Life-changing magic? But what about my stuff?

drawing of a messy deskI recently finished reading Marie Kondo’s tiny phenomenon, the New York Times best-seller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” If you haven’t read it, it’s worth checking out. She’s a Japanese organizational consultant who gives advice on decluttering. Her theory, in a nutshell, is that unless an object sparks joy, then its time of service is completed and it should be released to its next chapter, whether that’s through selling, donating, recycling, or bidding a final farewell.

I love the principle of a perfectly tidy desk with nothing but my thoughts and the project at hand spread out before me. Problem is, I also really like this tacky flower a friend gave me from a restaurant dessert years ago, and that picture of the hubby and me from our vacation to Saint Simons, oh, and then there are those crystal birds I got in Ireland. And how could I forget the old school books that belonged to my ninety-something-year-old aunt; they’re vintage AND special.

So, I’m caught between the pull of tidyness and my packrat tendencies. I’m pretty sure those old textbooks on educational research and my very out-of-date books on PR don’t spark joy, but who can get rid of a book called “If no news, send rumors”? (Okay, I have NO idea what that book is about; I just got it for the title.)

Our house is filled with a lot of things, too. From Larry’s great-grandmother’s teapot to the clock my grandparents bought on their wedding day. If anyone thinks I’m getting rid of those things, they obviously don’t know me well.

The thing is — sparking joy is a personal thing. If that book title or heirloom item makes me smile, then it’s a keeper. Minimalist living is all the rage today, and I believe that as Americans we have way too much stuff. Larry and I went through our kitchen about a year ago and got rid of extra sets of dishes and glasses and whatnots. I’m happy knowing that someone is using them AND that they’re not going to come tumbling out on my head when I try to get a serving dish. But I don’t think I’m cut out for full-on minimalistic living — although I am open to a good decluttering spree from time to time.

What about you? Where do you stand on the minimalism/clutter continuum? Any great stories about decluttering or holding on to keepsakes?

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