Sa­man­tha Army­tage

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - Sa­man­tha co-hosts Sun­rise, 5.30am week­days, on the Seven Net­work.

muses whether hav­ing less is the an­swer to a happy life.

The Ja­panese have a say­ing that I love: dis­card any­thing that doesn’t spark joy. In this sea­son of spring (and the clean­ing that goes with it), I ad­mit, I de­clut­ter my home more than is prob­a­bly healthy for my so­cial life. I re­or­gan­ise my pantry and then con­tinue to my wardrobe, tidy­ing the odd cup­board along the way.

I then drift on to my par­ents’ house and have a red-hot go at the uten­sil drawer in my mother’s kitchen (the re­or­gan­i­sa­tional Ever­est). I oc­ca­sion­ally help the staff at Wool­worths tidy the fruit and vegie pyra­mids, and have been known to, while sick, re­or­gan­ise the piles of mag­a­zines in a GP’S wait­ing room.

None of this is in­vited nor, come to think of it, wel­come. But as a jour­nal­ist and a Virgo, I feel it’s my job to try to make some or­der out of the chaos of the uni­verse. We all have our delu­sion crosses to bear, don’t we?

But as I get older and wiser (well, older at least), I’m start­ing to be­lieve this doesn’t have to be con­fined to the home, the doc­tor’s surgery or the sea­son. I think spark­ing the joy – all year round – might just be the key to con­tent­ment. And at the risk of get­ting all Tony Rob­bins on you, hav­ing more of less, dear reader, could be the an­swer to all our prob­lems. Stay with me here. I prom­ise I haven’t spring-cleaned my cor­pus cal­lo­sum (the part of your brain re­spon­si­ble for com­mon sense) yet. Why should we only toss tatty tea tow­els and wee­vil-chewed bags of chick­peas from 2013? And do­nate never-worn dresses? Let’s be more choosy about un­en­joy­able books and even less-en­joy­able boyfriends. Let’s throw in bad mind­sets. Let’s dis­crim­i­nate more about what we eat, play and watch. I love the adren­a­line hit of a shop­ping pur­chase as much as the next per­son, but hands up if you have a wardrobe bulging with clothes, yet you go back to the same four pieces, day in, day out? It’s not just out­fits that can be re­cy­cled. My dar­ling granny used to say you only re­ally have five true friends in your life. And I be­lieve she was right. Back to Ja­pan. Marie Kondo is the world’s best organiser (I bow down be­fore her) and was one of Time mag­a­zine’s most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple in 2015 (the same year most of the prod­ucts in my fridge were fresh).

She firmly believes that those un­able to sep­a­rate from their pos­ses­sions suf­fer from an at­tach­ment to the past or anx­i­ety about the fu­ture.

Like me, Marie loves method, so she cre­ated one called Kon­mari, the Ja­panese art of de­clut­ter­ing where you gather all of your worldly be­long­ings to­gether and then only keep the things that “spark joy”. (Be­tween us, we could have world dom­i­na­tion!) She ad­vises you to ask your­self a sim­ple ques­tion: does an item bring you joy? If you in­stantly an­swer yes, and you love it, keep it. If it’s a no, do­nate or chuck it. You’ll know the feel­ing of joy when it hits. A great mate, the per­fect jeans, a re­li­able boyfriend.

It’s sim­ple and it’s pow­er­ful. And take it from me, it’s emo­tion­ally free-ing!

Ask­ing your­self if you re­ally need cer­tain things, if they bring hap­pi­ness, if you al­ready own some­thing sim­i­lar; ques­tion­ing whether you’re hold­ing on to it for one day or for sen­ti­men­tal rea­sons may just be the mean­ing of life.

As it turns out, in this era of ex­cess, maybe all you need in life is... less.

“I de­clut­ter my home more than is prob­a­bly healthy for my so­cial life”

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