Simply Obvious Yet Overlooked Life Lessons from a Decluttering Book

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I recently came up with a copy of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up authored by Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo [of the well-known KonMari method]. I know it’s a bit late to be talking about the KonMari method [I remembered it being the rave some three years back] but the little book [all in 5 chapters and 90 or so pages] was a good read and taught me quite a few things about decluttering I’m dying to try in my own house.

What I never thought I would get from the book was rediscovering these simply obvious life lessons that we tend to overlook for the “bigger guns”, the deeper philosophies in life.

Discard — that’s what you do to the unwanted things in your life.

Pushing those unwanted things in a dark corner away from our sight wouldn’t make them go away. At the end, they’ll only get cramped up it wouldn’t be a surprise if one day, they’d burst out the seam!

As with things, this lesson holds true to with how we handle our lives. If a relationship is toxic, cut it off.  If a past is holding you down, let it go. These are your “unwanted things”. Discard them.


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Better little with love than having more without.

Miss Kondo emphasized in her book how important it is for us to love the things that we have as it will bring us a sense of contentment. Having many things in our home but not really loving them means we’ll still want to have more leading us back to square one.

This lesson goes with our lives as well. Having a few that we love is fulfilling than accumulating a horde of things we’ll realize in the end that we don’t need or even like. Being surrounded with things that really matter and people you really love, no matter if they’re just a handful, is so much better and will make you happier than having a “full” life yet still feeling empty inside.


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Joy is a simple thing, don’t complicate it.

Miss Marie stressed out the need hold your things individually, get each one’s feel and ask yourself in the process if that thing incite joy in you or not. If yes, keep it. If no, discard it.

As I am a book lover, I tried this approach to my collection of paperbacks as an experiment if it could get me to part with the books I’ve read, loved and kept over the years. I’ve been meaning to discard some but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Surprisingly, it worked! More than half of my paperbacks are in boxes now ready to be donated/discarded.

I find the question “Does this spark joy?” universal and very appropriate to our lives. It’s a filter applicable to things beyond our stuff at home. It’s a fitting question to ask when we make important life choices. And when you do, believe what your intuition, what your heart answers you. Follow its lead.


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Having an end goal and visualizing it keeps you in track.

According to Kondo, you have to have visualized what you want your space/home to look like before you embark on a major clean-up. Knowing the end game gives purpose to what you’ll be doing.

The same principle should be applied in our lives. Many of us meander through our days without really having a purpose. Why are you taking up that course? Why are you on that career path? Why are you in this certain relationship? If you don’t have any real answers to these questions, maybe it’s time to take a step back and assess the things you’re doing in your life.

Learn to decide for yourself.

Kondo talked about how important it is to make the decisions about your belongings YOURSELF, not in light of what your loved ones like. The choice if that certain possession stays in your space/home must come from yourself and not from someone else. Don’t keep a clothing item just because others say it looks good on you, Kondo said. Keep it because it brings you joy.

This is the same with the decisions we make in our lives. We need to learn to decide for ourselves. Don’t make a life decision because it pleases others. Liberate yourself by making choices that bring joy to your life.

More than decluttering and tidying up, I believe the gist of Kondo’s book is WE NEED TO LIVE IN OUR NOW — not in the past and certainly not pining or worrying on what our future would bring.

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