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Gratitude || KonMari Journey

January 23, 2017

“Every object has a different role to play [in your life]. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will become a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the precious lesson of who you do like, so that you will appreciate those special people even more . . .

. . . To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose . . . Let them go, with gratitude”

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (60-61)

“Finish Discarding First”
Chapter 2

This week several ideas came to mind as I was reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” including ideas on how to be less wasteful while tidying, and how important it is not just to have a goal, but to really develop a detailed vision for where you see yourself at the achievement of your goal. Although this chapter was filled with wonderful ideas, I have decided to only focus on one specific idea in this post today. That idea is gratitude; gratitude for the things I own and for the things present in my life, as well as gratitude for the things that have been part of my life at one point or another, but that is not necessarily anymore.

This week I was reflecting on all of the things I own, and although I haven’t started decluttering yet I found myself making mental lists in my head of what I am planning to throw out or donate. I was focusing on all of the things I no longer use, no longer enjoy, no longer need, or no longer want adding them to my mental discard pile. As I was doing this I realized how little attention I was paying to the things I want to keep. I wasn’t making mental lists of possessions in my mind that I loved (the positives), and that I knew that I would be keeping because I love them, instead I was focusing on the things I wanted to get rid of (the negatives) in my mind, and was starting to feel stressed out and overwhelmed by this.

 “[W]e should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of . . . I had been so focused on what to discard, on attacking the unwanted obstacles around me that I had forgotten to cherish the things that I loved, the things I wanted to keep” (41).

Marie Kondo in her book explains that while decluttering we should be focusing on what we want to keep, not on what we want to get rid of. If we focus solely on the things we want to discard then we are not allowing ourselves to truly cherish the things that we love around us. This idea is so profound and beautiful that it nearly brought me to tears (I will admit it, I get overly sensitive reading sometimes. I have accepted that 😉 ) The reason why I find this concept so moving is because I feel that it extends far beyond the world of decluttering or tidying. How often are we distracted by all of the negative things in our life that we forget to focus on the positives? If you are anything like me, the answer to that question is “too often.”

This week I think I really realized how important it is not to let the negative things in life overshadow the wonderful ones. Applying this back to decluttering again, I am so excited to get started decluttering and to find within myself deep gratitude for the things that I own, and for the people in my life that and who I truly cherish and love. I have set the goal to try my best to focus on the things I love and cherish throughout this decluttering journey as opposed to the things I want to get rid of and discard.

“The best way to choose what to keep and what to discard is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it . . . Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle” (41, 42).

With that being said however, I was also reminded this week that although there are things in my life that I might be getting rid of, it is important to have gratitude in my heart also for those things, and as Marie puts it, to let those things go not with anger or frustration, but with gratitude. In the same way that it is absolutely essential to feel grateful for the things we own, it is also essential to feel gratitude for the things we are discarding.

“Every object has a different role to play [in your life]. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will become a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the precious lesson of who you do like, so that you will appreciate those special people even more” (60)

Because I have moved so much in my life, I have seen many people come into my life and leave again, some after a short period of time and some after a longer time, but only a small handful of people have stayed throughout the years. I feel grateful for that small handful of people. So grateful. But I also feel grateful for the ones who have come into my life and then left. Those people who have impacted me in some way or another, left a mark on me, and then disappeared. Not everything, and not everyone is meant to be in our lives forever, and this week I really felt the truthfulness of this statement. So, my lesson this week was gratitude. Gratitude for the things in life I own, gratitude for the people in life I know and cherish, gratitude for the things in life I no longer need, use, cherish but that I once did, and gratitude for the people in life who once was a part of mine, but no longer are. This week’s lesson was gratitude.

  • Visualize your destination (in detail) before you start
  • Hold each item as you are decluttering and ask “Does it spark joy?”
  • Focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of
  • Declutter in this sequence: Clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellany), mementos
  • Don’t let your family see what you declutter; declutter unapologetically
  • Don’t pass your reject items to someone else
  • Evaluate each item’s role in your life, if it has fulfilled that role then thank it and discard of it with gratitude
  • Start your decluttering early in the morning (p. 58).
  • Create a quiet space to have a dialogue with yourself as you declutter

“When you tidy your space completely, you transform the scenery. The change is so profound that you feel as if you are living in a totally different world. This deeply affects your mind and inspires a strong aversion to reverting to your previously cluttered state. The key is to make the change so sudden that you experience a complete change of heart” (34).

“Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding . . . To summarize, the secret of success is to tidy in one shot, as quickly and completely as possible, and to start by discarding” (35).

“Before you start, visualize your destination . . . begin by identifying your goal . . . What do you hope to gain through tidying? Before you start getting rid of things, take the time to think this through carefully. This means visualizing the ideal lifestyle you dream of . . . Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space” (36).

“Your next step is to identify why you want to live [your ideal lifestyle] . . . As you continue to explore the reasons behind your ideal lifestyle, you will come to a simple realization. The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy” (38).

“[W]e should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of . . . I had been so focused on what to discard, on attacking the unwanted obstacles around me that I had forgotten to cherish the things that I loved, the things I wanted to keep” (41).

“The best way to choose what to keep and what to discard is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it . . . Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle” (41, 42).

“People have trouble discarding things that they could still use (functional value), that contain helpful information (informational value), and that have sentimental ties (emotional value). When these things are hard to obtain or replace (rarity), they become even harder to part with” (45).

“The best sequence for decluttering is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly mementos” (46).

“It can be very annoying when your family doesn’t cooperate with your attempts to achieve the ‘ideal’ home . . . [however,] to quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is actually the best way of dealing with a family that doesn’t tidy” (49, 52).

“The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space . . . This is why you should start by discarding only your own things. You can leave the communal spaces to the end. The first step is to confront your own stuff” (53).

“If you want to give something away, don’t push people to take it unconditionally or pressure them by making them feel guilty . . . We need to show consideration to others by helping them avoid the burden of owning more than they need or can enjoy” (56).

“Tidying is a dialogue with one’s self . . . The work of carefully considering each object I own to see whether it sparks joy inside me is like conversing with myself through the medium of my possessions. For this reason, it is essential to create a quiet space in which to evaluate the things in your life” (57, 58).

“Every object has a different role to play [in your life]. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will become a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the precious lesson of who you do like, so that you will appreciate those special people even more” (60)

“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose . . . Let them go, with gratitude” (61)




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