Ever since Thoreau said “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify” people have been trying to find a way to live with less stuff. My friend Amy is doing the 30 articles of clothing thing – paring down her wardrobe to only the 30 most essential, most often-worn items. Other friends are trying different kinds of minimalist lifestyles, inspired by blogs like Clear Space, Be More With Less, and The Path to Simple. The names differ, but they all encourage living with intention, doing with less, and most importantly, shedding stuff.
Using Kondo’s method, I’ve been sorting through and discarding things in preparation for a move. It’s hard work, but as sunlight spreads across empty expanses of countertop and magazine-free coffee table, the incredible lightness of tossing stuff fills me with joy.
So thank you green sweater that looked great in the store but in real-life turns me a truly undesirable shade of unripe banana. Thank you Smoothie Master Elite 2000. I hardly knew ye. Thank you fancy chicken bouillon cubes. You expired on January 28, 2013 and I totally forgot you, pushed back behind the cranberry sauce and Stove Top stuffing. Thank you for letting me pretend that I would cook more from scratch. It was a nice dream while it lasted.
But what about the stuff that I can’t get rid of? The things that I try to toss but never fail to return to the shelf? My ballet books, purchased with babysitting money decades ago. Photo albums, it goes without saying, will always be in the To Keep pile.
Using the Kondo method has helped me discover what things are truly essential. I’d give away everything in my house before I would part with two of my daughters’ craft projects: little flowers and hearts that I put on my refrigerator door so I can see them every day. There are certainly more valuable things in my house, but if there were a fire, these are the things I would save. These little construction paper flowers and hearts spark joy for me.
What sparks joy for you?