Vacation souvenirs, cheap Christmas ornaments, collectible figurines … most of us are utterly inundated with stuff. I recognize that I am far from the first person to make such an observation, but the older I get the more it really hits me just how weighed down with stuff I am. And I’m also far from the first person to question whether all that stuff does more harm than good in our lives.
For me personally, I feel trapped in a catch-22. On the one hand, I feel weighed down by various bits and bobs that I’ve amassed over the years. Clutter overwhelms me both emotionally and in terms of productivity. On the other hand, I can be a pretty nostalgic person. The thought of parting with belongings associated with happy memories makes me feel sad. So what am I to do?
To give you an idea of the kind of “stuff” I’m talking about, I certainly don’t mean necessary household objects like toothbrushes and pots and pans. Nor do I mean to imply that my house is deserving of being featured on one of those hoarding shows! I keep a clean house, I assure you!
Rather, I’m talking about things like fast fashion, or marketing materials given out by companies for free, or refillable souvenir soda cups you buy at sporting events. Also, possessions that are deeply tied to heartfelt memories of yore.
My husband and I are in a phase where we are going through the house and purging a lot of this stuff. Where I am encountering difficulties is in letting go of the memories. How do I part with items belonging to my late mother? Or things reminding me of happier days from long ago?
I was scrolling Facebook and saw a post from a friend about this very topic. She posted a link to a Marie Kondo video on Netflix about how to deal with this very dilemma. She says to ask yourself the following questions:
Does it give you joy?
Do you need this for your future life?
If no, then thank the item for how it served you, and say goodbye.
I absolutely love this approach. Even though it initially sounds a bit silly to thank an inanimate item for how it served you, I think it actually makes perfect sense in the context of saying goodbye to a deceased loved one’s possessions. I can see Marie Kondo’s approach being cathartic for those, like me, who have lost loved ones.
Of course, this approach may not be as helpful if the source of stuff is mostly a case of “but what if I need it again someday.” Like the pineapple corer sitting in the bowels of my kitchen cabinets, unused for years. But just what if I crave fresh whole pineapple!
I will work on some Marie Kondo style de-stuffing and update you all on how it goes. I expect it to be an emotionally bittersweet experience.
Tell me, do you feel stuffed? What do you think of Marie Kondo’s approach to decluttering?
Until next time,