Saying Goodbye to Things

In my books and articles, I write a lot about organizing your home and life. But there is usually more to getting ‘organized’ than just finding a place for everything. There is decluttering.

It’s been my experience that the ‘skill’ of collecting too much stuff has many different origins. I have talked to farmers who wouldn’t dream of throwing away a left-over nut, bolt, piece of steel, wire, or lumber. They know that something will eventually break, and it’ll probably be needed. Besides, it’s a long drive to town. Other people might associate their feelings about a person or event with a related object. Still yet, some just have a lot of unfinished business (see prior post Help for Household Stress – Steps For Today®). Whatever the cause, just the mention of decluttering can evoke anxiety in most. And, therefore, is something we often avoid.

In the book Goodbye Things by Fumio Sasaki, Japan’s most famous minimalist takes you through his personal journey to a life with more focus on living and less focus on things.  It’s an interesting read as he learns more about himself with each step in the process. Here are a few steps from his book:

1. Discarding takes skill. Like all skills, you have to start somewhere. Do something simple at first. Start small and work your way up to larger items. Try just adding one additional small item to the trash and then immediately taking it all out to the bin.

2. If you can’t remember how many gifts you’ve given, don’t worry about things you’ve gotten. We’re often concerned that throwing out a gift that we no longer use will offend the giver. But wouldn’t you, as a giver, prefer for that the gift no outlast its usefulness?

3. Things bring more things. When we buy new things, we often get caught up in all of the accessories. For example, a couch can lead to matching chairs, rugs, curtains, etc.

4. Getting rid of things frees you from the stress of keeping up with the Jones’. He writes that we spend too much thought, time, and treasure on trying to keep up with everyone else. And that letting this go is a feeling of great relief.

Sasaki has many more reasons for getting rid of things. Some might say he takes it to the extreme. But he believes having less things, gives him a greater ability to focus on, and appreciate, the events of his life.

One thing that Sasaki doesn’t really address, is the passing of ‘heirlooms’. I don’t know why people wait until they are no longer able to participate, to take this opportunity to give a wanted gift. It can be a great experience. See my next post for ways to make this happen.

Thanks for reading.
Please like and share with those who are struggling with these issues.
And remember to take the next step.

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