Updated: Jun 2
中文版 ▶ 斷捨離後的改變：除了生活，還有我的思考方式
Since I moved to Australia in 2018, the unpacking and organizing process seems no end, no matter how hard I tried, my clothes just couldn’t fit into my closet. There was a lot of stuff, it’s like everywhere and this is so overwhelming.
While I was wondering how to solve my problems, by chance I googled and know the term of “Professional Organizer” for the first time, and it is the first time I know that there is a career to teach and help people to organize, so I bought a lot of books related to “organizing” and it wasn’t until I read “The life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, I realized the “true” meaning of organizing.
I remembered how I organized before I read Marie Kondo’s book, I thought putting all the things in order and make it very neat is “organizing”, I never thought about to “throw away” things, like my clothes or anything. Although I never wore before or just wore once, what I thought was that it will be a waste if I throw it away, it will be a waste of money. But I never thought that left your clothes in the closet and can’t even wear it’s also a waste, a waste of space.
I do have some clothes which were too small for me, I can’t even wear it, but I keep it anyway, I was thinking that maybe one day I will lose my weight and then I will be able to fit in it, and you know what, that day never came, I never thought there will be a problem with the way how I organize.
My experience of “DECLUTTERING”
Therefore, I decided to “declutter”.
I started with my clothes, just like Marie Kondo said in her book, clothes are the first sequence of decluttering, so I put all my clothes on my bed and started to declutter as below steps:
1. I picked clothes that I will never wear again in my future or the one that I bought, but I never wore, which means I didn’t think thoroughly when I bought it.
2. Then, I picked clothes that I can wear, but it’s not suitable for me right now. For example, maternity jeans, maternity shorts or maternity clothes. I used to breastfeed, but I didn’t lose my weight, and I think these clothes are comfy, but I know I can’t do this anymore, if I don’t get rid of these maternity clothes, I will never lose my weight.
3. Lastly, I took every clothes on my hand and thought about whether it makes me “spark joy” or not.
After organizing my clothes, the next one would be books and papers. I realized that I didn’t get rid of most of the books because I was thinking that one day perhaps my kids will need these books (I haven’t read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo at that time), for example, English to Chinese dictionary. But now I know that the chances my kids will be using a dictionary is super low, everything is electronic now, they are using iPad to do learning activities now, and even if they do need a dictionary, it’s pretty handy to use the internet as well. So, I throw away the dictionary.
Am I satisfy with my current situation?
To be honest, NO…
Because I read another book called “Goodbye, things: on minimalist living” by Fumio Sasaki, I can’t imagine how a person who used to live in a full of clutter environment and transformed to become a “minimalist”.
My ideal lifestyle is that I can live in an environment surrounded with things that makes me spark joy, but on the other hand, I admire Fumio Sasaki’s lifestyle as a minimalist, maybe I was too tired to clean up as a mother of two, as Fumio Sasaki said if there are ornaments in the house, the cleaning steps will increase, the steps of cleaning would be just two steps, vacuum and mop the floor, but it became more steps with the ornaments, the steps would be: take the ornaments away, then vacuum and then mop the floor, the last step is putting back the ornaments, and maybe dust off the ornaments. See how complicated and troublesome it is with ornament in your house!
The less items you have in your home, the simpler the housework.
What I am yearning for is the idea as a minimalist like Fumio Sasaki, it’s a bit like a feeling of being nothing.
Therefore, I decided to start my simple life, although I feel it might be a little bit difficult, no one is born to know everything, we learn everything and so as decluttering (danshari). And I’m learning by baby steps, I’m changing my life slowly. As Fumio Sasaki said in his book: “As long as we consistently decluttering every day, we’ll know more about how to declutter our things.” By all means, you will get to know yourself better.
Discarding is a technique.
You might think that you have already tried your best to organized your home, but it still looked very messy, the problem might be that you haven’t decluttered enough. What does that mean? It means that the declutter process wasn’t enough, you probably still keep a lot of unused or useless things, am I right? (I’m talking about myself.)
You know these clothes are too small for you, but you just can’t throw them away! That skirt spark joys me! (The fact is that it’s too small for me.) I like that coat! (I never wear it before, but it’s a gift from my mom.)
I like this pink jacket as well! (I wore it once, but never wear it outside, because I look fat in it.)
So, I re-examine my wardrobe, and re-think the actual function for each item and clothes, what was the reason I bought it in the first place? And why I never use it or wear it? Thus, I get rid of the coat my mom gave me and the jacket which I barely wore, and also the pink jacket!
As for that skirt, I didn’t throw away, so I started to lose my weight, and this skirt became my motivation to lose weight!
My thought before and after decluttering
Although I haven’t reached the ideal life which I wanted to achieve, my thoughts have changed.
1. Big House versus Small House Fumio Sasaki said that everyone wants to live in a big house, but not for their comfort, it’s to have enough space for their clutter. What Fumio Sasaki describes that “clutter” is a “NEET “who stays home all day long and didn’t do any housework (household chores), but increase the burden of family member and housework.
[Before] I used to think that I need to live in a big house so that all my stuff can fit in and I need a lot of storage spaces as well, which means there will be a lot of drawers. I didn’t think I have a lot of clutter before, and I think it’s pretty normal to have a room for storage in the house. And this is exactly what Fumio Sasaki said that people live in a big house to have enough space to store their clutters…
[Now] Now I think it’s not necessary to live in a big house, large space takes more time to clean, so I’m keen to live in a smaller house which makes cleaning more efficient and simple (a lazy mom’s thought). The bigger the house is the higher expenses.
2. Need versus Want
[Before] I used to buy things base on the price if I can afford it and if I like it, I’ll buy it, even if I may don’t need it.
[Now] Now I will think twice before I buy something, I will ask myself do I need this? Do I have something similar at home? Do I really need this? I’ve found that I shop less!
3. A present versus A meal
[Before] Although I’m not a person who celebrates birthdays or accept presents from friends, I usually have lunch or dinner with my friends on their birthdays or my birthday. But it’s different in Australia, as the culture is so different between Taiwan and Australia, it’s not easy to say no to accept a birthday present from others and not to give a birthday present to others as well. When we receive a present, it’s very normal that we return the favour by giving present back, especially there are a lot of kids’ birthday parties and Christmas and so on.
[Now] Instead of accepting gifts from other that I don’t like it or no use for me, I don’t accept gifts from others now, I told my sister not to buy any birthday present for me, instead, I’d rather that she can have a meal with me, spend time with me is more important. I will tell my best friends not to buy birthday presents for me or my kids. Although I know that culturally it’s very difficult for them to come without a present, so I decided not having birthday parties for my kids, which my kids agreed as well. (not having a party doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate, we still celebrate kids’ birthdays, but just family gathering and having quality time together.)
4. Wet toilet wipes versus Electronic Bidet Toilet Seats
[Before] I used to use wet toilet wipes, I know how convenient is it, but when we buy it, we always bought a whole box for it, it’s quite an expense in a long term, but I live well before the wet toilet wipes even invented. I used to bring at least two packs of it when I was on business travel, I was so insecure without them.
[Now] So I get rid of the habit of using wet toilet wipes, to be honest, it was really difficult at first, but now I’m okay without them. I don’t need to worry about forgetting to bring it when I travel or rush to buy it, I feel good that I am no longer kidnapped by wet toilet wipes!
5. Stock up versus Supermarket is my warehouse
[Before] Like I said before, I used to think to have a warehouse (storeroom) in the house is very normal, so I had a habit to stock up all the supplies we use, not buying it when we ran out of it, but I will buy it whenever it has a special price. As you can see that my habit of stock up our daily necessities fill our inventory faster than we use it.
[Now] Now I will buy our daily supplies when we nearly ran out of it, I won’t store excess inventory at home, because the supermarket is my warehouse.
I want to start “decluttering”, how do I do it?
1. Have determination Firstly, you need to have a determination for decluttering, if you don’t have it, you’ll give up very easily.
2. Imagine your ideal home and lifestyle Please imagine and have a picture of your ideal home in and lifestyle in your head, this will help you when you are decluttering and, on the way to organizing. If it’s possible, I will suggest you search for some photos of your ideal home on the internet and print it out. Stick these photos on your wall or inside your closet, wherever suits you, as long as you can see it every day.
3. The order for decluttering If you’re renting, you can start your decluttering by “rooms”, start it from your bedroom, then the public area, for example, living room or dining room. If you own your house, then I’ll strongly suggest decluttering by using Marie Kondo’s method, that is in this order: clothes, bags, shoes, papers, document, small things and last the souvenirs.
4. The questions to ask yourself when decluttering Please ask yourself below questions when you’re decluttering, ● When this item is broken or no longer able to use or missing, will I spend the same amount of money to buy this item again? ● If I’m moving to a new place next week, will I take this item with me? ● If you have another chance, will you still buy the same item?
5. When you want to give up in the middle of your decluttering process,
it will be very frustrating and exhausting when decluttering, please remember the outcome and the ideal life or home that you have dreamed of, that you always wanted for a long time, look at the photos on your wall or inside your closet, you are already in your journey to your ideal life.
When I discard clutters, I felt pleasant and relief, when organizing your things is also sorting out your life, I know that I am in control of my life, because I know how many items do I have, where exactly these items are located, and it feels great!
Decluttering is a practice and it needs constant practice. Don’t ask yourself to achieve the ultimate and become a declutter master in one day, but accumulating bit by bit every day, it will help you gradually move towards a simple life. And during the process of decluttering and organizing, you will know your life direction clearer, when you are in control of each item you possess, you are also mastering your life!
Let’s do it and make it happen towards a simple and greater life together.
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