Somewhere in my archives, I’m pretty sure I tackled this subject at one point. If not, well at least I have a memory of at least thinking about it. As I’ve gotten *older*, I have begun to have much less of an appreciation of holding on to crap that I don’t need. Pulling up to a donation center with quality items I don’t need, selling stuff and pocketing money or purchasing something I truly need has been sparking quite a bit of joy in my life. While reading this article this morning, I was reminded of it all…
Years ago, when the KonMari Method came out with all its magic and tidying up advice, I did find the book quite odd in places. Not being familiar with the Japanese culture, I didn’t truly appreciate the sections where she mentioned such tactics as putting her purse away and thanking it. I thought it was pretty bizarre until I truly tried to figure out what she meant and what message she was trying to convey. I get it now, even though I don’t thank my purses. Sadly, it would take too long with how many I have. (grumble…need to put some up for sale)
Unbeknownst to us at the time, my husband and I did some seriously de-cluttering in the kitchen that would be very helpful at the time, since it has continued ever since. No longer willing to have a multitude of things we will no longer use, it has led to more cooking, a more organized kitchen and being surrounded by things that truly do spark joy. Items themselves can’t spark joy, but the memories surrounding them or the use of them, such as a music box or holding the item while telling a story about it can. You can remember a soup you made that everyone sat around the table laughing about something while eating. A time when you tried to cook together and kept getting in each other’s way, which ended up being funny with a great meal at the end. I now have the great ” 2019 String Cheese Incident” in the new air fryer that will be fondly remembered. OH how I wish I took photos of that. Who knew how long string cheese would pull before coming off of something when hot/overcooked?
If you knew me in *real life*, you would know that I have been slowly working towards quite a bit of minimalism and finding quite a bit of happiness in getting rid of crap. My mom was what I refer to as an organized hoarder. I have photos here of the house decorated with hundreds of knick-knacks that changed promptly with the passing of seasons and holidays. Some would say the items were more kitsch than anything, but to my mom, they were extremely important. I now believe that her OCD prevented her from parting with most things, something I had to truly learn as time went by. I’ve never hoarded things, but I’ve certainly held on to things for sentimental value. Not that there is anything wrong with keeping sentimental things, but for me, learning to move on and replace the items (or not) with things that make me happy has become more of a priority.
However, people predictably got very upset when Marie Kondo started suggesting that people do things like throw away all the books you never read for example. For some, their book collection is a non-negotiable thing that DOES spark joy for them. Perhaps they choose to re-read a classic, borrow or lend a book. What works for one person doesn’t work for another. It’s like telling me to donate/sell my Star Trek collection. NOPE! Because certain collections spark joy for one person, doesn’t mean that it will work for another. Maybe you like mountains of shoes, huge collections of clothing, books all over or a kitchen overflowing with things. You do you as the extremely irritating saying goes lol. What it’s done for me is brought me a much better understanding of why I don’t need all this stuff around me.
There is quite a difference between keeping items in a collection that you love and want to keep for enjoyment. Many people have displays, curios and the like filled with memorable items, souvenirs from trips, etc. We have an extensive collection of fridge magnets that we have from pretty much every city and now country that we’ve been to. It’s a fun thing we do and we avoid cumbersome collectibles for the most part.
Holding on to boxes and collectibles because you truly believe that they are worth something is another thing altogether. How many times have you said or heard someone say, “Well, this sure is going to be worth a pretty penny day!” Pennies is usually a pretty accurate assessment. With antique stores filling up with many items, you will find a wide variety of prices. A mint-in-box Barbie that is decades old could fetch hundreds or more in return. However, boxes of used Barbies, even if from the 1960’s isn’t going to get you much except a dollar or two. Our over-inflated thought processes about things somehow justify our keeping them. “I might give them to my kids/grandkids one day.” Recently, I showed my oldest daughter a cedar chest full of beautiful infant dresses from hers and my youth. She politely declined them, saying they were “cute”, but nothing she would put her own children in; they didn’t interest her. So our minds tell us how valuable things are monetarily or sentimentally, but in reality, the things we keep usually have little to no value, unless sentimental in nature.
I’m certainly not trying in ANY way to be judgmental. I’m truly trying to relay my personal experiences with way too much crap and what I’m trying to do with it. We have all had times in our lives when getting rid of something was extremely difficult. It was tough for me to donate/sell/discard things that I saw in my home growing up. Some have suggested that taking a photo and keeping it to remind you of the item is a good idea. That way, you can remember the item, but it doesn’t take up actual space. Another idea is to keep one part of a collection to display but sell/donate the rest. Also, visualizing how much you are saving by parting with things can be quantified with coupons received at a donation place. Purchasing a shirt you will use after donating 30+ items is a good exchange for example.
What you do with your own things is up to you. Keep them forever, donate them all, sell and replace…it’s all what you want for your life. My personal experiences with getting rid of stuff was difficult at first, but over time, it’s so much easier. People do not always want the things you save for them. Sometimes they do and that’s great too. However, making more room, freeing up space and opening up areas once closed off to clutter can be a great experience, even if it truly doesn’t *spark joy*. At least, it’s less to dust right?