The zen of freedom from stuff


The konmari method of tidying, folding and selecting to keep only things which are useful and / or bring happiness can be applied to a writer’s life.

We writers need to declutter our desks, our living spaces, our desktops, our external drives and our writing to give ourselves room to develop our ideas.

Be ruthless. Delete programs and documents you do not use. Create meaningful folder and file your documents away to create a clutter free desktop. Root out multiple versions and copies of stories. Do you really need to keep them? If not get rid of some of them.

What about the “How to…” books? Do you actually use them? If not, sell them or give them to a charity shop. Those notes. Scan them and put them in the cloud or on your ereader account.

Lots of photos in a boxes? Get a photo scanner app and scan them onto your phone then save them in the cloud or on a memory stick.

Each week I either throw something away or recycle it. The liberation is wonderful and I delight in seeing the emptiness in my flat.

As I reduce the amount of stuff I own I reduce the amount of time and energy I dedicate to it. In return I increase the amount of time I have for reading, thinking, writing, photography, listening to music and so on. I find myself becoming more productive and more content at the same time.

It may be possible to konmari my way into finishing my novel.

Marie Kondo and Writing

I have begun my ruthless war on the stuff and clutter in both my tiny studio flat and my writing life.I am hoping that with a decluttered living space and a decluttered mind I will regain the joy of writing.

The theory behind the extreme decluttering is that you should only keep things you actually use and things which bring you joy. When I do handwriting these days I tend to use fountain pens and have five of them each with a different colour ink cartridge. I have a small collection of biros which fit nicely in my hand and with which I can write neatly. These I have kept. All the biros which have sneaked in from work are being returned there. I do not use them and they cluttered up my repurposed enamel teapot. Likewise all the small pairs of scissors which somehow got back here and ended up in my dry goods measuring cup. They are being returned to work too.

I have put all the ink cartridges in a small glass pot where they are tidy, secure and make a nice decoration on the corner of the desk.

All the rest of the tut which found its way onto my desk during the month has either been put in it’s proper place or binned. The result is a nice clear and clutter free desk where I am surrounded only by the items I need to write. Already I am feeling good here and inspired to write.