This weekend, I cleaned out my closet and took the unnecessary clothes and things I had to the “recycle” shop. These are the second-hand shops that are surprisingly quite popular among Japanese people. Between my husband and I, we had bags and bags of clothing to get rid of. We took them to shop hoping to sell as much as we could. Usually, after we drop it off, the store goes through the goods and sees which ones they’ll take and which ones to give back. Amazingly, they took all of it.
All told, we got about ¥4400, which is about $40.
Not bad for junk we didn’t need any more. I know it would be more “profitable” to sell these things online, but I just don’t have the time and inclination to go through all of my things, photograph them, and post them up in the online shops. It was just easier to dump them onto the store.
We got back home and I realized that despite getting rid of my clothes, I still had a closet full of junk. Make that closets. It’s also more than just clothes. There were sporting goods, books, CDs, and other items that have sat in shelves and closets gathering dust.
This made me realize that I just have way too much stuff at home. I think about all the wasted money I spent on all that junk I didn’t need–and I weep.
This whole decluttering is all part of my goal this year to minimize and Marie Kondo my life. Apparently, she’s all the rage in America because of her popular Netflix show. For anyone who doesn’t know who she is, Kondo wrote the aptly named The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
This is all a coincidence, of course. I didn’t realize that she had a show on Netflix before I even started decluttering. I had read her book two years ago and I had slowly been getting rid of the junk in my house after she made some very valid points. The main takeaway I had from her book was having time to enjoy doing the things I love when I don’t have to worry about things I need to clean or organize.
I loved that book. It changed my mind on consumerism and taught me how to value my things. Two years ago, I made the conscious decision to purchase only the things I really needed. I didn’t want to buy more stuff to add to the growing pile of junk in the house. I kept the ones that I really liked–the ones that sparked joy–and only the ones I knew were necessary in my daily life. This was good because I was saving a lot of money that I wasn’t spending. I spent most of it traveling and on experiences, instead.
With that thought in mind, I did my best to clean out and take out all the things I didn’t need one day at a time. I was successful at one point, but as always, life gets in the way and I slowly dropped off the habit.
This winter, though, I realized that I had to do something about the clutter in the house. The entire time I was sick, I was looking at all the things surrounding me and I would feel stressed just thinking about what I needed to do about them. Things needed to be dusted and organized or given away. I resolved then to get rid of the junk that is costing me so much mental bandwidth. I didn’t want to think about them, but they were always in the back of my mind.
The great thing is that you can apply Kondo’s philosophy on clutter to all parts of your life, not just the things that you have in the house. You can use her mantra of “spark joy” to filter out the things you want to have in your life. Think about the financial obligations you have, or the people in your life. This can also apply to your career and work.
I do understand that not many of us can tell our bosses that we only want to work on the things that we want to do because it brings us joy. That’s just impossible. I don’t think I can say to my boss that the meetings we have to attend suck all the joy out of my life and kill my soul.
But I think this applies to what we would want to achieve through financial independence. Because we have the means to do so, we can choose the work that really makes us feel good about our lives. We can filter out all the unnecessary bullshit that clutter up our minds and emotions.
I think it’s a good book to read and a better philosophy to adopt.