For as long as I can remember, my mom has told me to de-clutter and that throwing things out will make me feel a million times better. You know the whole charade? You have to sit there and try on every piece of clothing you own so that you can donate all the stuff that just doesn’t fit anymore? I always hated doing it as a kid. As I got older though, I realized that my mom was right. I’ve noticed that when my closet and my desk are clean and clutter free, I generally feel like my life is in tip-top shape too!
Yet, I feel like the first time I had truly heard about de-cluttering bringing you happiness from someone other than my mother, was around the time when The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up made it’s presence known in mainstream culture. The book is two years old and people are STILL making jokes about this book in movies and TV shows! Yes, I own the book, don’t judge me. Essentially, the book reveals the KonMari Method of tidying up, getting through your life, category by category. You’re supposed to throw away all things that don’t give you joy. This method is not for the faint of heart. I’ll be honest, I don’t totally buy into the “throw out anything that doesn’t give you joy” philosophy. But reading this book has at the very least made me think a lot harder about the things I do choose to spend my money on and where they are going to fit into my home.
But beyond de-cluttering actually making me (and apparently a lot of other people) a lot happier, it’s also a lot better for our planet. I think the key to de-cluttering well is finding out what actually adds value or has purpose in your life. Since I love the documentary section of Netflix so much, naturally there are two documentaries I think you should check out that talk a bit more about living a lower impact life, especially when it comes to stuff.
The first is The True Cost.
True Cost is a documentary that takes a hard look at the fashion industry, specifically fast fashion. Fast fashion is all about designing and manufacturing clothing as quickly as possible and getting it to the consumer for rock bottom prices. Think Zara, H&M, and Forever 21. The film links all of this back to consumerism, capitalism, structural poverty, oppression, the environment, and globalization. It’s a harrowing look at how our choices in the West often have little regard for the global South. It completely changed how I approach shopping and has forced me to have a more critical lens when shopping for clothing. I now ask myself, do I really this instead of just picking up clothing because it’s cheap or trendy.
Minimalism largely spends its time following two guys who were finding themselves climbing the corporate ladder without really being happy. They both turned to minimalism in 2010 and have chronicled their journey through their website and books. The film also features some great cut aways. Some of these talk about applied minimalism (think tiny houses and capsule wardrobes / project 333) and the global impact of consumer culture. I’ll admit, the documentary isn’t my favourite documentary of all time. But, it’s a good crash course in what a minimalist lifestyle can look like.
BOTTOM LINE: When you de-clutter things, you also de-clutter your mind. When there is less STUFF around to get in your way, you can focus on the things that really matter, like your relationships or time with yourself. Importantly when things like KonMari methods and minimalism get thrown at people they get scared. Scared, because it seems too extreme or way too hard. I AGREE. Let’s make some small changes together and see where we end up? Sometimes taking things one day at a time is a heck of a lot easier (and realistic for us busy folks) than trying to make our lives take a 180 flip.
Over the next few days I’ll be coming up with some simple ways to de-clutter that can easily fit in my daily routine. Look out for a post in the new year for what I’ve found works and what doesn’t! Happy de-cluttering and Happy New Year 🙂
Featured image via Unsplash