And voila! It’s June. I’m always shocked how quickly time passes- it feels like it’s just passing along slowly and then suddenly it’s another month later and so little was actually done- so much time was wasted.
At least, that’s how it feels.
I’ve been trying to find ways to live more slowly, in the moment and have a more meaningful life. I’ve been much happier lately however, it feels like most days revolve around clearing tables and countertops, washing dishes, doing laundry and folding clothes, cleaning and picking up- repetitive actions that that need to be done and don’t move me forwards anywhere. It always seems like there are so many “things” to deal with and to take care of.
Recently, I’ve been more seriously researching minimalism as a method of getting to that happier, yet productive slow life. Back when I was packing up in January I mentioned how clutter causes me a lot of stress– it makes me feel stifled and uninspired. Whenever I’ve had a big project or a test coming up, I would always feel compelled to clean the area completely beforehand otherwise I couldn’t focus. In the past few months I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts about it as well as read several books on being a “minimalist” and how to minimize as well as why. I recently finished Marie Kondo’s second book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, which seems to resonate most with me. While others talk about how objects are just things and you should focus your life on the people within your life (which I completely agree with), I like her approach to objects and choosing what to keep and what to get rid of. For Ms. Kondo, owning objects isn’t inherently bad- it’s having too many things that don’t truly bring you joy or happiness that’s bad. Having too many extra things in a sense cloud your feelings, joy and inspiration. I personally believe that objects absorb feelings and emotions within them- this is also one of the reasons why I love handmade objects over mass-produced, machine made ones. I love many of the things I own but in recent months, I’ve taken it more to heart that there are also many things that I own that don’t bring me joy or happiness- they just happen to be around taking up space and cluttering me.
Very simply described, the KonMari method involves organizing items by type and sorting through them based on whether or not they bring joy. Instead of seeing it from the viewpoint of getting rid of things, you are looking at it from the viewpoint of what you are keeping- what you love and what truly brings you joy.
There are 4 main categories, clothes, books/papers, komono (miscellaneous –which involves many sub-categories) and sentimental items. So far I’ve worked through the first two and have started the komono section. The most difficult things to decide whether to discard or not have been objects that were given to me by people I care about and objects that I used to care about (and sometimes spent quite a bit of money on, only to never use them or utilize them). I’ve been finding that guilt seems to be a strong factor in keeping items that I don’t care about.
Many years ago, a friend, who probably could have branded and written her own tidying book if she had wanted, told me not to keep things out of guilt. She explained that the item was given out of love and should be respected and appreciated as such, however that person wouldn’t want you to be stressed or unhappy because of it so let it go and move on.
She was (and is) a very wise friend indeed. While it can still be difficult to do, I’m trying very hard to take her advice to heart when I come across “guilt” items.
With all this in mind, I want to start June by publicly announcing my goals for the month.
This Month’s Goals:
1. Write introduction and ingredients page for book proposal: I’ve had ideas for a cookbook I want to propose and my goal is to put together a complete proposal with detailed finished sections of parts of the book by the end of the summer.
2. Read 4 books: I used to read regularly in high school and college and then once I started working more, fell behind and stopped reading for the most part. As I love books, I want to start committing to reading more on a daily basis.
3. Finish “komono” items: As miscelaneious items are the largest category of things to sort through and organize (hello kitchen goods, art supplies, tools etc) I want to organize and finish by the end of the month.
4. Resume workout schedule: Towards the end of May I started to fall behind on my gym and workout times. While I’m skipping the gym sometimes it feels good- I do love relaxing at home in the evenings- I always find that by the end of the week or after a period of time I just don’t feel as good. I’d like to commit to my previous cardio and strength training again.
5. Post 2X/ Weekly: Of course I’d be negligent if I skipped out on posting here and committing to all of you! While I’ve been very slow in returning to a regular weekly pattern, I want to officially commit posting here 2 times a week.
This month I challenge you to think about what brings you joy and to set goals to help you get there and be happier! Please let me know your thoughts on minimalism, sparking joy and your goals in the comments!