Decisions, Decisions

A friend recently sent me the link to the New York Times Magazine article about Marie Kondo. Apparently she has created quite a stir in the professional organizing community in America (although I have to say I was shocked at the level of vitriol dripping off some of the quotes!). Her system certainly doesn't work for everyone.

But it worked for me. I talked about it quite a bit on this blog, so if you're interested you can read more here.

Perhaps the reason why is that she gave me a solid protocol for making decisions, which is clearly the hardest part of clearing out clutter. Every object presents a decision to be made and for me, someone who is always worried about doing the "right" thing (whatever that means), it was completely novel to consider what things in my life gave me joy. My hoarding was definitely rooted in anxiety and joy turned that fear on its head.

My clear out is long done and it was absolutely life-changing for me. If I hadn't done it I don't think I would have written a book last year. So why am I revisiting it now?

First, reading the article made me feel somewhat defensive of Kondo. And second, I still think about the process a lot, because on some days, I am definitely taking the clear out to the next level -- attempting to fearlessly choose the less-tangible things in life that give me joy.

I heard recently a very interesting quote on Gretchen Rubin's Happiness podcast. It went something like this: "Being an adult is learning to live with regret." Sounds a bit depressing, until you understand the meaning behind it. In life you always have to make decisions that will result in regret because you just can't do everything in life. I chose to move to another country and settled here, which often brings regret that I'm not closer to my family. But if I had stayed in the U.S., I would have regretted the lost adventure.

We are constantly making decisions in our everyday life. What to wear, what to eat, who to spend time with and what to do with our days. We not only choose the amount of possessions we own, but the number of commitments we make to ourselves and other people. And making decisions about all these things is not only tiring, but often scary. Once we choose one thing we have less time for another. Which potentially is why so many people suffer with too much literal and figurative clutter in their lives, torn in many directions. Even worse, this indecision might result in potentially never doing what we really want in life. (And as we are constantly reminded these days, life can be incredibly short.)

Focusing on doing the things that give me joy is helping me to make more confident decisions about nearly everything. I've always struggled with chronic procrastination and it's helping with that too. So for whatever the criticisms leveled at Kondo are -- and personally, I think some of it has to do with the little green monster -- I am still a massive fan.

Photo credit: You Choose Your Path via photopin (license)

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