There appears to be a spate of books right now on the topic of decluttering and living a happier life with less- although they all sound the same on the surface, each one offers something new and The Art of Discarding is no exception.

The Art of Discarding By Nagisa Tatsumi

The Art of Discarding By Nagisa Tatsumi

I have to confess, I devoured this book in one night because it gets right to the point. It doesn’t mess around and tackles many of the common problems people face when attempting to rid their homes of clutter. Namely, the ‘keep it for now’ mantra and the ‘I may use it sometime’ promise to oneself even though sometime never happens. It also talks about previous generations and how their influence can encourage us to hoard despite living in completely different times.

The book makes the point that if you have something- use it and enjoy it or ask yourself- what is it doing in your home taking up space?

It also makes you think twice about storage- storage may simply be a way to organise your clutter rather than ridding yourself of things you don’t need. It might make it look pretty but it’s not solving the problem of having too much.

Tatsumi has developed ten strategies for discarding so once you have mastered these- you should be able to keep on top of your stuff and constantly evaluate what you have so it never gets as bad again. It's the book that keeps on giving long after you've read it. 

Realistically, the book urges readers not to dwell on perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist in any area of life so why aim for it? Our homes are not like what we see in magazines- they have people in them for a start. They work for us- we live, breathe, sleep, move and rest in them so they have to accommodate our needs and our varying moods. What we can strive for a system that works for us, our lifestyles and commitments.

One review notes that this book is ‘nothing revolutionary’- in one sense I agree- the book offers logical and basic steps to achieve a life with less. What I would say is- like losing weight, I think everyone knows what they need to do to make a change but we all need a little motivation from those who have been there and done it to get started. We all need help with how to do something systematically and effectively in the beginning.

The book is said to be the inspiration for Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying, which is high praise indeed. In my opinion, any book that encourages you to look up from your stuff and start living a more engaged life is to be applauded. 

I think what I liked most about this book is that the author offers up common situations that I have found myself in over the years. There is at least one scenario everyone can relate to in there and it makes you realise that there will always be something that is working against you to make your home cluttered again. But once you have the tools to recognise it and deal with it as it happens- you will be just fine. 

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