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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Stuff and Joy

A person can accumulate a lot of stuff over a lifetime.  In preparation for moving, I'm spending a lot of time these days going through stuff, both at home and at work.  Among many reactions to the things I'm finding, two seem to come to the forefront.  

The first is - "Why in the world do I still have this?" The response to this is usually a quick heave into shredding, recycling, trash, yard sale, or donation pile.  Examples:  old college and seminary text books, cancelled checks (remember writing checks?), old bank statements, 3.5 floppy disks, photos of people I don't know, playbills, church bulletins, ticket stubs, and so much more.

The second reaction is - "Oh, I'm so glad I still have this!"  The response is usually to sit for a moment and remember someone or some place special in my life, then putting it aside to be packed.   Examples: just about anything my children created, family photos, little things that belonged to my parents, my great grandfather's pocket watch, things I will actually use, and not so much more.

The main difference between these two reactions is a question I learned to ask from reading a book about downsizing, Marie “KonMari” Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The simple question is: Does it bring me joy?

It's a good question for all of us to ask about much of life - Does it bring me joy?  


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