Talk to any carpenter or building contractor and they’ll tell you that there’s always another tool they feel they could have in their tool box. If they just had a particular blade or sander, their job would go much more smoothly and quickly. So they get another toy. But, one day they’ll see another that has benefits that surpass the ones they already have. So they buy it and the older ones begin to collect dust. Or worse yet, they have a job that needs one of those tools they so proudly bought and because they now have so many, they can’t find it. How many times have you seen a carpenter rummaging around in the toolbox, wondering just where he or she put the tool?
This scenario goes for all walks of life. How about a chef? Or a computer guru who has to have all the latest software? Or the consumer who wants to have the latest technology gadget? While these newer items have a few improvements over the older version, is it worth the purchase? In the end, all you’re doing is chasing the latest innovations or maybe it’s trying to keep up with the Joneses. On the other hand, what you could be doing is expanding on the uses you make of what you already own.
The Marie Kondo Approach to a Hammer
Marie Kondo is a well-recognized decluttering expert from Japan. In her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, she introduces her KonMari method of ridding your home of excess. With many people believing it’s time to downsize, her approach to the clutter problem is to determine if what you have “sparks joy”. If you’re keeping stuff because of an emotional attachment or worry that you might need or want it one of these days, you’ll forever be surrounded by clutter. She took this idea so far that she decided since a hammer didn’t spark joy for her, she’d get rid of it. She instead used her frying pan as the hammer.
While that is expanding on the use of something you presently own, that may be taking things a bit too far. Even Kondo admitted to that. But it shows that maybe we could approach our resources with a more critical eye. How can we simplify what we have so we can remove stuff that really isn’t serving us well?
What Stuff Should We Get Rid Of?
I can’t speak for you, but I know for myself, I have a ton of things I could get rid of to give my drawers and closets some breathing space. The Z-Pattern of Decision-Making that I discuss in “Is It Worth It?” is the approach I use. If Marie Kondo had gone through this process of decision-making before she threw out her hammer, that hammer would still be in her house. Not everything can be decided based on an emotional response.
How to Get Rid Of Stuff
Many of the things we own have a practical purpose. I have a coffee maker. No need to consider getting rid of that for simplification purposes. On the other hand, I have at least 6-8 silicone spatulas. Do I really need all of them? Mind you, I didn’t go out and buy all of those. Some came with kitchen gadgets. (Free is good until it’s not.) I have some spatulas that are of the same width. Why am I keeping them all? Basically because I still have the drawer space (almost!). But that isn’t a good reason really. To make the decision as to which ones to give away by using personality type, I’ll show you the Z-Pattern at work. You decide by using the four type preferences in the order below:
Sensing (what is, facts, details)
I have three spatulas that are about 2” wide with fairly square faces, another one that is fairly narrow at 1” wide and very useful for getting the last bits of mayo out of the jar, another one that is about 1 ½” wide with a gradual slope and pointed end that does a good job when mixing batter in a bowl (but then one of the square faced ones is even better for heavy mixing), and then there are three short ones.
iNtuiting (what might be, consequences, possibilities)
I often find the spatulas getting stuck when I open or close the drawer by having so many in the drawer organizer. I could avoid this problem by getting rid of some of the duplicates. Of course, I could also put them in the bigger gadget drawer, but then they probably would never be used being out of sight (not that they’re all getting used now).
Thinking (making a decision logically and rationally)
Some of the spatulas didn’t cost me anything because they came with a piece of kitchen equipment. If I got rid of some of the spatulas and found I needed another one, I would have to spend some money for it. Yet, isn’t my time worth something when I have to struggle with getting a spatula unstuck because I have too many? Or even the time taken to decide which one should be used. Doesn’t it seem stupid to be keeping spatulas that have deteriorated and aren’t as functional as they used to be (such as the small one that has gotten so stiff)?
Feeling (making a decision emotionally)
Some of the spatulas wouldn’t be that hard to get rid of since they’re not in new condition (a couple with chewed up edges and the ones that aren’t as flexible as they should be). I know there are certain ones that I go for more frequently than others. I’m sure I could decide those that work best for me or, as Marie Kondo says, “sparks joy”.
The chewed-up square one goes, as does the small stiff one. I may reassess this again when I’m still not using some of these. At least I’m showing progress!
Choosing a Resource That Does a Number of Tasks
I discussed getting rid of excess things that do the same job. However, from a simplification point-of-view, it’s nice to have a resource that serves a number of purposes. It’s the clever people who figure out how to expand the uses of what they already have.
For example, a carpenter could have a bunch of different saws: radial-arm saw, a circular saw, a jigsaw, a saber saw, and a miter saw. My husband owns a number of these. So I asked him if he had to choose just one, which one it would be. The idea is to have one that can do many jobs and reduce the number of tools needed. For him, it’s the saber saw. He made the walnut desk I’m sitting at right now with just a saber saw.
The job may have been easier with a table saw and a miter saw, but that means spending more money and having to have the space to house these other tools. He’s actually prouder of the job, knowing that he did it all with just a saber saw.
That’s not the direction that we, as a society, are headed. Simplification is the new norm.
Can you figure out what you own that could be eliminated by figuring out how to expand how some of the stuff can be utilized in a unique way? Think of the money you could save and the money you could make by selling some of the stuff you’re not using!
While You’re Here Visiting:
Check out the book, “Is It Worth It? – Simplify Your Life with Personality Type”. It may just be what you need to find the simpler life – uncluttered, in balance, at peace.