Mostly because I was tired of the fear of going thru the clutter in my living room (which also includes my study), I have started decluttering my living room this evening; I have not done a super-duper work yet. I just dusted two shelves of a bookcase, went thru each item there, dumped those that are absolutely not necessary, found some items (like USB keys) I keep buying as I need them big time (yay!), and torn down the used-up pages out of my notebooks – that is all (while the work I have done was little, it somehow felt good – see below).
Ironically, this area is a mess right now; with books, stationary items, and others sorted and put in different piles. Even though I do not like having such a disorganized view in my home and I do absolutely dislike having unfinished work once started, to my surprise I am not annoyed. I guess the reason is that I am glad that I started; I know that once started I will keep going. At least the fear of doing this activity is gone…. But more than these, I stopped after half-an-hour of cleaning and decluttering because I felt like I was not making good decisions.
Consider this example: I found 4-5 cards and their envelopes in a box on the shelf. They are in good condition, but looking at them does not bring me joy or excitement. Plus, I had completely forgotten their existence and as well may live without them. My dilemma is: what to do with them? Store for future use because now I am aware of their existence and as such can appreciate and make use of them in future, or dump or give away because I do not necessarily like them and I have not used them in the last, I do not know how many, years…
I pondered about it and I am glad to say that I now decided I would not like to keep them. So tomorrow, they will be in a different pile. Good job.
There are however other, more important decisions to be made: which books should I keep? This will give me quite a head-ache. I am clear about donating the novels, as once I read them I cannot re-read. But what about others? The books I have not read yet are also okay; I will prioritize them to read next time (it is actually exciting that I have books I have not read yet). But among those I read about history, science, personal development, and project management; which one of them should I keep? If I am not keeping books, how should I get rid of them? donate them to friends, library, or charity?
On a interesting twist, I dumped many cards sent to me by friends and colleagues. They were all nice-looking cards with good wishes in, yet they have been on my window trim for more than a year. It felt right to get rid of them, clean the area, and implement a change by placing a nice pot of plants. I am not sorry for this decision – change became that area and it feels good.
nevertheless, I have some lessons learnt from this afternoon’s experience:
1) although I have not read the book (but read many blogs about it), I seem to be embracing the Konmari way of decluttering (i.e. whatever does not give joy should go),
2) it may be scary or unpleasant to declutter a part of the house, but it eventually happens and feels good,
3) as usual decluttering activity helps with remembering the existence of our stuff, and bringing them out for use or donation (either way, it is good),
4) if you feel like you do not make good decisions, stop before you move on, give yourself time, and wait for the clarity that comes with the break, and
5) even for things that we love so much at the time being, there will be a time to replace them with something else (because we crave for change in the scenery).