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Less Is More

Kondo

The first pair of trousers is essential; the second is enormously useful. It is not at all clear why anyone would want a 10th or 11th pair.

This is how Tim Hardford sums up the impact of Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

In what amounts to a perfect example of why I needed to read this book, I bought it for a second time. It was only once we had purged through our 40 plus boxes of books that I discovered that I had already purchased the book.

I guess I did not get a chance to read it the first time.

As we have been making some good progress on decluttering our home, I thought it would be helpful to read Kondo’s book, perhaps once more, to learn from the master.

Her method can be summed up in five themes: Categories, En Masse, Joy, Habit, Gratitude.

Categories

All stuff can be grouped into one of five categories: clothing, books, papers, komono (other stuff) and mementos. Start with the easy categories first — clothing, books, papers — and then address the more challenging stuff. Things that are less personal and less unique are much easier to purge than things that are far more personal and quite unique.

En Masse

Pick a category and purge it all at once. With clothing, gather all of it and dump it all in one place. And go through it. Kondo does not support the gradual incremental approach to decluttering a home.

Joy

Handle each item. Literally. Take it into your hands and ask yourself if it brings you joy. If it does, keep it. Otherwise throw it out. This handling is based on intuition, not intellect. I view clothing as functional so I’m not sure if I would have an intuitive reaction to it. That said, I do like the Swiss. It brings me great joy whenever I wear it.

Habit

Once everything is purged, keep things tidy. If you are not adding stuff, tidying becomes more automatic. Assuming, of course, that you put things back in their proper place.

Gratitude

Be thankful for your space and for the items in your space that bring you joy.

Getting rid of clutter has been a life changing experience for me. Getting rid of a book collection that I had built up over 40 years was much easier than I thought it would be.

But what about my guitar collection?

Well, that is a bit different.

The guitars bring me joy whenever I touch them.

I’ll keep them.