I’ve learned quite a bit over the last few months, and have talked about many of those lessons through multiple posts now. Though I’m not entirely done with the Great Tidy-My-Life Project, this will likely be my last KonMari post**, and for it, I want to address some of the additional things I’ve learned along the journey so far.
1. Happiness needs to be a bigger factor in all the parts of my life. This project helped me to quit a career path I hated, and start the process of moving in a direction I love. I’m not there yet, but it’s a start.
2. Happiness is as important, if not more so, than functionality. I grew up poor, with a heavy emphasis on the cheap and functional, with no excess waste. Choose the cheapest functional items and use them until they cannot be used longer, even if you don’t like an item or using it becomes inconvenient. This is why I kept using an old, discolored purse with fraying seams and missing zipper pulls; lotion that didn’t smell/feel good; and coffee mugs that were cracked or too small.
But you know what? I’m more likely to use lotion, makeup, or lip balm if it’s the right scent, texture, and/or color for me. And it’s okay to dispose of and replace worn/damaged things, even if I could get more use from them. It’s okay to combine happiness with the functional. I can spend a few more cents to buy Dixie cups with a design I like instead of the plain versions, just as it’s always been worth it to me to spend extra on things that are important to me (pillows, notebooks, journals, etc). And so I have.
3. It’s wonderful to have joy all around me, but this does not mean replacing everything, nor does it mean doing all replacements immediately. I’ve always been a bit of a minimalist, and if I seriously got rid of everything that didn’t spark joy, I’d be in trouble! I’d have 2-3 outfits, no socks, no dining room chairs, no purse, no TV, no bookshelves, no bedsheets or hot pads or kitchen knives… There are some things I’d love to replace, and will, slowly over time, as we get the money for it, and as I find joy-sparking replacements. No point in replacing them before finding what does bring me joy! Instead, I’m making a list of replacements for the future.
4. It’s wonderful to experience life with so much more around me that makes me happy, yes. I never imagined just looking around my bathroom would bring me joy with every shampoo bottle, lipstick, and lotion. Awesome. At the same time, I’ve realized it’s okay to have some purely-functional items around. My TV, for instance, will never bring me joy. I love having it, and using it, but just seeing the physical object does nothing for me – and no TV ever will. Some items are just like that. Medicine bottles. Filed tax returns. The lawn mower. Tape and staples and USB flash drives. And that’s okay. These functional things help to highlight all the joy, and also, it’s kinda fun to see if I can turn some functionals into joy-things. Like Dixie cups or Kleenex boxes and cloth-wraps for my iced coffee mason jars. Ha!
5. I love coffee mugs and I don’t care if I have way more than I actually need! Bring on the coffee-mug-joy!!
6. Looking at my bookshelves makes me sad. I was a bit ruthless with my book-culling, and while I don’t regret specifics, I know I didn’t KonMari the way I ought to have. I made head-decisions, not heart-decisions, probably because I knew I can be a little too attached to books-in-general. (As noted at that link, I based decisions not on whether a book brought me joy, but whether it brought me joy and I still needed a physical copy. Oops.) Some decisions, I rectified before it was too late, like keeping my original battered mismatching copies of Harry Potter rather than the newer, prettier, matching copies that I’ve never even opened. But I don’t like my current bare, wilted shelves. I hope to someday soon replace the shelving units themselves with a larger, brighter wall-o-shelves, and to slowly acquire plenty more bundles of book-joy to fill in these vast, vast, vast empty spaces.
That’s about it. As I said, I’m not entirely done with the KonMari process. I’m still learning about joy, still crawling out from old habits and fears. But these last two months have taught me tons, and I know these lessons will stay with me for a very long time.
**Actually there might be one more post, as I’m going through the whole process again in a truncated way, but there might not be one more, because I don’t yet know if I’ll find/do enough a second time around to fill an entire post. This is a “just in case” clause. Ha!