ROUND 3: Nearly Done – For at least the past 6 months my family and I have been reducing! Marie Kondo-ing. Simplifying. Decluttering. I did not think this process would take very long. But it did. And we’re still in it!

It’s a long process. It’s fraught. It’s emotional. And I’ve discovered that it’s not all that easy to get rid of stuff.

So beware! If you have too much stuff in your place, start reducing NOW. It seems that it is far easier to collect than to dispense! Which is probably the main reason why we have so much stuff in the first place.

All that said, we are nearly at the end of the process. Or at least it seems like the ‘light at the end of our Marie Kondo tunnel’ has been temporarily switched back on!

The Kondo-light is intermittent and has a habit of flickering but I think we really are reaching the end. There are a few signs of progress.

For one, our drawers and shelves have more space than content and it actually feels good not to be crowded and overborne by a household full of things.

For two, at the end of each week I find myself washing EVERYTHING I own!

Get this, a few weeks ago I traveled to Melbourne for a week and I packed the night before. The process of packing was the simplest experience ever.

I have a travel toiletries bag that is always packed and ready to go. I dropped that in my bag. 10 seconds.

I opened my drawers to make a choice of the clothes I would need in Melbourne and discovered that  my options were limited to, well, pretty much everything I own! So I put all of that in my bag, which left the drawer empty! That took 3 minutes.

Packing done: 3mins 10sec!

When I left the house in an Uber I wore the only pair of shoes I have. I checked no luggage and I boarded the plane with a small carry on and a satchel for my laptop.

The lightest, simplest, most stress-free travel EVER!

Yes my friends, I think our time with Marie Kondo is nearly done. And as the end looms I’ve been reflecting on the experience as a whole.

Many things occurred during this process of decluttering that I did not expect.

And not just practical things like, “How the heck do I sell a 1000 CDs?” But emotional things like discovering that I have an emotional attachment to CD’s, books, an old sweater, university notes from 20 years ago and my old dairies and notebooks.

Maybe the de-cluttering process can be easy. Maybe it can also be quick. But that’s not my experience.

I mean, if you don’t care about where your stuff goes then getting rid of it is very easy. All you need is a trailer and a trip to the rubbish tip. Simple.

But if you do care then the process becomes more thoughtful. And it takes more time.

I’ve found that the care I have for the things I own could be separated into two kinds of care: extrinsic and intrinsic care.

I’ll talk about the extrinsic care factors this week and the intrinsic factors next week.

EXTRINSIC WORTH

The extrinsic stuff was a care or concern about the future life of some of my things.

Things that could not simply be relegated to the rubbish tip. They had a value, either real or perceived, that made me think they would be of use to someone else.

And there was an environmental concern. I can’t just dump 1000+ CDs in the tip!

So what to do?

The options were narrow: donate, recycle, gift, repurpose or sell. And all of these options take time.

We donated and regifted A LOT: old towels and rugs went to homeless animal shelters. Clothes, cutlery, pots, sporting goods, linen and all manner of things went to places like The Salvation Army, Play it Again, Op Shops and specialty second had re-sellers.

Other things were gifted to friends and family.

We also tried to selling many of our possessions. And this is a process that invites a whole host of specific problems.

Like finding the right medium to sell your item. And like finding the right person who wants what you have and then having that person pay what you think its worth.

We used Gumtree, Facebook’s ‘Buy, Swap & Sell pages, EBay, Amazon and local stores that buy second hand goods. Each method has its pros and cons.

Some worked. Some failed spectacularly.

Like EBay and AMAZON. In the process of trying to find out the worth of my book collection discovered that many of my books were worth hundreds of dollars!

So I took the time to list a good chunk of them, Over 100 titles, on eBay and Amazon. I sold two! Both via AMAZON and not one single item using eBay.

Ultimately almost all of my books went to two local second hand book stores. It was a sad day *sniff* for me, but I’ll describe that experience next week when I reflect on Intrinsic Worth.

As I’ve posted before, I sold my entire music collection to one very grateful person. That was awesome.

Gumtree! Mother ‘f$@!-er!

I call Gumtree, ‘Freetree’ when being generous and ‘Scumtree’ when being honest. It’s a feral place to sell. People say they want to buy and they’re “On their way!” And then don’t show. Some bargain relentlessly. Even after the price has been settled on.

Using Gumtree hardens a person and I developed a few rules for Scumtree survival:

  1. Do your homework to find out the worth of your good
  2. Set a firm but fair price and don’t waiver
  3. Never bargain
  4. In fact, raise the price by a few dollars if it does not sell (anyone watching will jump!)
  5. Never send your goods in the post
  6. Ban buyers who are rude
  7. Always count the cash before you hand over the goods

That said. Gumtree was the most effective place to move our goods. We did not always get the price we wanted, but we got pretty close. We at least got a price we could live with.

Next week: Intrinsic Worth – the unexpected revelation of Marie Kondo-ing

Damien Norris is the founder and senior whole-body movement and lifestyle coach at The Wilding Project (LINK), Perth Western Australia. Recently featured in TEDxPerth (LINK), Damien teaches children, young people, adults and seniors how to move and live a full life! Olympic Fun & Fitness and The Wilding Project like Rewilding is dedicated to a movement rich life. Programs like Gymnastics, GymFIT, FootyEDGE, Parkour, Workplace Athletes, ActiveAgers and more all follow a simple philosophy, “Learn to move well and then never stop.”
Damien Norris