If it doesn’t bring you joy, then get rid of it…

Lately, I guess you could say I’ve been spring cleaning. It’s been raining a lot and I haven’t really been motivated to do anything…including running.  I was listening to one of my podcasts recently that recommended a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  I didn’t read the book because after I heard a summary, I thought I could just do it myself.  Basically the gist of the book is if the item doesn’t bring you joy, then get rid of it.  Perfect. 

Joy,  this emotion actually reminds me of my mother.  If you ask her about how something makes her feel, 9 times out of 10 her answer is joy.  Even childbirth.  So it’s a little ironic that I also get my hoarding tendencies from her as well.  Or maybe we both just love to buy stuff and then get rid of it. For that feeling it brings us.  Joy.

The last few weekends, I’ve been going through various rooms in my house and getting rid of stuff.  Getting rid of stuff feels so freeing.  It’s helping me with the mid-winter blues.  That moment when I open a drawer and it has only what I need, only what I can see….it’s…it’s… almost orgasmic.  Ha ha 🙂 You get the idea.  Decluttering brings me joy. Makes me happy.

For the most part our house is pretty clean, clutter-free.  But if you were to open a drawer or a closet, you’d see what I’m talking about.  It’s my secret places that are filling up with crap.  Endless bags of make-up from ‘free gift time at Clinque’,  random candles that never have been burned, dozens of old nail polish, oodles of lotions that I will never use, the list goes on and on and on…

One by one, I’ve been opening up drawers and throwing stuff out without regard to how I got it.  Emotionless.  Asking myself, does this ____ bring me joy?  This morning, I was panicking because I couldn’t find my birth certificate.  I desperately need it coming up for something  and I was sure it was in my file cabinet.  The one drawer I have that can barely be opened because I’ve stuffed every important document in there for the last 16 years.  Documents from my first house I bought (in 2000),  college transcripts, medical documents from the last 5 years, tax returns since 2001, ancestry papers from my dog, Ursula, stuff from my dad’s estate, bank statements, even photos.  Every time I’ve opened this drawer I thought “Nope, not right now.  I can’t deal with it.”  But today was different I was on a mission.

I pulled everything out and went through every piece of paper.  I made a pile for trash, a pile for shredding, and a pile for keeps.  After a couple of hours or so, I felt like I had been on an emotional roller coaster from the last 16 years.  I still didn’t have my birth certificate but I had a much smaller pile of important documents.  I was beginning to feel that feeling…joy.  Now, you can open the drawer and it opens so smoothly.  Hmmm…I feel so much better.

By the way, I did find my birth certificate. My husband had it in his drawer with his.  I’ll elaborate in a few weeks why I needed it so badly but for now, just know that my file cabinet is clean.  Doesn’t that bring you joy, too?

Now…If only I can do this exercise with my closets…I have so many clothes and shoes.

 

2 thoughts on “If it doesn’t bring you joy, then get rid of it…

  1. Just saw this on another blog I follow regarding the book mentioned above.
    “It’s not a traditional career book, but I’m finding it very applicable in both my career and life. I’m personally always feeling bogged down and overwhelmed by all the things I have to do. This book is teaching me that by decluttering my physical things, I create more space for things that matter.
    Similarly, she has a lot of good nuggets of positive thinking advice about tidying up your mental state. By creating space in your physical life, you’re freeing up mental space to pursue the things you love and were made for!”

    Jena Viviano, Account Executive

    Like

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