April 05, 2021
When you tidy and declutter your home, you should do it by category, not by location and room. By pulling out everything from a certain category all at once (and not room by room), you get an overview of what you actually own.
This is one of the KonMari Method® rules, which is, in my opinion, the best method to use when doing decluttering and organisation work.
If you don't already know, the KonMari Method® is developed by Marie Kondo, tidying-queen and best-selling author of The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Follow the right order: Memorabilia last
Another rule of Kondo’s is to follow the right order of the categories. The last category to work through is memorabilia and sentimental items.
This section of our possessions comes last for an important reason. We need to hone our decision-making skills. We need to learn how to listen to ourselves and feel that spark of joy when it happens.
So when we reach memorabilia and we are already equipped with these skills, we will be less overwhelmed by having to make decisions about the things to which we have a tendency to be the most attached.
We know that we can say goodbye with gratitude, and we don't need to have a bad conscience. If it's a gift, it is the thought that counts. The memory of someone doesn't disappear because we decide to discard something from them.
The memorabilia that spark joy, the pieces we decide to keep, we store somewhere where we have easy access. We keep a letter where we can see, touch or easily read it, not in the attic or cellar where we will never see it again.
But what about if the loss is sudden or not long ago?
We just lost our dog, Zorro. He died in the beginning of March, and I'm filled with sorrow. A heart-twisting pain that hurts even physically. At the moment, it feels like life will never be good again. I miss him more than words can say.
Our cleaning lady, a wonderful lady from Sri Lanka who has worked for us for over ten years, told me that in her culture (she is Hindu), they leave everything of their loved ones out for 31 days, just like it is. Then they have a ceremony and sort the things out.
I like that, it gives it a frame, something to hold on to.
One of my clients lost her husband seven years ago. His clothes had been in their walk-in closet all this time. I told her to take them all out and put them all neatly in boxes. When she and her son both feel ready, they will go through his clothes together
This can of course be done much closer after a loss as well.
The KonMari Consulting community says:
The idea of going through stages or categories in progression is not new or something Marie Kondo thought up - it’s true of many things including grief - and it's one of the reasons it works so well.
They also say: the time to let go of things associated with a loss is whenever you are ready.
Maybe it needs to be addressed in counselling or within one's religious or spiritual beliefs, but letting go of things is just part of the process - it's symbolic in a way.
We can't promise that something magical will happen by letting things go, but it might be a turning point! To give someone «permission» to keep or to let go, that it's not a requirement then, we are able to make a decision without pressure - and often, we are all of a sudden ready to let it all go.
How I feel at the moment, I can not even think about discarding things from Zorro. I'm not ready.
I'm extremely grateful to have had the gift of spending so many years together with someone so full of love and grace. And with the emotional and spiritual intelligence that animals have. We have so much to learn from them.
When my former dog, Paadio, died I read the books from The Grief Recovery Method. The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith von John W. James and Russell Friedman. I recommend these books as much as I recommend the books from Marie Kondo.
Like always, every situation and person is different. And it is so important to take time to grieve. But then also to be able to move on, to not get stuck. To go through every item and to keep what sparks joy.
Again, the memory of someone doesn't disappear because we decide to discard something from them. When I’m ready, I will go through Zorro’s things, but my memories will stay with me always.
We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.
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