Are you organizing useless stuff? I was...
You may have read my Blog last month about tidying up with Marie Kondo. If you'd like to read it first, here it is
I was excited to apply her methods wholeheartedly when I was preparing to move and downsize last month. As you know, it's a ton of work to move, and it was even more work to discard and de-clutter before moving. But the extra work was 100% worth it and paid off.
During the discarding process, I donated 3 large garbage bags of clothing and 6 boxes of books. I donated countless miscellaneous household items. I lost count of how many bags of shredded paper I hauled out. Let's just say I pretty much burned out my shredder. I reduced my filed household documents from one large filing cabinet down to one small drawer. I realized I had triplicates of many of my work resources because I previously worked out of three different offices. So you see why so much shredding was going on.
I would like to share with you my takeaways from this undertaking and I hope it motivates you to dive in too - it's life-changing!
I was holding on to so much stuff that really wasn't serving me in any way. It had lost it's purpose or maybe even never had a purpose for me. In fact, it was weighing me down...literally.
I didn't know I had 4 pairs of scissors and 4 hand-held calculators. My husband discovered he had 6 pairs of scissors and 60 wood or metal files in the garage and so many more duplicates of unnecessary things. Even though we had 10 pairs of scissors, we often were asking...do you know where the scissors are? I'm sure you can relate!
It was much easier to let go of things than I had expected. Even my books. It made it easier just by asking the question...does it spark joy? The answer was clear 90% of the time. When I hesitated or was unsure and came back to it later, the answer was usually 'no.'
It felt good to sell or donate things that I could not see serving me in my future.
I am an organized person and I am good at organizing my stuff - and that included things I didn't need. I was organizing so many years of unnecessary documents - old insurance policies, credit card statements, old cheque books, manuals, course materials. Now, I know I really only need to keep the current year of these types of documents. So yes, I am organized, but I was routinely organizing useless stuff without even realizing it.
Those storage "solutions" are really just a means
within which to bury possessions
that spark no joy.
- Marie Kondo
It was empowering to release things to others and see the joy those things sparked in them...a box of self-help books for someone in need of some resources and a futon for someone who was excited to start over.
Tidying is the act of confronting yourself. Marie says that the process of discarding and organizing confronts your emotions about the past, as well as your fears about the future. Your stuff (things that bring you joy and things that don’t) will show you what you value most in life.
It's easier to find things now because everything has its place and similar items are stored together. I know exactly where the scissors are! When your outer world is in order, your inner world feels calmer. A tidy space relaxes the mind and you have less stress and frustration!
The more you ask yourself if something sparks joy, the more you tune in to your intuition and what you really value. It becomes easier to make decisions in your life. You become in tune with what brings you joy.
I still have one last category to sort through - memorabilia and pictures. I did let go of some of my memorabilia already, but there's a lot more to do. This is usually the most difficult category of all and that's why it's the last one.
I highly recommend that you try this process of letting go of things that no longer serve you and that don't spark joy. It's a great way to simplify your life, reduce your stress (afterwards), hone your decision-making skills, and learn what you value going forward in your own life.
NOTE: I will keep you posted on my relocation to Spruce Grove, Alberta. I am still seeing clients in Stony Plain during this transition period.
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Beth Matthews is a Registered Psychologist who is driven to help people feel better about themselves. She can help you if you are struggling in your life. You can learn easy-to-use strategies to help you cope with anything that comes your way.