Welcome to part three of our “Life-Changing Magic” series: lessons learned from Marie Kondo and her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
The third and final lesson learned is this: we sometimes hold on to things because they are a visual representation of who we once were rather than who we are right now.
There was a time in my life when I loved scrapbooking. If you were an important person in my life at that time, it is highly likely you received a scrapbook of some sort from me. It was how I showed people I cared about them. I would happily spend hours fussing over the details on every page and selecting the best photos to capture special memories. I also established an extensive collection of scrapbook materials: stickers, decorative paper in every possible shade, brads, corner mounts, fancy-cut scissors for paper edging, die cut patterns-- I could go on.
But when was the last time I actually sat down and scrapbooked?
Good question, and one I should have asked sooner.
This past summer, I made it a goal to finally finish our wedding scrapbook in anticipation of our ten-year anniversary (that fact right there should have been a sign!). I pulled out my bag of wedding-themed scrapbook materials (still in the Target bag with the little bride and groom on it from when we registered for wedding gifts almost eleven years prior), spread everything out on the guest bed and hunkered down to finish the project.
I had moved this exact bag and even paid to keep it in storage for a short stint, along with the paper leftover from our invitations (I also hand-made our wedding invitations— I was really into paper crafting) and a stack of blank cardstock about six inches high.
Two pages into the project, it hit me: I didn’t even like scrapbooking anymore! No joy was being sparked. Finishing the album felt like a chore, not an act of love.
I had to accept the fact that if our ten-year anniversary wasn’t enough motivation for me to complete the project, I likely never would.
So, what to do? It was time for me to face off with those items, thank them for the joy they brought me so many years ago, and make way for the new passions and interests in my life. (I’m talking about the scrapbooking materials, just to clarify).
Just because you once desired or enjoyed something, be it a hobby, figurine, experience, decorating style-- whatever it is, doesn’t mean you need to keep it in your life forever.
As we move through each phase of our lives, we move in new directions; our priorities change. What we once spent our time doing may not be possible now or maybe we simply aren’t excited about it anymore. And that’s okay. Embracing who you are now and creating a home that reflects the current version of yourself will free up space for you to continue that process.
This philosophy helps greatly when it comes to hobbies and their “stuff”. Garages are often safe havens for these items, where they fade away, yet never really leave. Tucked away closets are often culprits, too.
If you find yourself having a hard time making a decision about an item, make a point to set aside some time to try it again (or in some cases, for the first time). You may rekindle the spark of interest, or you might have an experience like I had with the scrapbook and discover even adding kindling won’t reignite the flame. Either way, you’ve gained clarity about what to do, and even better, about who you are right now. (Fun fact, up until this last summer, whenever I was asked what my hobbies were, I always included scrapbooking. That’s how much of my identity was tied up in that Target bag!)
If you aren’t ready to completely give up on a hobby, try paring down. Instead of ten fishing poles, keep just your favorites. (This works for shoe collections, too!)
Making the decision is the most important part.
Once you have taken the time to determine what you want and don’t want, you don’t have to fret about your things anymore. You love what you have. You know what you have. And that’s life-changing magic!
If you have your own life-changing magic story to share, you know I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time keep on enjoying this one & wonderful life,