Recently discussing a quote, attributed to Einstein: “if a cluttered work space is a sign of a cluttered mind, what of an empty workspace?”… Rather amusing if you ask me!
It’s a bit of a no-brainer that a clutter-free life equals a clutter-free mind.
But still, many of us choose to ignore this, and we clog up our bookshelves, cupboards and lives with things that ‘might come in handy’ or stuff we’ll get rid of ‘at some point’.
Marie Kondo’s cult book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying has whipped many people into shape, inspiring us to clear out and tidy up.
But even Marie Kondo has a guru, and the Japanese expert was initially inspired by Nagisa Tatsumi’s The Art of Discarding (Hodder and Stoughton, £12.99), a book that sparked a de-cluttering revolution.
Nearly two decades after its original publication, it has finally been translated into English, and the message is just as relevant now as it was then, as Tasumi urges us to reflect on our attitude to possessing things and to have the courage to get rid of all the stuff we really don’t need.
We round up some of her best advice. Bin-bags at the ready…
Don’t say ‘it’s a waste’
Never use this excuse not to throw something away. “It’s very simple: keep things you use and discard those you don’t”, Tatsumi writes. “Things are given life by being used. Keeping something because it would be a waste to get rid of it is a kind of torture.”
Don’t keep things ‘for now’
We’ve all said ‘let’s just keep it for now’ or ‘we’ll hang on to it for the time being’ but, as Tatsumi reminds us, it’s likely nothing will change so there’s no point in postponing the decision. We often hold onto slightly damaged items like a teacup with a fine crack, a pen that doesn’t write very well or a blouse with a small stain. Tatsumi says: “Things that are kept ‘for now’ are in a kind of limbo, held back on the brink of becoming rubbish. ‘For the time being’, ‘for now’ are just ways of escaping the act of disposal.”
Remember that nothing is sacred
Although it might seem harsh, Tatsumi says that when we die, all the stuff we’ve accumulated will be considered rubbish. She says, “If you were to die right now in a traffic accident, that album you’ve kept so carefully will be thrown away. Your books will be bought up as a job lot by a second-hand bookshop. Wouldn’t it be better to clear things out instead and enjoy a clutter-free life while you can?”
Stop worrying that you’ll get rid of something you shouldn’t
The biggest thing that holds us back from chucking things out is the fear that we’ll regret it. Tatsumi encourages us to think of the worst case scenario; yes, chucking out a book that ended up being worth a lot of money is annoying, but it’s hardly the end of the world. Yes, throwing away a slip of paper with someone’s address on might cause difficulties, but you can surely find it some other way. She says, “if something seems like a candidate for disposal, you’re very rarely going to have a real problem if you go ahead and get rid of it.”
Discard when you exceed a certain amount
Tatsumi encourages us to set limits – once your possessions exceed that capacity, get rid of anything that isn’t required. This can mean throwing things out when they exceed a certain space, for example clothes in a wardrobe or pens in a cup on your desk. Instead of getting new storage solutions, just get rid. It can also mean that you set an exact number for how many of a certain thing you need, for example, bath towels, mugs and kitchen utensils. Every time you get something new, another thing has to go.
Via, by: Arielle Tchripout