The passivity of waiting for the ‘right’ house to come on the market has, quite frankly, been doing my head in, so I quickly realised I’d feel a whole lot better if we were taking positive action in other areas. Thus over the last week or so, we’ve been doing a second KonMari pass through the house and its contents, and all the ‘non-joy-sparkers’ are leaving the building. It’s amazing just how much has left the house despite us having maintained our KM mindset pretty well over the last couple of years. Having a small child means there are lots of things that get out grown so that’s been one source of discards (I find the Little Chap’s things the hardest to part with). Also just revisiting the things that made the cut the first time round and realising we’ve not used them, or they didn’t ‘spark joy’ after all has meant a further cull of certain categories. It’s felt GOOD!
It’s no secret that for us the KonMari method, just as the title of the book asserts, has been ‘life-changing’. The simple act of tuning in to decipher whether an object sparks joy or not, has been illuminating and transformative. BUT just the other day a friend and blogger steered me in the direction of another great touchstone. She recently invited me to join a Facebook group created for readers of the book ‘Goodbye, Things’ by Fumio Sasaki. A Japanese minimalist, he takes minimalism to a whole new level (too far for me personally) but my friend Maria posted a quote from the book, which I’ve not been able to stop thinking about…
“Things don’t just sit there. They send us silent messages. And the more the item has been neglected, the stronger its message will be.”
Ever since reading this I’ve found myself really listening to what our things / our house is saying and do you know what, Fumio’s bloody right. If you actually stop to ‘listen’ there is a cacophony going on. To give you an idea, here are just some of the messages I’ve been hearing:
Small composting bin in the kitchen: “Thanks for changing my bag but don’t just ignore that bit of onion skin stuck to some gak in the bottom, or that bit of bean-juice mould developing on the underside of my lid, that just lazy and a bit gross even if no-one else will see. Give me a wash and stick me in the sunshine to dry. You’ll feel much better if you do that.”
Our mop: “Yes I looked like a good design when you bought me but the reality is I flip over every time you mop with even a modicum of enthusiasm which drives you mad and makes you less inclined to mop the floor. Buy a better mop, the floor needs more mop time.”
Orange enamel coffee pot: “I’m a joy sparker. My orangeyness makes you feel happy and reminds you of birthday teas where your lovely mum served coffee from me. You’ve also discovered I look good holding a bunch of daffs. I’m a keeper.”
Black rubber pad from the bottom of my laptop: “All I needed was a small blob of superglue and I’d be back where I belong, rather than on your bedside table mumbling away EVERY TIME you looked in my direction. And see! Don’t you feel so much better now you’ve glued me back on and I’ve stopped nagging? It took less than a minute but I bugged you for way more than that over the weeks. You won’t leave it so long next time will you?!”
A chair I inherited from my mum: “You’re really only keeping me because your mum loved me, but we both know you don’t love me enough to take care of my prolapsed undercarriage nor dress me up in anything fancier than the dull green velvet(ish) fabric I’ve been wearing for the last 40 years. I also know your head has been turned by the Ikea Benarp chair in Skiftebo orange. Go get her, with my blessing. And hey, perhaps your brother will want me?? But, seriously it’s okay if he doesn’t. I’ll be fine. Really. No I will. Don’t feel bad about getting rid of something your mum loved. Sob.”
Assortment of vitamins and supplement bottles: “We just wanted to thank you for corralling us all into a plastic box the other day. We will now stop haranguing you each time you open the cupboard now that we’re not strewn all over the place. You won’t hear a further peep from us. Peace out.”
So you get the drift. It’s not about setting unrealistic expectations of ourselves to live in show homes (hahahahahaha ROFLs x a trazillion), the messages I’ve described come from my own standards, not anyone else’s. They want the best for me. It’s that same voice that tells me to go to the gym, it really has my best intentions at heart even if I don’t always want to hear it. What I’ve found without fail, is once I’ve heard the message and taken care of the item, it quietens down completely and there’s a greater sense of peace. I highly recommend it. It’s also fine to hear the message but decide you don’t want to take care of it right now; by listening and deciding it becomes a conscious choice rather than an avoidance, which again brings its own sense of peace.
So have a listen, and find out what your house is saying to you. I’d love to hear.