September 03, 2018
My first step of action for the arrival of summer used to be – or still is – to throw my socks as far away as I could.
YAY! Run around barefoot in the grass, on the tar and “train“ my feet on the uneven stone road. To feel the air on my feet is such a sense of freedom. Imagine yourself, you‘ve been tucked away for months on end, and now you feel the wind. (Poor feet!)
When the summer holiday ended, my friends and I would sit together in a circle and compare the soles of our feet. Whoever had the thickest was queen! The dirtier, the better.
When the school holiday was over, we would glide into fall, and back into our socks. I was always a little sad to clean up my feet and put my socks back on.
But there is someone who dislikes socks more than me, and that’s my mother-in-law. You could call her sock-phobic.
Now, she’s Swiss but lives in South Africa, so she is lucky. She doesn’t need to wear socks there. But the Swiss summer can be a bit unpredictable weatherwise (not talking about this crazy summer), and there can be some cold days when, hmmm, it would be wise to wear a pair of socks.
But when I bring a pair to my mother-in-law, she looks at me with widened eyes and a disgusted look on her face. She gives out a loud “no way!“ and runs to the end of the room.
One thing about my mother-in-law is that she knows for certain what she does and doesn’t like.
What about you?
Too many things
September is here, and that means it’s time to put our socks back on. It also means fall cleaning and starting fresh.
Maybe you were so busy this summer – which is wonderful - that you neglected your home a bit. No worries, you can start to tidy and declutter now that summer is over. Clearing out spaces that have grown too full is an excellent way to restore some order in your life. In the process, you can also find out what you really like (or what you don’t, like my mother in law).
Think about it. We often buy things randomly with no thought or need behind it. Clothes, kitchen tools, decorations, toys, the list goes on.
Next summer we don’t need to go to the ocean to go for a swim, we can just open our cupboards and closets and let our possessions flood the floor and go for a swim right at home! Cool, don’t you think?
Besides what we purchase ourselves, we also have stacks of presents (often in their original packaging) from well-meaning family and friends. They are all wonderful, but let's be honest, most of them also find their way into some storage place, and won‘t be seen until we move or something else drastic happens.
Simple everyday tasks like cleaning and cooking become a mission because you have to pick up and rearrange objects before you dive into the scrubbing and dusting. When you have to shuffle things around to get to the surfaces you need to clean, it consumes way more of your time. And often when we look around our house full of possessions, we are not even truly aware of which things we actually like.
One excellent way of finding out what we like is by decluttering or tidying up the KonMari TM way. Marie Kondo is a Japanese tidying expert and best-selling author whose ideas have not just helped millions of people create orderly, warm homes but have also helped people find out what they truly like!
I’ve come to adore her simplistic, practical and spiritual view on tidying and its impact on the quality of life.
Kondo’s secret magic
Ok, so let me explain a bit more. First, it is important is to get your mindset right.
It’s not about what you don’t want anymore.
It’s about choosing what to keep.
If you focus on what to throw away, you will lose sight of the real purpose of tidying up.
Kondo says the best criterion for choosing what to keep is this: “Does it spark joy when you touch it?”
Take each item in your hand. Keep those that spark joy and discard those that don’t. This is the simplest and most accurate way to figure out what you should keep.
Are you happy wearing clothes that don’t spark joy?
Do you feel joy when you’re surrounded by books that don’t speak to you anymore?
Why always set the table with plates and glasses that are so cheap that “it doesn’t matter if they break“ and keep the ones that make your heart tingle in the closet, far away and only for “special occasions?“ Why not use them every day?
Kondo says, “The first important step is to visualise or imagine your ideal lifestyle before you start.”
What kind of life would you like to live in your home?
For example, let’s say you would love to make and eat stress-free, healthy and delicious meals with your family every evening. Listening to music while cooking, setting the table in a pretty way and enjoying this everyday activity.
By dreaming about your ideal lifestyle, you can start to see what happiness looks like for you.
The true purpose of your home and your things is to bring you happiness.
Kondo continues to explain that difficulties in decluttering often mean that we are trapped in the past and/or are afraid of the future. So we make it difficult to move forward.
Sometimes we keep things just because they might come in handy one day or because they were given to us by someone we love.
Tidying is really a way to confront yourself and set yourself free.
When someone clearly identifies their own joy point, they gain confidence.
And with Kondo’s tidying technique, that confidence helps you to sharpen your decision-making skills.
Find out what you like while tidying and decluttering.
Think back to your own childhood and the things you enjoyed doing. Whatever it was, the chances are that it is related in some way to something that you are doing now, even if you are not doing it in the same way.
Kondo says that the question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
Attachment to the past and fears concerning the future don’t just make it difficult to figure out what you really like, but they make it harder to make choices in general!
Fear and attachment cloud the present moment, and in the midst of a lack of clarity, we continue to buy heaps of unnecessary things.
The best way to find out what we really want and need is to get rid of what we don’t.
If we acknowledge our attachment to the past and our fears for the future by honestly looking at our possessions, we will be able to see what is really important to us.
Like Kondo so wisely puts it:” This process helps us to identify our values and reduces doubt and confusion when making life decisions.”
I think this is truly genius. Like I said before, I love the KonMari Method TM, and if you want to learn more or go more in-depth on how to do it, I recommend her books which you can find here.
To get a bit more information straight away, you can read about it here and here.
Enjoy discovering what sparks joy in your life!
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