The women in my local charity shop are getting to know my face. My name pops up on my city’s Freecycle page more than any other at present. I’ve discovered that I can part with books once I’ve read them. And I feel great about it.
Put another way, I’ve discovered how good it feels to de-clutter. Getting rid of something I don’t need creates space in my house and with less in my house I suddenly feel calmer and more relaxed. I literally get a little dopamine buzz every time I discard something and I know that it’s not just me.
What started me off was reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Japanese super-organiser, Marie Kondo. By tidying up she means discarding anything that you don’t really need or love and enjoying the mental and physical space that this brings. Once you start owning less, life can suddenly offer you more is Marie’s argument. I certainly enjoy seeing the things I don’t need disappear from my home. It also encourages me to evaluate new purchases more carefully before jumping in.
Others are going much further than Marie Kondo (the KonMari method). I’m currently enjoying the podcasts of The Minimalists, an American duo who advocate trimming away every non-necessity in your home and Japanese Fumio Sasaki lives with just four pairs of trousers, three tops and not much else in his Tokyo apartment.
With a husband, two children and two cats, it’s unlikely that I’ll be living such an austere life anytime soon. But for someone who’s never considered themselves a consumerist I have started to realise how many unnecessary belongings are in my home.
Like many people, books have always been important to me. Now however, I’m starting to realise that my books aren’t a statement of who I am. I can enjoy them and then pass them on to someone else.
Currently I’m at a stage where several bags leave my home each week destined for the charity shop. My house remains far from empty. Gradually I see what’s important from the things left behind. And it isn’t things which are important.

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