The Art of Throwing Things Away

Every day, I find two things to give or throw away. I’ve been doing this for a little over a month and it’s exhilarating.

I’m going through all my clothes, my shoes, my whatever, and asking myself— does this give me joy? When was the last time I used this? How will I feel if I see this in the garbage? Sad? Relieved? Ambivalent? Usually it’s one of the latter two.

I think this practice was popularized in a book that I haven’t read, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. John Hodgman and my mom told me about it.

I’m never going to run out of things to throw out. Stuff floats into my life. I have accumulated so much even in the past five months. Some of it I sought out, like clothes that would help me survive winter.

Other stuff just manifested, like a sea captain’s hat.

I like this practice. It reminds me of everything that I have and it forces me to be more mindful about accepting junk of any kind.

People have asked me what’s the final goal—to not have anything at all? That’s not it, though. There is no end point.

The point is the practice and the awareness that comes with it, the awareness that I need less stuff than I have and that more stuff will not make me happy. Usually it’s the opposite.