Around the Bluhmin’ :Town The joys of de-cluttering your belongings

There is nothing quite like stormy weather to get us in a tidying up mood. January is the perfect time to de-clutter! Out with all the “stuff” we never use, wear or even like.

Marie Kondo, Japanese de-cluttering guru, whose “tidying up” book and teachings, are supposed to show us the way to a neater and more joyful life. The KonMari method, as it is called, is the roadmap to positive change through organizing and letting go of the “stuff” you no longer need. Easier said than done.

The first step in decluttering is to go by category and not a room. I thought I would start with clothes. And before I went through mine, I noticed quite a few things in my husband Doug’s closet that he hadn’t worn in a while. I do recall Kondo saying work on your own belongings first, but I asked Doug if I might “help” him sort through his clothes.

“Sure,” he yelled while watching a football game. As I asked him about various old shirts and pants, suggesting that I donate them to charity, he seemed annoyed. Then I noticed a particularly worn and faded denim jacket and asked if he still wanted it. No response. Next, I asked the “golden Kondo question,” which is, “Does this item spark joy in you?” Doug just stared at me like I had two heads and said, “It’s just a jacket!” No touchdown.

OK. Lesson No. 1. When you are tidying up start on your own side of the closet. Which is what I did next. I found clothes I hadn’t worn in a few years, some things I had forgotten about and shoes that I am still wondering what possessed me to buy. Psychologists have claimed that if you want to know who you are, just look in your closet. Well, it did feel like “therapy” evaluating my clothing choices.

Kondo says that regardless of when you bought an item, if you aren’t enjoying it, get rid of it. Give it away! Feel no guilt! Simply recall the pleasure it gave you when you bought it. I have a metallic gray handbag with long fringe that I bought with my sister-in-law because she said it looked like me. Well, I have never used it because it really looks more like Cher! Tidying up can be painful! Especially, when you see the error of your shopping ways and the money you spent (wasted) all laid out in front of you!

In Sweden, there is a kind of decluttering method called “death cleaning.” This implores people to get rid of their unwanted stuff before they die, to lighten the burden on their families. Depressing? Perhaps, but a good idea, since our kids evidently don’t want our china, collectibles and mementos. Still, I like Kondo’s concept that decluttering is about “joy,” not kicking the bucket.

Dear Readers, take the “tidying up challenge” and feel the thrill and freedom of letting go! Oh, and if anyone wants a fringed purse, just give me a call. My junk, your joy?

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Contact Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.

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