Every year around this time, I’m reminded of how blessed my family and I have been to have a comfortable home filled with love, affection, kindness, good health, and yes, probably more material things than we need. I think that in the world of organizing and decluttering, we can get so caught up in letting stuff go that we forget to be grateful for the fact that we HAVE things to let go. We can let it all go knowing that our lives will probably not suffer for it, and indeed, probably benefit from it by releasing us from the suffocation that having too many possessions can bring about.
I was reminded of this recently when I read a review of organizer Marie Kondo’s (author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) Netflix show – “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” The reviewer, Hank Stuever, remarks on Kondo’s insistence that her clients thank their home for providing shelter, and thank each item for the service it brought to the owner before letting it go. When I read Kondo’s book years ago, I must admit I considered this a bit nutty! But reading Stuever’s comments reminded me of how important it is to acknowledge and express gratitude for our abundance, no matter how out of control it may have gotten. He writes,
“Sometimes [Kondo] asks the homeowners to…offer unspoken thanks to their home for the shelter it has thus far provided.
This is a noble and overdue concept for the home makeover and real estate genre — a chance to express gratitude for any home, rather than the perfect home. Years of HGTV’s programming have placed homeowners and home-seekers on a narcissistic pedestal of entitled complaint (our house is too small, too ugly, too outdated) and criticisms. How many couples, by now, have we seen walk through homes for sale and disparage the countertops, bathroom tiling and size of the backyard?
Where’s the reminder that we should be so lucky as to have lived in a state of acquisition rather than sacrifice?”
I was struck by the truth of his words, and the reminder that for many of us, the ability to acquire things is a privilege not afforded to everyone and something for which we should be thankful. The screed of “more is good, and bigger is better,” only fosters dissatisfaction and unhappiness with what we do have.
So, while the concept of thanking inanimate objects feels a little bit out there, I think the underlying reminder to be grateful for what we do have, especially at this time of year, can help bring just a little more joy into the season!
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we DON’T have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we DO have.” (Frederick Koenig)