Less is more. Focus on the essentials. Get rid of anything superfluous. These simple phrases sound like categorical, genuine imperatives. But these are not just words, they are also, above all, real ‘how-tos’ representing one of the latest and most popular trends: decluttering.
What is it all about? Tidying up is a healthy practice, which, more than any other, brings great – or even immense – satisfaction to those who do it.It goes without saying that tidying up our house, bringing new life to rooms cluttered with stuff and making space provides an immediate practical advantage. But let’s not forget that, in reality, there are also many psychological implications: the clean space we have created is a reflection of a form of “self-cleansing”. As if getting rid of things that we no longer need could help us let go of our daily anxieties and frustrations: quite a nice result, don’t you think?
The so-called “decluttering” trend has started to attract public attention thanks to a delightful handbook by Marie Kondo, the Japanese author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (which was published in 2014 and is already a bestseller). In practice, decluttering involves reorganising our living space, which is stripped of unnecessary frills and can literally “breathe” again. The result? A clearer house that is always tidy, as well as the priceless satisfaction of having conquered the trend that has been all the rage for years (especially) in the West: consumerism, the urge to have more and more things, and compulsive shopping. The author of the book generously provides a series (and indeed very organised!) of anti-chaos advice: according to her theory, tidying up spaces is just a trick to tidy up our life, and this is 100% confirmed by practice. Be warned: if you happen to have Kondo’s book, do not take it for one of those manuals teaching us how to be a good housekeeper, which were very much in vogue also here in Italy a few decades ago. No. Quite the contrary. This book must not be underestimated. It can be useful to everyone from housewives (not necessarily desperate ones) to managers seeking good advice on how to clear their mind and find the clarity they need to organise spaces in their increasingly overcrowded lives. There are those who believe that “returning to simplicity is the real revolution”, those who “go for the essentials only, the rest is junk” and those who believe “less is better.” We are all trying to improve our lifestyle. The common goal when deciding to make some space is perhaps to find time again: time for ourselves, for our passions and hobbies: time for creative idleness that we need to recharge ourselves so that we can be ready to take on daily activities with more energy.
Nowadays, decluttering, i.e. removing clutter, has become a fad in itself and is one of the major trends of 2018. Of course, there are gurus. In addition to Marie Kondo’s Japanese wisdom, the Internet is teeming with bloggers and YouTubers teaching us how to get rid of unnecessary things forever with practical, and apparently very easy, tutorials. Knowing how to find our way among this multitude of advisers is quite a complex task but once we have identified the goal we want to achieve, we have found the key to the problem. At this stage, the watchword is: method. Tidying up our house can even be a pleasant diversion; it all depends on how we approach it! First of all, we should ask ourselves the basic question on the philosophy of decluttering: “does this object really make me happy?”. The – honest – answer will guide our work: once we get past the “I might need it sooner or later” phase, we can get on with it to achieve our goal. Memories and sentimental value are just around the corner, but there is no need to systematically ignore them: we simply have to know how to choose with a clear mind, and even the-pen-holder-left-in-a-corner-but-so-cute will no longer be a priority.
Decluttering must be taken seriously: you have to believe in it for it to really work. It is not a matter of “throwing everything away”, but reorganising things, a method that only works if applied properly.
Will power and patience: you can do it!