What Marie Kondo addressed in her book as “komono” (in Japanese: miscellaneous) is the source of most clutter in our homes. It is the small, uncategorized objects that hang around without much consideration. For me, there are two areas that needed work: paper and plastic bags.
i. Paper clutter.
I work as a lecturer, so during schooltime paperwork is very demanding and paper occupies literally everywhere in the house. This may also be because I don’t have my office desk in the house, so my couch is basically a mountain of paper and pen during those days. But having a month for school to start here in Turkey, I wanted to tackle other kinds of paper in the house, especially bills and receipts. It was interesting we keep these in one pile, maybe because in Turkish both words translate to “fatura”. And I realized these “fatura”s were everywhere, from bookcase to top of fridge, to the top of shoe cupboard at the entrance. Don’t let me starting the inside of bags and purses! So when I gathered them all, it took me like an hour to decide which ones belonged in the trash and which ones we needed to keep.
For receipts, I tossed all grocery shopping, receipts for items older than a year or passed their warranty, and thought about all the purchases we made for the last year. I am glad most of it was grocery shopping, we had only a couple clothing receipts, and a couple more for shoes. Both my husband and I went through job interviews in December, which made us realized we had no formal clothes, so I bought two shirts and a nice pair of shoes, while he bought two suits and a pair of shoes. We are approaching thirty and slowly transitioning to a more casual smart style rather than jeans & tees.
I categorized receipts as “from 2015 to June 2016” and “June-August 2016”.
For the bills, you never know what will happen in this country- like one day they can cut off your electricity claiming you haven’t been paying them- so it is best to keep the bills for a year or two. I arranged them in chronological order and tagged them “water, gas, electricity”.
ii. Plastic bags.
This is two years’ accumulation. I always found plastic bags boring and unnecessary, but it happens. It comes with an online order, from a duty free shop, or simply you forget your fabric bag and you need to get one. I decided to toss a third of it, a third I will bring to my mother-in-law, who said she needed some. The final third in the shoe box I will keep. This is pretty much a what-if keep, but I decided to limit myself to what can fit in a shoe box. And this unnecessary clutter reminded me how much I need to carry these foldable fabric bags around.
Can you practice mindfulness while decluttering? You sure can! It is very rewarding in terms of both a clear home and a clear mind.