Clutter-clearing Obsession


Before clutter-clearing was even a thing (as it literally become something big about 2-3 years ago), I used to go through all my stuff once a year to throw out everything not used for the past year (pretty famous clearing technique).

Then last year, I came across the Marie Kondo technique and read her book cover-to-cover in literally one day. After letting the story brew for a bit, I started clearing one kind of item at a time, each day, for about 10 days (the Marie Kondo technique recommends doing it all in one day but 24 hours are not enough to cover all my stuff). The picture above illustrates what came to be the most painful day of all: sorting my books. I read for the most part in French and the majority of those books have crossed the ocean with me at some point (I bring about 10 books back every time I go to France), which seems to create a somewhat special bond: I carefully pick them, read them, at times twice, etc. It was the first time I went through my collection and this is where Ms. Kondo's method prove to be efficient: gather all the stuff you want to sort somewhere and go through it one by one, asking yourself if it brings joy to your life. And let me tell you: after going through the trouble of piling up about 150 books, the thought of having to place them all back onto a shelf helps getting rid of them as powerfully as asking yourself whether it sparks joy or not (I let 75% of them go that day).

What I personally find interesting is this recent obsession for clutter-clearing. As an expat, I quickly realized parting with stuff is not only a healthy habit but a necessity so I can move more freely. Besides, the real estate situation in New York City also requires to be sensible about how you utilize your space. 

But let's not make it such a big deal: like any society phenomenon, clutter-clearing came about as a counterpoint to documentaries about hoarders. But both are rather extreme: a middle ground can be absolutely fine and nobody needs to go through a massive clutter-clearing to be happy in his/her space. A minimalist, clutter-free, neat and clean interior is not for everyone. I know a lot of friends whose spaces are a bit messy, their kitchen counter always busy with a lot of food experiments, herbs growing and such and their space exhale happiness, freedom and are über-stylish.

So clutter-clear if you like, do not if you don't want to: let yourself be... Happy!