I have read a couple of very interesting articles over the last few weeks, basically dealing with reducing our stuff. Before I begin, let me just point out that I am not a minimalist and certainly not an advocate of bare bland spaces which were the object of minimalism back in the 1980’s. Having said that, I love to get stuck into decluttering in my own home, I enjoy the actual work itself, and I relish the feeling of accomplishment afterwards, not to mention the pleasure of opening up the space. And I experience joy when working with my clients in their homes to help them create beautiful uncluttered environments, and to see them let go of the stress and tension that clutter and disorganisation can bring.

Let me tell you about these two articles. The first I read a few weeks ago, written by Clara Bensen, who told the tale of how she agreed to an idea put to her by her fairly new boyfriend who she had met via the internet: ‘let’s take a 3 week jaunt around Europe [they’re English so didn’t have far to travel] and not take any luggage at all – in other words, just the clothes we’re standing up in, and the few bare essentials that we can carry.’

Together with this incredibly brave idea, they took it to another level by not booking any accommodation in advance. On their return to London she said “Removing the focus on stuff left me keenly aware of all the magic unfolding in the moment” – and when she got home she halved the possessions in her apartment. The article [in February Marie Claire magazine] is fascinating, and I loved that she and Jeff are still taking their ‘no baggage’ trips, and are still really happy together some three years later.

The second article I read today in the April Next magazine, about a young Japanese woman I had already heard of – Marie Kondo – who has become famous in many countries since she wrote her first book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. Reading the article you really get to the essence of this delightful young wife and mother who has dedicated her life to ‘tidying up’, decluttering, and beautifully organising her possessions that ‘give her joy’. This is the basic precept of her teachings around honouring what you own, and only keeping what gives you joy. Marie suggests you take your possessions, starting with clothes, hold each item to the light and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?” If you do feel joy then the item is kept, and if not then it’s discarded.

Now I would love to think that all of my possessions give me joy, but I would have to admit that joy is not necessarily the word I would use in all cases. However, I certainly discard items easily and especially when it comes to my wardrobe; if I have put an item of clothing on and not felt right in it so taken it off again and if I have done this 3 or 4 times, then it goes! It doesn’t matter whether I’ve worn it once or had it in my wardrobe for a decade and it no longer gives me pleasure. I only want clothes in my wardrobe that I enjoy wearing and that make me feel good.

But what if we did use Marie’s idea around items ‘sparking joy’ within us – imagine the delight we would feel when handling that object, or putting on that outfit. And what about if you took on Clara and Jeff’s idea around travelling with no luggage… Wouldn’t that be interesting!

It’s worth thinking about. How would you be without your possessions? Who would you be? Our possessions don’t really define us, even though many of us think they do. What defines us, I believe, is who we are being within ourselves and with the people around us – are we being joyous, kind and generous, loving and fun?

If you do decide you’d like to pare down and let some things go, but don’t know where to start, I have a free report on my website entitled “Five Steps to Declutter Fast”, and if you would like some one-on-one help with the process please do contact me.

In the meantime, I wish you month ahead full of joy, love and laughter.

In Joy!

Angella Gilbert

P: 09 410 4166
M: 027 224 8937

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