“More, more, more,” whispers a little devil in your ear. Your tablet is out of date. Don’t worry, upgrade it, but do it fast before the next generation hits the shelves. Your shoes are dirty. You could wash them? Or you could buy those new ones you saw in your newsfeed, and if you’re going to buy new shoes, you’ll need new jeans. You’ll need a bigger place to fit everything in. No problem, just take out another mortgage. We live in a world where we’re constantly told that having more things means a better life, but the truth is, it’s quite the opposite. We buy these things to make us happy but they end up making us unhappy, creating an unhealthy need for material possessions while cluttering up our personal space and mental clarity.
Marie Kondo, Japanese organizing consultant and best selling author of “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering and Organising” is paid large sums of money by her clients to help them ‘de-clutter’ their lives. The process, known as the KonMari method, involves gathering all of one’s belongings, organised by category - first clothes, then books, then miscellaneous items and finally photographs which hold the most sentimental value – and removing the unnecessary. She advocates only keeping items that in her words “spark joy in your heart”. The rest gets tossed. The select items that remain are placed carefully so they can be viewed and accessed with ease.
Kondo is part of a growing worldwide movement that are working to simplify our lives by removing unnecessary “stuff” in order to focus on what’s important. This movement has largely been fueled by excessive consumerism, which has caused tremendous stress and anxiety in the vain search for retail therapy.
This minimalist approach to consumerism has extended to areas such as housing, calling for smaller living spaces, which means more financial security and a smaller environmental footprint. A company called Getaway – Millennial Housing Lab, based in the US, offers its clients the opportunity to rent out ‘tiny houses’ on beautiful rural land, for those looking to escape the digital grind and test out ‘tiny-living’.
Others simply prefer to not ‘own’ and instead join the “sharing economy,” using services like Airbnb and Uber, which keeps one more mobile.
The more unnecessary stuff we can remove from our lives the more clear we become in our thoughts, and the more we value the things that we do own. We can appreciate all the things and people that support us, while allowing enough space for personal reflection and growth.
So while you may not be able to afford Marie Kondo’s services, you can adopt a “less is more” more philosophy free of charge. Start by drinking a can of Tranquini which will give you the clarity you need to identify those things in life that are worth keeping.