Been living here in China for two years makes me possess stack of stuffs. As in just four weeks I’m finishing my study and going back to Indonesia, I find those stuffs give me headache. How could I bring all of them back to Indonesia? How to choose what to leave behind and what not?
Long time ago while I was surfing on Indonesian renowned author Dee Lestari’s blog, I found an article in which she is reviewing a book titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese author Marie Kondo. I got interested to read the article, as the title of the book is so intriguing. I mean, how magical it is that tidying up can change your life? Who writes a book about tidying up? And what is it that the great Dee Lestari looks for in that book?
Well, apparently, Lestari praises the book by stating the book is important to read, and she even provoked a book publisher’s CEO to have the book translated into Bahasa Indonesia.
Well, in my perspective, when a famous author gives a huge compliment about a certain book, it means that book must be one hell of a book! Moreover, that book maybe helpful for me to select things I am bringing back home.
So, I bought the e-book version of it days ago, I believe the author wouldn’t mind because buying paperback version is just going to add trouble for me.
Well… I am mesmerized on how Kondo describes her process of tidying up and especially on how she treats her stuffs as if they are humans who have feeling and need to be paid attention to, to be taken care with love.
“Clothes that have been shut up for half a year look wilted, as if they have been stifled. Instead, let in some light and air occasionally. Open the drawer and run your hands over the contents. Let them know you care and look forward to wearing them when they are next in season.”
“The socks and stockings stored in your drawer are essentially on holiday. They take a brutal beating in their daily work, trapped between your foot and your shoe, enduring pressure and friction to protect your precious feet. The time they spend in your drawer is their only chance to rest.”
“Picking up the pair of shoes I wore yesterday and left out in the entrance way, I say, “Thank you very much for your hard work,” and put them away in the shoe cupboard.”
I am actually not going to review the book, because I am just not good in doing so. But, I am going to tell you in what way the book influences me.
Kondo emphasizes that to store we need to discard first. Most of us might find ourselves tidying up for hours but to find our room to be in a mess again the next day. That’s because tidying up needs an effort to discard what’s no longer needed, not only arranging the stuffs so your room looks neat.
Problem occurs when we don’t know what to discard, especially when the stuffs have sentimental value in it. And I realize I’m too sensitive when it comes to emotionally-valued stuffs.
I just found out that I still have the key chain my first boyfriend gave me (it was from 2008), and I even bring it here to China! I mean if my current boyfriend knows about it, which after reading this post he does now, he will be likely to get the wrong idea. I don’t have any more feeling for the ex, it’s just the key chain is cute, and I just don’t want to throw it away. Or, yeah, let’s say the value the key chain has makes it hard for me to throw it away.
And in my drawer I found a lot of things that are actually not useful but all of them are presents from my friends here. So, all of them have sentimental value too. And does it mean that I have to bring them all back?
Kondo suggests her client to ask “Does this spark joy?” to things that they find it hard to let go. If your heart answers yes, then keep it; otherwise, if even when you touch them you feel no more spark, just let them go.
Then, I asked some of the stuffs, and my heart answered yes for all of those sentimental-valued stuffs. Nothing solved, yet.
“When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure.”
I myself find it hard to say goodbye to those gifts because I think I should appreciate my friends’ efforts of going out to buy me stuff or the money they spent by keeping the things they give me. But, some things are given out of its usefulness. Some things are given just to show the giver’s feeling for us, and as long as you have known what you mean to them and the deeper meaning behind the presents, it’s just fine.
“Presents are not “things” but a means for conveying someone’s feelings. When viewed from this perspective, you don’t need to feel guilty for parting with a gift. Just thank it for the joy it gave you when you first received it. Of course, it would be ideal if you could use it with joy. But surely the person who gave it to you doesn’t want you to use it out of a sense of obligation, or to put it away without using it, only to feel guilty every time you see it. When you discard or donate it, you do so for the sake of the giver, too.”
So, I don’t know if you have the same experience with me, but if you do, you might know exactly how I feel. Keeping those stuff will make my friends know how much I appreciate them, but those stuffs take too much spaces in my room.
I have come to a hard decision to donate those gifts that I am not using or wearing now. As what Kondo also underlines, not now means never.
I am not going to directly throw them to the trash can because I just cannot help doing it. So, I will find people who will be happy to take them and make a good use of them.