Lately I've been reading a book called Goodbye, Things. It's similar to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, in that it's another of these Japanese minimalist culture books encouraging people to get rid of all their things. It's a little more extreme than Life-Changing Magic in some ways, and a little easier to follow in others.
In Life-Changing Magic, the author encourages you to get rid of anything that doesn't give you joy. This means taking every thing you own in your hands over the course of six months or so, and seeing if you feel joy associated with it. If not, get rid of it.
I don't know about you, but I get overwhelmed super quickly when I try this. Before long, everything give me a strange mix of joy-not-joy that I can't feel my way through. Which is why I like certain aspects to Goodbye, Things, even if his overall approach is more extreme.
In Goodbye, Things, the author has a list of tips to help you get rid of your things. What I like is that his approach is pretty well customizable, whether you want to get rid of all your things or just most of them.
I don't want to live as extreme a minimalist life as he does -- I like my family heirlooms, my antiques, and my collections, thank you very much -- but I do want to cut down on the clutter and the feeling like I've got too much stuff I don't really want. In that sense, I find his tips super useful.
For instance, he suggests starting with the easy stuff. Start with throwing away trash -- jars you've been saving, clothing or linens that have become torn or damaged -- and other things you won't miss, such as duplicates. He also suggests getting rid of things one thing at a time (ironically, the original purpose of this blog) so that you can start small and get used to the feeling of getting rid of stuff. He says that getting rid of things is a habit and you have to build the habit by starting small.
I like these suggestions and I think they'll be helpful for me. I currently have a box upstairs and a box downstairs that I've been throwing things into for the thrift store as I run across them. After reading a little of the book tonight, I added several more things. In some cases, they are things I've been looking at for weeks or months, thinking, "I should get rid of that." So now, finally, I am.
Tonight I added a souvenir bear, a slightly chewed up towel (compliments of my dog when she was a puppy), and a reusable bag (I have plenty and it's not substantial enough for groceries). I'm sure I'll add more soon. My project right now is cleaning up my house, so I'll be going through a lot in the coming days and weeks!