There is a recent trend #mariekondo and #sparkjoy that had inspired many Singaporeans since the Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo was released in Jan 1 this year. The beginning of the year coincides with the Spring Cleaning for Chinese New Year. Many shared on social media how they took the extra miles to clear their wardrobes, bookshelves and store rooms, etc. and only keep things that sparks joy.
Back in 2011 I remembered I was very impressed by The Happiness Project of Gretchen Rubin where the idea of decluttering is indeed a worthy Happiness Project. In 2015 Marie Kondo’s book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up had spurred me into action to declutter my working desk. But nothing prepares me for the experience two years ago in December 2016.
The time had come that my family was ready to move, or right-sized to a nicer place, but smaller in terms of floor area (without burning a big hole in the pocket). The thought of having to get rid of my love – books, cassette tapes, CDs, crafts, photo albums, souvenirs that were accumulated over my adult working life was utterly unthinkable, painful and scary. Besides, there were things that I treasured such as toys my son grew up with, his kindergarten crafts for Mother’s Day, and the sentimental things I inherited from my late parents. Deciding what to keep, what to discard, what to give away and who to give to, was like going through a baptism of fire. Those things were part of my life, my pride and even reason for my existence! Unwilling to admit openly, I was a hoarder with obsessive-compulsive disorder!
Wouldn’t it be easier just to follow Marie Kondo’s suggestion to keep the things that sparks joy? No, that method would not have worked for me. I had to part with things even if they spark joy, albeit reluctantly, as my new home was much smaller.
I imaged how heartbroken I would be as though I was incapacitated. However, after the move, I actually felt liberated, freed and relieved! Instead of missing things the things that I had parted with, I was able to live with less that came with new found calmness, peacefulness and joy.
Hence this episode had given me the insight that material attachment and letting go are two sides of the same coin. Unless I am prepared to experience the pain of letting go, I will not experience the joy of being free and liberated. This is the true essence of decluttering for me!
In order to be effective, decluttering should be a HABIT, and applies to both physical and digital clutters such as photos on our Smartphone or on Cloud Computing storage. Here is my little tip to remember how to keep the HABIT:
- H – Happiness is when you declutter and be free
- A – Form Allies to increase chances of success
- B – Big Picture – Less is More
- I – Identify and prioritise
- T – Tidy by category, a little a day
#mariekondo #sparkjoy #decluttering #lessismore #newyearresolution #thisishome