I’ve been hard at work the past weeks using the bits of time before I go to work to declutter small areas. One thing that has been bothering me about clutter is that is steals my mental energy. Clutter, in my life, is items that a decision should be made about but that I have not taken action on. Clutter might be a t-shirt that fits funny or shrunk, but I barely wore it! Or maybe if I keep it another year it will fit my daughter… Meanwhile, every time I get dressed it is there saying “You bought me are you EVER going to wear me?”
Gifts are also an area that can become clutter. If the gift is something I haven’t really enjoyed, it just waits there for me to enjoy it to the level the giver intended. One recent influence on me is the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. In the book she encourages us by saying the power of a gift is in the action of giving, not the item itself. “Presents are not things but a means for conveying someone’s feelings,” she writes. No one would want the gift they gave you to make you feel guilty or unhappy for decades!
One item that I came across is the massive COMPLETE book of Shakespeare’s works, given to me by a friend who went to teach in Japan 25 YEARS AGO! It has been sitting in my laundry room for years. I often thought it might be “worth something” until I looked on abebooks.com and alibris.com and found them selling for $6.00 – 12.00! I am grateful my friend thought I was the kind of scholar that would crack open a 2,300 page book, but I decided to donate it to my local library’s “Friends of the Library” book sale. The library gives me so much joy in my life and I hope they can use the money from the sale of the book to make the library a joyful part of someone else’s life.
For more on Marie Kendo see this article.