Since late last year, I’ve been aware of Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which was released in the US in October 2014 and has become a huge best-seller here as people battle with their belongings. Kondo is a Japanese de-cluttering expert who has taken the world by storm with her almost mystical approach to organizing stuff and purging ourselves of things we don’t need in our lives. Her attitude is ruthless but kind at the same time. She believes that our belongings should “spark joy” in our lives, and each of them should have a place that they can call home. Without a home, an object sits on a surface and becomes clutter. If our belongings don’t make us happy – like that beige sweater that was never flattering or the books we know we’ll never actually read – we should get rid of them. But before that, we should thank them for their service. In her method, which involves getting rid of what we don’t need and then organizing what remains, she sees no place for storage bins or other organizing tools. If we only have what we need, we will have plenty of room to house it all.
One of her main rules is to purge in one go, and not create “maybe” piles for belongings that might be allowed to stay. She argues that once the purge has been done, good habits can take place. She might not approve of my daily giveaway approach, but then, my goal is not simply to get rid of stuff, but also to focus on the people in my life. However, because she has such a simple, respectful and magical approach to stuff, today, in her honor, I adopted her “organized purge” approach to some of my drawers, going through undergarments, socks and t-shirts and throwing away those items that always bother me a bit and those that I never seem to need. I filled a plastic bag full of these and headed for one of the yellow Planet Aid Clothes and Shoes bins close to our home (http://www.planetaid.org). Thanking the items I used for their service and the ones I hadn’t used for their patience, I dropped the bag into the bin and hoped that some of the items might “spark joy” in the lives of a recipient half way across the world.