If you’re looking for a way to cut through the clutter and create space for increased intentionality in your life, you’ve probably read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. With Kondo’s method, you take all your possessions and touch each one, and decide which objects bring you joy. The ones that don’t bring you joy get thrown out. Well, I’ve found a better, more efficient way to clear out the junk and get down to the business of living my best life: I got rid of all of Greg’s possessions that didn’t bring me joy. And let me tell you, I’ve never been happier.
Greg is my boyfriend of seven years. We live together and have no immediate plans to get married, because we’re not like that, says Greg. Greg also has a lot of stuff, and last week I got rid of a whole bunch of it while he was visiting his brother in Philly. And I have to say, I haven’t felt this light and free for years! For example, while I can objectively see that Greg has a lot of good-quality coffee mugs, almost none of those mugs bring me any joy, because most of them are from a college that I didn’t go to. So I threw almost all of them out. I had to leave him one coffee mug, of course, so I chose the one that brought me the most joy: the one with the owl riding a bicycle on it.
After this small victory, I was hooked.
I threw away a bunch of Greg’s old ratty sweatshirts, a bunch of his CDs, his ancient pillows, and about 20 pairs of his athletic socks. I also threw away two hats his ex-girlfriend Marcia knitted him, which he had refused to throw away himself “because they were nice hats.” Well, in fact, they are not the best hats, and they definitely never brought me any joy, and so they’re gone now, and so is the feeling of having an anvil sitting on my chest whenever I see those hats. Progress!
All in all, I threw out about eight boxes worth of Greg’s stuff, and the apartment looks great! I can’t wait to see what Greg says when he gets home from Philly!
Maybe someday I will get around to getting rid of my own things that don’t bring me joy, but then again, maybe not. After all, those are my things. It’s so much better to get rid of someone else’s stuff!
And so while I understand where Kondo was coming from when she wrote that book, I think she missed the mark a bit. Everybody has a Greg in his or her life. And every Greg has some things that could be donated to Goodwill later this afternoon. So what are you waiting for? Oh right, for that person to leave the house so you can start throwing away his or her things. That makes perfect sense. But as soon as they leave, all bets are off. Get your boxes ready, folks, and get ready to live a new life free of other people’s stuff that doesn’t bring you joy! I highly recommend it!