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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, coaching, effective communication and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free food and good movies.

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Why decluttering one's life, one day at the time, could be the most important thing you will ever do - Introduction

These days, clutter is everywhere.
In most Western countries, the vast majority of people live a cluttered life, due to over-consuming, overspending, overbuying, and last but not least too many hours spent daily in front of computers, smartphones, TV, and tablets.

So it is not surprising that since its first appearance in English in 2014, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo is in everyone's mouth. For a reason.
She created or, to put it better, she perfected a decluttering process, called the "KonMari Method", that through six rules of tidying up should help people to re-organize their flats and therefore indirectly - or sometimes absolutely directly - their lives:

#1. Commit yourself to tidying up
#2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle
#3. Finish discarding first
#4. Tidy by category, not location
#5. Follow the right order
#6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy

What's the right order?
[Very useful and elegant free printable 
Decluttering Checklist
for the KonMari Method
Image source: Making Lemonade]

According to Marie Kondo, the right order would be: clothes, accessories and other clothing items, then books, then papers, magazines, and documents, then komono aka miscellaneous items (DVD, CDs, toys, office supplies, cleaning supplies, kitchen items and food, collections and furniture, gardening supplies, bathroom supplies and makeup, etc) and only in the end, as the ultimate step of the tidying up process, sentimental items like photos, diaries and souvenirs.

Sometimes you have to burn your house down and start again. 
It's an incredibly scary thing to do.
Tamara Mellon

In the last ten years, I lived in five different flats and I moved four times.
During each move, I downsized my life and my possessions.

Each new flat meant less stuff, fewer items, less of almost everything.
Each new flat meant giving stuff away, deciding what to keep and what to throw away and, above all, what was not needed neither in the present nor in the future and therefore would become an item of my shopping blacklist: something that I would not buy ever again, once consumed, used or given to someone else as a gift.
Those items were (and still are) facetiously labeled as "Das kaufen wir nicht mehr" (lit. "We will not buy this again", in German. Pluralis majestatis is a must).

After the latest move and me getting used to living in a flat that was only half as big as the previous one and giving away pieces of furniture, souvenirs and about 40% of my books, I thought that I knew my s**t about downsizing and decluttering, and yet there is always the chance to upgrade one's skills and to go a little bit further.
So, about eighteen months ago, while being busy with big changes in my life I will sooner or later tell you about in another post, I decided to declutter not only my private and emotional life but also my flat and my digital life and to change also a lot of my habits.

Step by step, I embraced existential and digital minimalism.

[Digital minimalism] is motivated by the belief that intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise, and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter, can significantly improve your life.
Calvin Newport

Since then I have been busy with:

#1. Digital minimalism
#2. Minimalist living
#3. Emotional minimalism

We will start with digital minimalism.
Stay tuned for the first post.

Tags: Minimalism, FOMO, LOMO, Decluttering, KonMari Method, Quotes

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