In a world where everything is new, innovative, useful, fast and replaceable, it is difficult to appreciate the little things.
Thanks to the growth of the offer,every day,new products come out, in order to fulfil the needs of a new, growing, and more demanding population.
It is in this new exigent world that the concept of “having” is becoming more and more popular: having the newest car, buying lots of clothes, books, objects because they are cheap or because they are new.
This mentality of buying is becoming every day more and more problematic from an environmental and psychological point of view: buying many items with the only purpose of buying creates an increase of the demand,that will lead to an increase of the production.
Such overproduction will turn into waste if not consumed, which will lead to an unsustainable problem in waste disposal.
In addition to this problem, it is important to underline the fact that in many companies, which produce daily common items and exploit their workers,the conditions of work of many employees are terrible: insufficient salary, extreme hours of work, unsafety on the workplace and child labor, all done to produce items which will be useful just for a short period of time and that will be replaceable by new ones.
Besides, the emissions of CO2 that many industries released in the air contribute to air pollution and to the climate change that is going on for many years now.
From a psychological point of view, the concept of buying has a very different effect.
The same companies which produce daily-use items adopt misleading marketing strategies, in order to make you think that you need a certain thing. This materialistic society gives more value to things than to people.
Buying has become the most used and common action in the world, and it is so common that even young generations nowaday know how and what to buy and have this desire to own more and more.
Some psychologists affirm that when an individual is addicted to buying new things, is trying to fill a void inside them by using material things.
It is thanks to this “void” that many companies try to attract their buyers, in making them believe that they need a certain object, and by doing this they will waste money. They strategically use your emotions to make you buy things.
So, how can this circle be stopped?
The answer to this question is not “Stop buying everything” but rather “Eliminate the things that you don’t need or do not use”.
Marie Kondo, a famous Japanese organizing consultant, explains in her bestseller: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”, that it is possible to stop the circle of buying in which everyone is involved.
She is convinced that the key to live a happy life is to live in a clean home, where everything is in place and everything has its purpose. Her method is based mainly on the Decluttering which means “to make room” and for her this process is very elaborated.
It consists of multiple phases: the first phase is the gathering of the objects in one room. So, clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, photo albums and documents, need to be gathered in one single room, in order to have everything to throw away.
Then there is the second phase: after having gathered everything in one single room, the decluttering process with clothes starts. Clothes are the most difficult items to throw away because they are the most used and purchased, and the thought of eliminating them is more complex than for any other object. But that is why she starts with clothes.
So, the main question she asks herself to understand if something is worth keeping or to throw away is “Does this bring me joy?”, and if the answer is yes, she asks then “Why does this bring me joy?” and then she decides if she needs to keep it or not. She does this process for every single cloth or item in the house.
She has used this method for herself and now she is helping other people to do the same.
She wants to give people the possibility to eliminate things from the past, things that have not a sentimental value but rather a materialistic one. She understands very well how people can be attached to things, but her purpose is to help them to realize how less we need.
Besides helping people to get rid of things, she also has lectures to avoid the “boomerang effect”, which is the process that involves the reappearance of the eliminated object with new ones.
She knows how easy it is to buy new things after throwing away the old ones, but since her method is targeted to give a new perspective she is sure that her approach will avoid this opposite effect.
Once people realize that having things because they serve a purpose instead of having things for the sole satisfaction of having them, everything changes.
This does not mean that after decluttering the house you will never buy anything, but rather you will have a new consideration of the things you buy and how to use them.
But the road for a clean house is tougher for some more than others because it is very common to be attached to objects.
So, in order to let the decluttering be as useful and effective as possible, she invented this new method: put everything you are uncertain of throwing away in a box, and then put the box away.
The box should remain closed for at least one month and, if during that month you did not feel the need to go back there and take some things, then all the content in the box can be thrown away.
All the methods Marie Kondo provided are useful and effective only if the person who decides to follow her really wants a change, otherwise it is not worth it.
In this era, where everything is available just with a ‘click’ on the phone, it is important to remember what it means to have a simple and clean life, free of the worries of not knowing what to wear in the morning or free from cleaning the house every day because of the dust.
In order to have a simple life, the fundamental step is to change the mentality behind buying; going from “I need to buy this because I need it, and because I am sad and this makes me feel good” to “I have to buy this because the one that I have at home suddenly broke, so I need a new one, otherwise I do not have any” it is already a good start.