it will be given away. Because of all the money I’ve spent in clothes that I’ve only worn a few times, I also ask myself at stores, will I be giving this away in a few months? If the answer is yes, I put it down.
My accumulation was a result of loneliness. After moving to Florida, I didn’t have many friends, and shopping was a way that I could be out of the house without company. I enjoyed having purchasing power and felt good expanding my closet. The Konmarie method made me realize that the purpose of those items had already been fulfilled, and encouraged me to only keep items that I truly loved. Before, it was hard to let go because I could see that there was still so much use left, but I didn’t have the desire to use those items up.
Recognize what you want out of what you buy. If it was the thrill of shopping, as soon as you leave the store or get home, your purchase has fulfilled its purpose. If it was a way to spend time with friends, once everyone leaves, your purchase has fulfilled its purpose. If it was a treat after a rough day or accomplishing a goal, when you get the item, its purpose was fulfilled.
Please notice the trend: we shop many times not out of need, but as a reward or hobby or activity. If you identify these behaviors, you can replace them with much more fulfilling ones and you will stop bringing things home that you don’t truly want. Invest your time and money in valuable things, not fleeting ones.
I challenge you to think of what you truly enjoy doing, and go do it very soon. Through many conversations I have discovered that I am very interested in personal development and its multiple components. This blog is a step of courage to put myself out there while I delve into the subject for my own growth and hopefully that of others. My time is invested and not wasted away, and my need for distraction turns into a fruitful endeavor.
Think about the things you like to share about the most, or the things that you internalize because for whatever reason, you don’t want to bring it to others. Make a way to take the next step. This might be through a class to learn more about it, joining a group or by involving others in your interests. Your investment in non-material things will pay much higher dividends than any focus on physical items.
Let me know what interests you and your plan for the next step.