Wellness includes how you feel as you function in everyday life. How you function greatly influences how well you are. How you handle your material belongings in your home and workspace influences all of this. Today’s post is devoted to introducing the topic of healthy relationship with your material belongings.
The developed world has an unhealthy relationship with stuff. Many of us have more than we need. Our collective patterns of consumption strain the environment. Our individual patterns of consumption strain our personal finances. Excessive objects clutter our spaces andmakes us miserable.
How can all this be stopped ? Two fairly recent books have addressed this challenge. The first was written by two friends of mine, Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. It is titled, “Everything that Remains”. I met these two fine fellows at TEDxWhitefish where they gave a beautiful and clever presentation on Minimalism, or the art of mindfully curating one’s things and one's life down to that which is necessary and desirable. You can access their work HERE:
and their TEDx HERE:
The second is a really trendy and fascinating set of books by a Japanese women named Marie Kondo. She has written The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up and its companion volume, Spark Joy. These books go into the concrete details of tidying up. However it is not done for its own sake. She makes it clear that it is to enhance quality of life and effectiveness in life. Ms. Kondo draws a clear connection from this tidying practice to clarity of mind and clarity of purpose. She speaks of improving relationships and clarifying life goals as by products of removing one’s clutter, and systematically determining which of one’s possessions “ spark’s joy”. Sparking joy is, in fact, her inclusion criteria. One should only keep an item if it “ sparks joy". Granted, joy is broadly defined to include traits like beauty or utility. She states quite plainly that curating and decluttering your space is a prerequisite to clarifying what is one’s own unique ideal lifestyle.
I am no minimalist. In fact I derive great joy from textiles, colors, and various materials. I continually acquire new books. But I have come to understand that I should go through my things periodically, and that if I do there will be things which I can let go. Thus the quality of my items increases as their quantity decreases.
I have also come to utilize alternatives to “ things” more often. In particular, I am a magazine addict. My office overflows with them. I do not like the piles, even though I derive great joy from the individual issues. My solution ? I have gotten an app called Textile. For a small subscription fee, I can get many of the magazines I want in digital form. Additionally, I consume more and more material by Kindle or Audible. There are still some things, like cookbooks, which I like to have in paper, but this is the case less and less.
I am interested in gaining mastery over my things so they are not master of me. I would like to edit and organize my things so they do not take up so much of my time. I am beginning to see time as a more tangible commodity. I am becoming more and more selective about how I spend this “ thing” called time. Your material possessions, you time, your lifestyle choices and your wellness are intimately related. Check out these two books, their insightful authors, and give a little more thought to how the space you inhabit influences the life you live.