Here is a quote – The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.
How much do we need, actually? For most of us, the answer to this question is quite simple: A lot less than what we possess. We generally do not realize this because we live in organized chaos, in a world full of storerooms and cupboards. If you empty out your cupboards and boxes and begin counting all your possessions one by one, you will be surprised to find that you can’t even count all your possessions in one day. In fact, it might take you about a week to achieve that feat.
If we can’t even properly count what we possess, how will we be able to use it? Most of us already have what we need. The main question here is – why have we accumulated so much stuff? You won’t get the answer just by looking at the pile of things that you call your possessions. You will have to approach all your objects one by one and pose this question to them – why are you here?
Question your belongings
In her bestselling book on decluttering, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Japanese author Marie Kondo detailed why it is so important to talk to your belongings5. It is an utterly insane idea to treat objects like people on a regular basis, but doing that occasionally might help you understand more about both the object and yourself. By talking to the objects you own, you will be able to find your motives in buying those objects.
Are you easily influenced by advertisements? Did you overestimate your needs? Did you forget to dispose of expired products? Holding on to too many items related to your past, like old books, clothes, etc., might mean that you are not letting go of your past. Questioning too many objects like that might make you feel tired and confused. But don’t give up. This is the storm before the silence. Once you successfully go through this process, you will experience an unprecedented transformation.
Keep what you need, part with the rest
The subconscious mind plays a vital role in all our day-to-day decisions. For example, if you have a book in your closet that you think you will be reading only in the distant future, it would be a better option to give away or sell that book. In the guise of the thought of postponement, your subconscious mind is probably telling you that the book is too boring or complex and that you don’t really want to read it.
You should keep only two types of items – either those that are of immediate use or those that bring instant joy to you. You can keep a painting on the wall that inspires you or calms you down whenever you look at it. But if the same painting has been lying in your cupboard for years, let it go. Give up everything about which you think, ‘I might need it someday’ or ‘What if there is an emergency?’ Sell it, donate it, or just throw it away. If you have conflicted thoughts about something, it is better to part with it. This type of attitude will prove to be highly conducive to your peace of mind.
Visualize how you want your home to be
The last step here is to visualize. Doing the above process faithfully will leave you with plenty of free space. Don’t think about filling it right away as it will ‘re-clutter’ your house. Let it stay like that for some time. Soon, you will begin feeling that your house isn’t empty, that it is, in fact, tidy. Once you have a blank canvas in front of your eyes, you can think about how you want to paint it.
Try to imagine what your ideal dwelling place would be like. The items that are left after decluttering will help you immensely in meditating on the type of person you are, and on your actual likes and dislikes. Stay with that feeling. Make a list of what you want, and go to the market. Before buying any object, look at it carefully. Ponder upon it. Would it fit in the new overall scheme of your house? Think twice before buying anything.
Depending upon how your house is beginning to look now, you can repeat the initial process by taking out a few items that don’t fit in with the overall scheme every day. This will make you feel that you are moving towards your ideal home, and more importantly, towards your ideal life. Don’t break the routine. Give 10-15 minutes to this process every day. You will be astounded to find how helpful this process of self-discovery is. There’s no better motivation than living in a house that constantly reminds you of who you really are.