The Joy of Less

I listened to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and read Spark Joy. Marie Kondo’s books are popular for a reason. Her system works. Lots of reviews comment on the anthropomorphication of your stuff. She suggests touching everything and saying thank you before tossing it. You’re in or you’re out.

If treating your things like beings isn’t your thing, you might enjoy The Joy of Less by Francine Jay. The concepts are similar. The key for organizing seems to be knowing what you have in the first place. You need to take everything completely out of their current spaces, sort through similar things, then put them back.

I bought the audiobook of The Joy of Less and put it on in the background while de-cluttering. (My girlfriend and I just moved to a new apartment.) Maybe I don’t need that 500GB external hard drive from ten years ago that’s been broken for seven of those years.

In any case, here are some tips that stuck with me.

  • Gather all similar things, then sort: Grab all your books from wherever they are. In my case they were in three or four different places. Putting them all together made it clear that I didn’t need those 2011 JavaScript books.
  • GTD-like sorting, everything gets a category: You label every single item with next actions (keep, toss, or donate) or put it in a someday/maybe (a box that you throw away in 6 months).
  • Take pictures of sentimental things, then toss: Your friends won’t care that you threw away their save the date card. Especially when they just celebrated their 2nd anniversary.
  • Your things are worth way less than you imagine: For proof, take some stuff to your favorite local we’ll-buy-your-stuff place. For me, it’s Book-Off. Whether it’s a Star Wars novel or that guitar I didn’t learn to play, they just seem to roll a 6-sided die in the back to determine how much to pay you.

Lately I’ve been reading /r/simpleliving. The minimalism sub is more about minimalist design. This seems to infuriate simpleliving members who consider themselves minimalists. They think it’s hilarious to fetishize “minimalist” furniture that costs thousands of dollars. They’d rather live in a cabin with no electronics. Or have their own farm.

I’ve seen that Narcos episode. Farms are hard work. Nobody living on a farm has time to make fun of minimalists.

I actually do like the simpleliving sub. There’s good content about being happy with what you have. Content-content, if you will. (You won’t, I know.) I just got irked by a thread with a bunch of people calling a minimalist YouTuber not a true minimalist, just someone cashing on a fad by… getting rid of a lot of her material things. Other members defended her, though, so hope isn’t lost.

Actually, just go to organization sub. If you like what you see, you’ll also probably like The Joy of Less.