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The Curse Of Too Much Stuff, Or Looking For What ‘Sparks Joy’

Last week I said I was in the midst of an ‘enforced KonMari’, and that situation has not changed. I’m frantically getting rid of anything that I don’t need, as I’ll be damned if I pack up and move anything that I don’t need to. In fact, yesterday I went to the tip and heaved an entire wardrobe away, which was deeply satisfying. What I’m saying is, I’m getting rid of anything that I just can’t think about wanting to take with me.

The funny thing is, I’ve actually just finished reading both of Marie Kondo’s books, The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, and Spark Joy. They’re both really interesting books as they do delve into why we gather all the things we do, and why we cling onto them even when they’re not doing us any good.

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I’ve been very guilty of buying things just for the sake of buying them. As a kid, I would be taken shopping many weekends, and the trip wasn’t considered a success unless we’d bought something ‘good’. I equated getting new stuff as ‘love’ in my mind, and so as an adult I was basically chasing that high. I bought all kinds of stuff that I would never use or wear, just so I’d have something to bring home. The amount of times I came home and thought, ‘I don’t even like this!’, was far too high.

I’m still guilty of doing this. I’m a fiend for stationary, and just today I nipped to Poundland to grab some cleaning supplies. Even though I didn’t need to, I wandered down the stationary aisle and saw that they were selling marble patterned washi tape. It was six rolls of tape for a pound! I grabbed it, even though I already have a box full of washi tapes. I have a problem.

I also am a toy collector, and so of course I’ve got plenty of items taking up space in my home. I have to be careful with them, as it’s so easy to pick up every toy that catches my eye and then I quickly run out of room. I’ve had to restrict myself to buying toys only once a year, at UK PonyCon. To be fair, it’s where I’ve picked up some of my best toys, and I can look them over rather than using the photos on the eBay listing, so it’s much better.

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As a whole, humanity feels as though the more stuff we have, the better off we are. Are we, though? I’ve noticed that the less stuff I have, the better I feel. I had the British Heart Foundation in my house the other day, taking away some old furniture. It was so great to see that empty space where the furniture used to be. That was one less thing to deal with, one less thing to clean.

Marie Kondo recommends only keeping things that ‘spark joy’, and she’s right on that score. Why would you keep anything if it doesn’t keep you happy? Why would you keep it around, just taking up both physical and mental space? It sounds ridiculous when you put it like that, but we all do it.We hang onto things ‘just in case’. We hang onto photos because we think we should, even if we feel bad when we look at them. Instead, we should happily pitch those things out, and only keep the things that create happiness when we look at them.

Gotta be honest, pitching that wardrobe into a skip made me happy. It didn’t half make a satisfying CRUNCH when it hit the bottom of it…

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