I did it! I am officially decluttered and surrounded by joy. I still haveIMG_4178
one or two things to take care of, namely the in-depth reading of old journals and letters, and the transferring of a few VHS tapes onto my computer using this handy dandy device (get one; they rock) —>

My overall place, however? I LOVE IT!

A quick recap for those who missed my prior posts: I started this project in May, which has entailed decluttering using the Konmari Method spelled out in, “The Life-Changing Method of Tidying up.” In it, author Marie Kondo suggests discarding items based solely on one criterion: whether or not they bring you joy.

First step involved clothing, followed by books, then papers, and eventually junk drawers and miscellaneous items. This past weekend I completed the most challenging category: all things sentimental (pictures, souvenirs, etc.).  Left until the end, this portion is theorized to be much easier once the rest of your place is brimming with joy, and it’s true! You don’t want anything around by this point that doesn’t do it for you.

IMG_4177Think about your photographs, for example. You know how you flip through an album (for those of us who still own such things), and on every fifth one or so you stop and smile? Ditch the four scenery pics you took somewhere that escapes your memory, and keep only the smile inducing one. I scaled down three entire albums, and the stray pics that were stuffed in a large box full of nonsense are now neatly tucked into one small container. I threw out a lot, and I’ll never miss the ones that went. All of my pics now make me smile.

I also got rid of a lot of greeting cards. I tended to keep most of them over IMG_4190the years, but think about it. Do I really need 20 cards from my Grandpa? No. I need one. Again, I still have letters to read, but they’re now scaled down to one small container, too, and some night I’ll read each one by a roaring fire. Handy for those that will no doubt beg to be incinerated.

I must admit, something I found I’ve missed during this process is the written word. I get IMG_4134emails from my mother and friends now, and I do save a lot of them in specially marked folders, but I loved the days when a long, newsy letter would arrive from home full of hometown clippings, recipes and IMG_4152updates on family milestones. And who could even consider ditching their official Sonny and Cher Fan Club acceptance letter? Not this girl. Smile inducing.

I’ve learned a lot about myself through this process, and trust me – this is not the first time I’ve de-cluttered. Those who know me know that I purge a minimum of once a year, but this truly is as “life-changing” as touted. The author swears that once you’ve done this, you’ll never revert to your old ways, and I believe it. Every closet and drawer that I started with six months ago remains joyously unchanged. Now when I walk in my door, I feel peaceful and happy. I look around my place and a sense of serenity envelopes me. I don’t just have a room to go to when I want to get away from it all; I have an entire home. And it feels like a “home” now instead of just an apartment to store stuff in and get some sleep. It’s my joyous space, and my creativity has ramped up significantly as a result.

IMG_1940I strongly recommend buying this book and taking on this project for yourself. It’s the ultimate catharsis that literally takes you from burdened to enlightened. You’ll weed through what you’ve hidden your joy behind and find your most authentic expression of self.

Can “things” really have that level of effect on us? You betcha.

If you make one resolution for 2016, resolve to surround yourself with nothing but joy. You’ll be amazed at who emerges in the end.