Thursday, 17 December 2015

Back to Basics... a Minimalist Attempt Part 1 - time to say goodbye to a particular book

I am so fed up of clutter... be it physical, spiritual or mental. I have resolved once and for all that I want to live the way I want to (obviously with my family in mind as the centre for my choices) regardless of how weird it seems to others, as long as I am happy. That word happy proves elusive most of the time mostly due to a mountain-load of commitments that I can't simply get rid of (no extras here... just basic housework, mummy work, work-work and the rest of the whole list of things that I unfortunately can't reduce any further and still remains like this huge monster that takes up all my time).

A few months ago I bought a book that promised to provide the trick to a massive declutter that lasts a lifetime. Though I was skeptical, reviews were good and I bought The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. Whilst I do not believe that Kondo mentioned anywhere in her book anything about being a minimalist, her tips proved better than any others I've ever read anywhere, including sites by famous minimalists, at making space in life for all that one loves whilst clearing out all that one does not.

Marie Kondo's first and most important tip is simple and yet it encompasses so much in that one phrase... it asks you to pick up each item and think of whether it 'sparks joy' in your life. Now with other methods and during other massive clean-outs, I have learnt to deal also with my library of books and they have dwindled down to only those that I love or plan on reading. After my first attempt at a book clear-out using the KonMari method (as the author herself calls it) I thought that as she said, I would never have to declutter my library again. However my first attempt at dealing with all in my life by her book's rules and standards fell short when I gave up for a lot of reasons put together. However it did work miracles on my wardrobe I must say. As a result, this time round I do not need to start once again from my wardrobe as I once again brace myself to declutter using this method. As she'd promised - my wardrobe has always since remained perfectly functional and loveable. The reason is that now I automatically know when it's time to let something go out of it and onto the charity pile (or the garbage bag at times!)

So as per Marie Kondo's order of tackling stuff... next after clothes came 'books' and I challenged myself to go through my shelves once more. It's funny how one book that I bought ages ago and always held a place in my heart, one which I've read many times and even listed in an article as a fantastic fiction work, does not any longer bring me any joy. I held it in my hands (the KonMari method asks that you empty shelves onto the floor and then pick up your personal items one by one and 'feeling' whether it sparks any joy). As I looked at my copy of a book I've referred to others time and again, I saw only the brown spots of age on the edges of the papers, its spine looked too thick to be allowed space on my limited furniture space any longer and I realised that I would never again read through it with the anticipation it once held. I had exhausted my use for it. It does not mean I will ever forget the story but that is one reason why I have now let it go... in my mind and in my heart is the tale of Maddie Godard, her horror-filled story and how she finds peace and ultimately love in the least likely of places. Rereading gave me not only the pleasure of looking for the hints strewn around of what is to come later in the book but also helped me as a writer of fiction to examine how a well-made story might be put together as well as how and why the chosen words worked best. I do not any longer require the physical book in order to appreciate all that the story taught me, even as far as life lessons go. So I knew it was time to let it go.

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