Decluttering clarifies our intentions and eliminates distractions. Decluttering is getting rid of the excess, and simplifying our lives by simplifying our spaces.
So we’ve decided to simplify our homes and our lives by reducing our belongings and letting go of things that are not serving us. But once we get going on this task, we realize that it’s not always so clearcut when deciding what to keep and what to release.
Keep things that spark joy in your heart
Many decluttering and organizing books recommend keeping only things that we really LOVE; the things that spark joy in our hearts and make us feel great.
If it only makes you feel so-so, let it go!
The trouble is that there are also plenty of things that we need to use every day that don’t necessarily give us a thrill of delight. I’m talking about those very functional things like towels, cutlery, socks, scissors, pencils, etc. These are the little things that we use all of the time, but take for granted.
However, each one of those things serves a purpose. If one of those items went missing, we would have a complication and a need to cope with the new situation. For example, say you all of the sudden had no towels. Sure, I suppose you could use your bedding to dry off, or your other clothes, but it would be the opposite of joyful. Without cutlery I suppose you could figure something out, depending on what you were eating. Some cultures don’t normally use cutlery and simply grab small handfuls of food, or use pitas as spoons. These examples show that of course, we could do without basically anything, but those items we use daily actually make our lives easier. They may not make us consciously feel a spark of joy every day, but if we take a little time to appreciate how much those things are helping us, maybe we would find some joy.
The funny part is that some of those things I listed (towels, cutlery, socks, scissors, pencils, etc.) are some of the things I actually remember to love often. I actively appreciate and am grateful for those items. My cutlery was not expensive, but the design is very simple and pleasing to me. That’s why I chose it in the first place. I really love my cutlery. My socks are almost all handmade by me. Each one is a small work of art and a labour of love. It takes about 2 weeks of knitting in the evenings to create a pair. I love my socks. My scissors are also amazing and remarkably cool. You see what I’m saying here. You can choose to only keep the things that you feel are both functional and awesome. Everyday items can spark joy, but rather than using the words ‘spark joy’, maybe it’s simply about being appreciative and aware of your gratitude. Without socks, your feet may get very cold. So you see, your socks can make you feel happy, not only a lack of unhappiness.
Remember the Abundance side of Abundant Minimalism
Once you make a commitment to living a minimalist lifestyle, you can allow yourself the luxury of only buying higher quality items. Rather than filling your space with ugly or barely functional stuff, you keep only the stuff you really love because it’s the best. When the few items you have kept are supremely well made and awesomely functional, it makes appreciating the little things in life so much easier. So if you have more functional items than you actually need, base your decision on keeping only the very best of the best; let go of the rest.
You don’t have to love everything all of the time
It’s about cultivating mindfulness and appreciation for the things that help you most. You don’t need to force yourself to find joy in every little item you possess. If you feel that certain items are necessary for you right now, that means they are making you happy, or at least satisfied in some way. We want to keep not only the items that impress or inspire us, but also the things we need that may not necessarily spark joy in the exuberant sense of a Christmas morning, but in more of a quiet contented way.
Keep what you need, use, and enjoy, then let go of the rest
Definitely get rid of anything that you actively dislike or that makes you feel bad in any way. Keep things that would make you feel upset or inconvenienced if they were suddenly gone. Best of all, remember to appreciate the great stuff in your life… especially the things that aren’t even things… like having the free time and energy to work on making your life better; like going for a nice long walk in the sunshine, like enjoying time with loved ones.
What do you think about the idea of things that “spark joy”? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.