‘Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day’ – Henri J. M. Nouwen
Today I am discussing minimalism once again. My friend and hardcore minimalist Deb, sent me an article based on the teachings of Japanese Professional Organiser, Marie Kondo. In Marie’s book ‘The Life Changing Method of Tidying Up’, she uses a simple method (called KonMari) that requires asking yourself one honest question regarding all of your possessions:
DOES IT BRING YOU JOY?
This basic technique has the ability to make the scores of items you have accumulated over the years seem small and pointless. Because they are. Stuff is just stuff but as Marie states, ‘we do not hold onto things but rather the emotional attachment to those things.’ The idea here is that unless a particular item brings you joy, you should toss it or donate it.
You may find that it isn’t that simple and the blunt concept was certainly something I struggled with initially as well. However, the more I thought about my latest purchase and whether it brought me joy, all I was left with was silence, because it didn’t…
Experiences, nature, friends, family, love, animals, music, reading, writing, creativity…these are the things that give us joy and so much purpose. As I delve deeper into minimalism, I’ve been thinking about my upcoming birthday and gifts that can be put to good use rather than just becoming dusty on my shelf. The main thing that comes to mind are consumables, e.g. yummy vegan food hampers, bath products (as this is my favourite way to relax and WILL be used) and vouchers that don’t buy physical objects such as massages, facials, movie tickets etc… Another wonderful gift idea and the one that is my favourite is putting money towards animal charities. In particular, Edgar’s Mission Animal Sanctuary, which I love with all of my heart. Last year, Francis bought me a yearly sponsorship for ‘Boots’ the goat and the money went towards his vet bills and overall well-being. My sponsorship will expire next month and I cannot wait to begin another yearly commitment to a new beautiful farm animal. I am honestly more than happy to continue receiving gifts like these during special occasions. It is apparent to me now that I’m becoming less and less interested in material items as the majority of them don’t bring me joy. I have my necessities and that is all I need.
Mine and Francis’s anniversary always falls a week before my birthday. Because we share a joint account and I no longer care for random things, we have decided to put our money towards spending 3 days at a vegan bed and breakfast in country Victoria. We actually did this last year at another bed and breakfast so it’s fast becoming a tradition. I am so looking forward to our little getaway next month, getting to eat delicious plant-based foods and hiking through nature. Ideas like these are always worthy of the investment and they will leave you with happy memories minus the clutter.
It’s important to note that just because all of my clothes don’t necessarily bring me joy; doesn’t mean I am going to throw all of them out. I have done two significant culls in the last month but obviously I need clothes to wear and function in day-to-day life. What it does mean moving forward is, that I will no longer attach emotions to tangible items and therefore they will have no hold over me. If I buy clothes, it will be out of pure necessity not desire. I want to appreciate what I already own and make conscious choices based on something more than just ‘I’m bored’ or ‘I have money to burn.’ When you address your spending in this manner, it is much easier to walk away from a mindless purchase that you wouldn’t have thought twice about before.
I hope you find this short post inspiring. I am certainly excited to live this way from now on and immerse myself in the immaterial rather than the material like I used to. Ultimately, what brings us joy are the moments, the people and the places. If our houses were on fire, we would hardly think of saving the latest pair of shoes we bought. When we die, we don’t want to be remembered for our epic handbag collection but rather how we made people feel. At our darkest moments, our possessions don’t comfort us; our support system does. It’s all about perspective and that all encompassing question: does it bring you joy?
Peace & Love xoxo
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