For the last 3 days, I have been on a discard bender. I've not done much, yet four heavy bags of clothes have already been sent for donation. Seriously, how did all this stuff get here? I hope I don't wake up one morning and wonder how I accumulated so many years.
My good mate @Elle_Emmm recommended a book - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo - which, on the surface, suggests decluttering based on categories, rather than rooms or areas, but is, deep down, about connecting with your personal values and the kind of life you want to live.
The criteria is simple, "Does it spark joy?" When tidying-up using the KonMari method, if you do not feel joy upon handling an object you own, it's time to thank it for its service, and send it on its way.
Throughout my childhood, there was always such bad energy and obligation associated with domestic activity. Chores were utilitarian, routine, process, the thing you do to get it out of the way. The thing worth shouting at people for. This changed a little once I moved into my own place, but it's hard to shake off one's conditioning.
So I am touched by this book. I feel it speaks to a quiet part of my self that, over the years, became obscured beneath piles of obligation and chore. Whether something in your life makes you feel joy is a simple, but pressing question. It forces you to look past the distraction of shoulds and oughts, and listen to your heart.
Mum used to say I was terrible at tidying up cos I wander too much when I come across sentimental items. This book tells me it's perfectly fine to wander, and say, how bout you wander along this way and fully appreciate those feelings of yours.
While cleaning, I realised I have trouble letting go of things I once loved. I hope getting practice in mastering this habit for owned stuff will help me master it for life stuff in general.
Some epiphanies are less la-di-da. I have some nice clothes I'm really not into - they're only there in case I need to go to a party. But I don't even like parties. What if I just say no to parties and free up that space for clothes I do like? :)
The photos in this post are of my work in progress. I started on a rack with 2 hanging shelves, bursting with clothes like a jaffle pie with gravy. I'm down to one hanging shelf now, fewer t-shirts and pants, and only a handful of undies and socks cos it's fun to live on the edge.
This morning was a whirlwind of bags, hats, scarves and shoes. It's amazing how many things you don't mind throwing out when your head's unanxious. I think I could have been the cleaning diva Mum always wanted me to be, had we taken a more soulful approach to our home and possessions. I have kept some ugly and unusable things, for no reason other than they bring me joy.
It is surprising at times, this approach to decluttering. You learn about yourself as you go. That makes it a lot of fun.