09 April 2018

This Year's Thought on Pesach and decluttering

I've read a number of decluttering theories and I find that they don't work for me.

"Konmari" everything that doesn't "spark joy?" -- No. I use a lot of things that don't spark joy. In fact, I prefer to have some things that don't, if they are heavily used by the smaller, more reckless members of the family. It saves trouble not to love things.
"Toss everything you haven't used in a year?" -- No. I still give my students the best handouts my teachers gave us in middle school, and I am so glad I saved them.
"Moving is a great time to shed things" -- but only if getting rid of them is easier than putting them in boxes, which it usually isn't.
"Throw away 17 things?" -- This is a good one... but....

In general, the whole idea of minimalism intrigues me. I enjoy minimalist spaces but my favorite Victorians were terrific hoarders of curios.

What does the Torah say about it?

A -- "the more possessions, the more worry." That sounds like decluttering is a good idea.
B -- "Yaakov went back for the small vessels." He crossed the river in the middle of the night just to get the Tupperware. That makes it sound like you shouldn't declutter just to declutter.

So I rolled these ideas around in my mind for a while, and....

Cleaning for Pesach is an entirely different kind of decluttering. All we have to declutter is chametz. Pesach-cleaning, as everyone loves to remind each other, is not spring-cleaning. All you have to get rid of is chametz.
Why?
Because that's what G-d said to get rid of. Done.

Well! I can bring the same laser-like focus into decluttering in the rest of my life, too. It helps if you have more or less defined what your goal in life is.
Is this item helping me do what I'm here for, or not?
Not does it make me happy, not have I used it in a year, not is it number 16 and what will I toss next -- those are all peripherals. Does this thing help me be an eved Hashem, or not?

As an extreme example, if I used to love this thing but then my children ripped it and so the main emotion I experience when looking at it is not warm fuzzies for the person who gave it to me but bottomless irritation with my careless children, out! That thing is not helping me in my life.

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