Treating happiness like a destination is dangerous in today’s materialistic world. We feel an urge to buy things that we don’t need, thinking that it will make us happy. But the proof is in the pudding. Even some of world’s richest celebrities become victims to alcoholism and drugs. Money and possessions clearly don’t buy happiness.
One amazing eye-opening book I read when moving from my London flat over a year ago to a house in a small countryside-like village was organising consultant, Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. The premise of her book is whatever doesn’t bring you joy does not belong in your home. Keep only the things that bring you pure joy and you will enjoy your space and possessions more instead of having bursting cupboards and clutter lying around the house.
I decided to try it out. Four years of mess, all laid out and ready for the ‘does it bring me joy?’ test. It really was quite embarrassing how many things I had hoarded over the years. I only had a small two bedroom flat, yet somehow by the end of the process I had donated over twelve 60 litre bags of clothing. Some of them I had no recollection of buying and others had not been worn for several years.
Books were a difficulty. I love books. I’d have a library if I could. But in reality, which of the books would I ever likely read again? These got reduced down to select fantasy series and my books on psychology, meditation and mindfulness.
The worst part was sentimental clutter. I was one of those people who would keep every cinema ticket or even railway ticket to remember a good trip out. It was time to say goodbye. The memories live on in my head and heart and I didn’t need the drawerful of tickets that I only looked at when I was spring cleaning.
If home is where the heart is, I certainly think we should do more to keep our living space the most joyful it can be. Added benefits beyond the place being tidier is that mentally I felt freer. I felt released…liberated…from ‘needing’ so many things. A part of me now wonders – were they my possessions or was I their possession?
Of course, rubbish is still piling up after a year in the new house (albeit nowhere near the volume of before!). I can honestly say that I feel much better without all of those belongings. In fact, I seem now to be in favour of throwing things away! Now I am left with those things I really treasure. No matter where I look, I can immediately see things that bring me joy. I’m literally living in a house full of joy.
So, stop buying and start throwing!
You may be interested in:
Marie Condo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying on Amazon UK
And for those of you who really love throwing things away, I recommend watching Minimalism on Netflix UK.