Possesions and Joy

Originally a best-seller in Japan, the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has a uniquely un-American way of looking at our relationship to our things. Most of us, including me, are plagued by a situation of excess things: Too many books, clothes, utensils, lawnmowers, camping gear, too big of homes, second cars, etc.

One idea about stuff had always stuck with me: "You think you own your things but after you get too much, your things own you."

Ms. Kondo takes the ideas around possessions even further. She starts out a system to reduce the clutter and negative effects of the things we own.

My favorite idea in the book is evaluating each object you own not by its utility, but how it makes you feel. Ms. Kondo asks you to handle each possession and ask, "Does this give me joy?" If it does not, then one should discard it.

Also, pretty mind-blowing for me was the idea that the box(es) of mementos that each of us keep should be discarded except for just a handful of things. Not certain I'm ready for that, but perhaps someday.

Michael Girdley