To be honest, I haven't even made it past the Introduction and this book has already made a significant difference in my world...but not for the reasons you might think.
I recall the first time I experienced the pure joy and weightlessness of shedding all of my possessions was when, in my mid-twenties, I relocated to Spain. I sold every material item I'd so carefully chosen and worked hard for to furnish my meticulously decorated first home purchased as an independent adult with my then boyfriend, Ari. I was sure that was how the rest of my life would look. Glass-top tables and wall-sized artwork, surround sound systems and an office with a view. I'd attached so much emotion and meaning to those material items that at one point I'm sure I felt like they were a part of me. Oh the lessons I was yet to learn.
Luckily for me, not Ari, the travel bug bit hard and for my own growth and development it marked a massive turning point. Grief set in, not only for the relationship I was leaving but for all of my friends and family I had to say goodbye to as well - that's to be expected, right? But what I hadn't anticipated was the grief I'd feel at letting go of my things! Although, I realise now that it wasn't really the things I struggled to part with, but the future they symbolised.
I noticed that I felt lighter - physically and metaphorically - with each 'separation' and soon, that feeling was something I sought more of, until one day, all of my possessions fitted into one suitcase. Can you even imagine? But man, at 26 years of age with only a suitcase and a passport I felt like I could take on the world!
If I'm honest, over time, living overseas, travelling 'lightly' also provided a sense of comfort. I knew that if I needed to escape any situation, if I needed to move on, I could do it easily and quickly. Maybe that's an evolutionary hangover, I'm not sure.
Once home again, after a few years, I managed to maintain the habit of living simply. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I measure the value of money in terms of airfares. Oh you just bought a $3000 television? That's two return airfares to New York. I'll take the $500 tv thanks! That's just how I roll...
But then an interesting thing happened. Six years ago (this week is the anniversary actually!), I got diagnosed with breast cancer and throughout treatment I struggled to see more than one day ahead of myself - I couldn't look to the future. That was weird, but I guess it was a survival thing. Anyway, once active treatment ended, the future appeared once again and I had to plan where I was going to live as I'd moved home for treatment.
All of a sudden, I became a maniacal accumulator of things, as if having possessions would anchor me to the earth, or to life, or something. It was weird too!
So, why is she talking to us about this book?, I hear you ask...
Well, it turns out that the book I'm reading was actually born from the experience the author had when she read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo. Have you read it? I haven't, but there was enough inspiration in the Intro to my book that motivated me to tidy my wardrobe.
Let me start by saying that I am totally and utterly disgusted by how many clothes and shoes I own and yet I'm constantly saying, "I have nothing to wear." I decided yesterday that the inability to let go of items of clothing "just in case" must also be some sort of evolutionary hangover. I'll look into that down the track for us...I mean, for you.
The two-step KonMari Method consists of "discarding the items that do not spark joy and then organising the ones they have left."
And so, I arrived home yesterday from a couple of days away and this is what I was presented with:
Once again, I too am disgusted with the amount of stuff I own.
In KonMari style, I went through every item with ruthless abandon. I held each item and I even said out loud a couple of times, "you don't bring me joy!" as I threw it on the pile to go to the second hand shop where it will hopefully bring someone else endless joy.
I threw out clothes that I have held onto for years "just in case", and it felt so good.
The best part came with the organising. I can now tell you that everything in my wardrobe fits me and I can see all of it! It's easily accessible which means I can find all the good stuff - the stuff that brings me joy - and I can actually wear it! I can also tell you that I'll never have to buy another white/black/grey t-shirt again as long as I live...
And this is the end result:
It might not look like I got rid of much, but trust me, there was a lot of stuff crammed up there and washing not yet put away.
I can also tell you that my mind actually feels decluttered as a result of cleaning the wardrobe. Imagine what will happen if I read the rest of the book. I'll keep you posted!
In summary, this is a post about two new things - the new book AND a new method for tidying my wardrobe - I guess it sort of turned into a little bit of an Up Close & Personal post too...
Make sure to let me know if you try the Life-Changing Magic of anything or if you have stepped out of your comfort zone lately to try something new!