How many of you are familiar with the name Marie Kondo? Perhaps you’ve read one of her books or recently been watching her TV show Tidying Up?!
Well, it’s a collective consensus here at Suitcase Rummage HQ and we are fans of Marie. Usually any kind of ‘reality’ television pushes me a little too far into the land of frustration and I find myself quietly screaming “But why? Whyyyyy?”. Generally not coping with the heightened levels of obnoxiousness, ego and privilege and I find myself thinking… I could be spending my time doing something else much more pleasing and worthwhile. And while there certainly are some of those moments during Tidying Up (for sure!), I think I can appreciate a little more the connection to objects, memories and stories. Perhaps it’s because I can relate more closely with the people and homes featured in Marie Kondo’s show, than those on Survivor or I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
But, I digress! What I enjoy about Marie Kondo is her philosophy. It’s not really about minimalism for me (probably because as much as I would love to live with less, it’s just not in my genes!). But I do appreciate her mantra of only keeping things “which spark joy” and the ritual gratification placed on objects as we decide to keep or discard. It can also be satisfying to know that an item I have kept in my home for years, does still bring me joy. That to me is a good thing – it’s a sign that I choose items carefully and intentionally. The process of discarding objects though, is certainly sparking much conversation around the globe as we are faced with the consequences of our consumerism and waste.
While Marie has great practical tips about tidying, keeping things neat and organised – and for someone who is at a second hand market almost once a fortnight, you can imagine how many things I bring home from a rummage, right?! Organisation is pretty key, but so is self talk…
The recent resurgence of Marie and her words of wisdom, I think is a great and timely reminder to kick start 2019 with a fresh perspective and outlook. Perhaps it’s less about minimalism and more about keeping mindful? For the majority of us, we all have “stuff”. We have families, house mates, partners, beach bags, camping gear, walking shoes, wedding shoes, “comfy” shoes, and at least one box that is hidden in a wardrobe somewhere. We’re a society and community of collectors. We’re also a society and community of consumers. I think what we can work on is our ability to differentiate the two – and focus on understanding that ‘need’ and hunger to consume. We need to get better at asking ourselves the hard questions. “Does it bring me joy?” may be of one of those questions during a closet clean out. But, I think we need to be asking ourselves more and more, “Do I need this? Do I need something new? Do I have something I can already use?”
As Albert Santos (writer for the SBS) put it, “in a world devoted to endless consumption and mass consumerism, what can be better than taking a moment or two to actually appreciate what we have?”
One of the most important things to point out here; while spring cleaning and re organising is a great and noble task – all of that stuff you no longer want to keep, now has to find another home somewhere. And, we really don’t want that to be land fill. There has been in the past, a misguided and ignorant bliss to dropping off garbage bags of old clothes to the local charity store – or perhaps even putting things straight in the bin. We need to be more mindful than ever of the life span of the things we choose to bring into our homes, and we need to take responsibility for them. We can no longer continue to contribute to this wasteful and disposable, throw away society. We need to appreciate what we already have (for the emotional connection, the sentimentality, the memories) and also, for the practical reasons. Can you use what you have already? Can you appreciate what you have and make use of it?
There are so many alternatives and donations and land fill really should be the last option on your list. Re-use, re-purpose, mend – and think twice before you make your next purchase (whatever that may be).