The Art of Discarding: How to Get Rid of Clutter and Find Joy by Nagisa Tatsumi

A book that lays out practical and logical methods for disposing clutter, “The Art of Discarding”, is a timely addition for a more organised, if not a totally minimalist lifestyle. All of us are attached to our belongings, parting with which induces a sense of nostalgia, not to mention a sense of loss. Nagisa Tatsumi identifies simple and definitive approaches to rid ourselves of a sense of belonging that ultimately leads to the pernicious art of accumulating. Using a compelling logic that entwines an object with its utility, the author sets out the following ten attitudes adhering to which will according to her, rid one’s life of clutter:

1. Don’t keep it “for now”;
2. Avoid “temporary” storage – decide now!;
3. “Sometime” never comes;
4. “Really convenient!” to somebody else – irritating junk to me;
5. Nothing is sacred;
6. If you’ve got it, use it;
7. Storage and organisation methods are not the solution;
8. “Maybe this could go…”;
9. Dont worry that you will get rid of something you shouldn’t;
10.Dont aim for perfection

The author follows up the ten attitudes with ten “strategies” for facilitating a timely and ‘sustained’ disposal. Such strategies include “Dont look – throw!; Chuck it then and there and have plenty of disposal routes. Nagisa Tatsumi argues for the art of disposal to be an ingrained habit. In her words, “instead of worrying about wastefulness, let the task of disposal be an opportunity to reflect on the real value of your possessions. Look at the things you’ve allowed to accumulate. Thinking about why you’ve got them will help you give a sense of why you have a hold on you. And as you sort out what to throw away and what to keep, you’ll come to realise what’s really necessary”.

Now it’s time for me to have a long, hard and realistic look at my overflowing book cases and the piles of even more books littering coffee tables and working desks!

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