Oct 27, 2016

What I No Longer Need

I like a clean house.  Our surroundings have an impact on our brains: clear your space, clear your mind.  In a recent bid to live within my means and not in excess, I've taken to removing things — clutter, so to speak — from my surroundings.  I want to live my life with a more minimalist approach, to separate my wants from my needs.

I picked up Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up since it seemed in line with my thinking.  Mind you, I'm just barely through the first chapter, but I already love Kondo's philosophy: When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.  How one tidies, or doesn't, is presented as a manifest of one's mentality and I'm inclined to agree.
I have always taken immense pleasure in throwing things out, imagining a clean slate, and free space.  Despite this, I am a bit of a hoarder and emotional pack rat.  I think this is due to materialism, sentimentalism, and an unwillingness to let go.  My cosmetics collection is a tactile example: I keep makeup items because they were expensive, luxury, packaged nicely, etc.  Over time, this costs more than my initial investment.  It devolves into bad spending habits and retail therapy.  You wanna know the kicker?  Makeup expires.  So I began to throw things away.  If I didn't use it, I had to lose it, no matter how luxurious or expensive it was.  I turned to my closet as well, and packed up bags of clothing that I deposited at Goodwill.  Farewell and good riddance!

At some point, my physical tidying began to translate to my personal life.  There is a great value in knowing when something is past its expiration date.  How many of us remain in unhealthy friendships and relationships because "we've known each other forever"?  Or spent time with people out of obligation, despite how emotional draining it was?  In business, pouring money into a project with no returns is termed a bad investment.  How is spending time with people who we don't feel good around any different?  Which brings me to a platform we've all used to "keep in touch" with others: Facebook.

I've kept my Facebook account deactivated for the past year except for short spurts to "catch up." Inevitably, this would devolve into gossip-fests with friends, creeping, and the comparison game.  It became a platform that nucleated negativity while draining my energy.  I never felt better after I used it.  I won't blame Facebook; I take personal responsibility for how I engaged with it.  I decided if I wasn't going to use it productively, I wasn't going to use it at all.  Last month, I permanently deleted my account and it felt freeing to do so.  All those people I wanted to keep in touch with?  Well, it's nice to have real conversations now through other means. 

Once I remove things from my life, I find that I'm not sorry to see them go.  Truth is, if I don't miss something when it's gone, did I ever need it in the first place?  I don't miss that expensive lipstick I never used.  I don't miss gossiping about people's status updates.  Decluttering my physical and mental space is helping me see what actually matters.  The money I would've wasted on makeup can be put towards debt or plane tickets to see family.  Letting go of the safety net of a quantity of people gives me energy to focus on genuine, wonderful friends who inspire me to be better.  In short, I am learning to be happier with less because what I keep with me are things of importance.

I'm not sure of what the conclusion to Kondo's decluttering method will be, but I've arrived at one on my own: When I get rid of what I no longer need, I create space for greater things.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your post Alyse. I was nodding along and could relate to everything you mentioned! I feel so much better when my home is not cluttered and I have don't have overwhelming amount of 'stuff' too. I hate buying things for the sake of it and actually like giving things away more. I've focused on spending my time and money on experiences and travel :)

    I agree with you on Facebook and social media, I deleted my FB years ago and don't miss it at all. A simple thing I find is to unfollow anyone that doesn't bring you joy, life is already complicated so having a simple online life makes things easier :)

    Hanh | Hanhabelle

  2. I love this post. It's a little bit like the kick up the backside I needed to get my space sorted, so I only have things around me I truly treasure and that enrich my life rather than clutter it. Beautifully written with an important message.

    Bethany || babbleswithbeth.blogspot.co.uk

  3. This post is enlightening. I'm also struggling with inability to let go of some pieces that has sentimental value for me, even if I know I won't be needing it anymore. I used to had stash of makeups that I bought/used when I was living in Japan, and it took me around a year since I no longer use them to threw them away. I was antsy about it at first but it surprised me how actually it didn't affect me at all. A little bit sad, sure, but it makes me happier with less clutter in my makeup stash. Thanks for sharing this :)

    Selene Addicted

  4. Wonderful post and definitely agree with all that you have said! It is so freeing to detach yourself from things, and it makes you realise that what you really need isn't much at all - well at least in tangible objects.

    nat // dignifiable

  5. I've been reading so many posts about people reading books about organization and lifestyle habits. They seem to be all the rage these days. Kondo's philosophy sounds really interesting but I admit I don't think I could read an entire book about it lol. Keeping away from facebook is a good idea. I don't go on very often, but when I do it seems to easily suck hours of my time!

    Mili | Sharmtoaster

  6. Loved this post. Whilst I don't think I could ever be properly minimalist (I just love having THINGS too much, reminders of people and places and so on), I definitely need to start decluttering my life more. My wardrobe is bursting at the seams, yet I only wear a handful of outfits on a daily basis and the thought of having to search through my huge pile of clothes to find them stresses me out. I think it's time for a clear out!

    Gillian / elevatormusik.com

  7. Marie Kondo's book was life changing for me! It totally changed my attitude towards the things I own. Before, I refused to throw anything away or give to Goodwill just because I once spent money on that item - even though I hated it and never used it and it just gave me bad vibes. After reading her book, I got rid of so much stuff. And it was the best feeling ever!! So liberating. (And I still fold my socks and underwear the Mari Kondo way haha)

    Adele | naemora

  8. This was very thought-provoking, Alyse! I've heard a lot about the Mari Kondo book but haven't read it yet. I have boxes and boxes of sentimental stuff I can't bear to throw away... to try and curb this, nowadays I try to throw things out ASAP before they have time to accumulate sentimental value, haha. As for Facebook - I do admit I scroll through my newsfeed often, but it's also a principle form of communication with a lot of people so I'm probably obliged to keep it for now.

    Jane / deluminators

  9. Yes!! I discovered and understood for myself a few months/years(?) ago that letting go of things can make room for better things :) I've had Facebook deleted for seven months and I have no regrets. It feels so good! The only thing I miss is Facebook events, but the tradeoff is a no-brainer -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

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