If you've heard of Marie Kondo and her KonMari method, the concept of consciously de-cluttering should sound familiar to you. KonMari is a de-cluttering method that is focused on asking yourself if the item you are holding "sparks joy"; further, she emphasizes the importance of thanking your item before discarding or donating. This requires circumventing all the typical excuses we often use to keep items we don't truly love. Will you really ever wear that sweater your aunt gave you that just isn't your style? Are you really going to need those craft supplies that have sat untouched for over a year? When we bargain and give into these excuses, we end up holding onto a lot of stuff that can literally weigh us down.
By consciously de-cluttering, we focus on the present moment. Get rid of the guilt associated with having bought items you never used, and instead use it to learn more about what you do use, wear, and enjoy. It all starts with taking a note from Queen Ari, and showing gratitude towards our belongings so we can learn from the past and move forward.
1. Make space for more happiness in your life
When we get rid of the things that are holding us back, we make more room for things that do bring us joy. It's important to be mindful and not just go out and replace half your closet that you just de-cluttered only to do it again 6 months later, so being conscious and noticing what things you chose to get rid of is essential. Take notes - are there particular styles or colors that are no longer your style? Did you get rid of a ton of fiction books you know you'll never have the time to read? Keep this in mind the next time you have the urge to buy and replace.
2. Practice self-compassion and reduce feelings of guilt
Saying "thank u, next" to our discarded items helps prevent us from feeling guilty about the money spent or the fact that the item went unused for so long. If a particularly expensive item is difficult to donate, see if you can re-sell on an app like Poshmark or Depop and make some money back. By showing gratitude for the things that no longer fit in our lives, we show ourselves compassion by taking the time to discover what we do want to make more room for.
3. Increase your self-awareness and learn from the past
Rather than just donating clothes that don't fit anymore or books that have been collecting dust for years, honestly assessing how much joy your items bring you helps you become more aware of your spending and collecting habits. Maybe you notice that you are donating a bunch of clothes you bought on a retail therapy shopping spree, are giving away clothes that no longer fit but you're convinced might one day, or have been holding onto clothes that your "ideal" self would wear. When we identify how our habits and patterns have contributed to our cluttered space, we can see more clearly who our authentic self is.
Taking the time to do this process can be emotionally taxing, so take breaks and be gentle with yourself!