Marie Kondo's Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up became a global bestseller by advising you to get rid of everything that doesn't bring you joy, and advising you to anthropomorphize your belongings and imagine how they feel about being owned by you.
Kondoizing has a cult-like following that revels in the austerity and discipline of ridding your life of material goods, but Christina Xu's recent experience with involuntary "decluttering" (she lost her travel bag, which was full of things she'd carried and used for years) took her to an entirely new level of self-reflection in relation to her material possessions.
Xu lost her laptop, but not her data, which was backed up. But even the experience of recovering her backup to her new machine was a revelation, as compared to moving data from a backup to a new machine during a routine upgrade: "I'm taking some time to imagine new workflows and file structures; to learn which files and applications I genuinely love; to wait until I crave my old data so much that it'll be a relief, not a routine, to get it back."
Having your stuff randomly and involuntarily taken from you is the boss-level of material culture:
Involuntarily losing shit is the ultimate version of the KonMari method. It brutally takes things away at random and makes you fight to get them back so that you remember and reaffirm the value of each one.
It's also a reminder of what's fragile, and what's robust. This weekend, I spent hours staring at the latest draft of the previous post, trying to calm my nerves enough to write; failing. I worried that the delicate systems I'd established to maintain momentum and make sense of my life had been permanently, irreparably damaged. But though progress felt slow, they recovered. On Monday, I started over and wrote this.
The Life-Changing Magic of Losing Shit [Christina Xu/Medium]
(via Dan Hon)
(Image: found umbrellas, Paul Keller, CC-BY)