Justin Tadlock

No-guilt KonMari

Old bible opened in the middle with a red bookmark string.

There’s no need to let your family know the details of what you throw out or donate. I especially recommend that clients avoid showing their parents.

I broke one of Marie Kondō’s rules. Now, I’m realizing why such a rule is so important.

My parents have been on board with my tidying journey. I’ve talked with them over the weeks that I’ve been on this adventure. It’s all wonderful until that moment they realize that you’re getting rid of something that they personally believe should be special to you.

For me, it was an old Christian bible that my parents had given me. Being perfectly honest, I didn’t even realize it was from them. Growing up in a religious family and within the Bible Belt of the U.S., you tend to accumulate bibles in 30+ years. I had about 10 lying around (and have had more at times). I kept one that was from my grandparents that I’ve had since I was a small child because I have fond memories of the time it was given to me. I also kept one from my Bible As Literature class in college, which has translator notes that I find interesting from a literary and historical perspective.

I suppose my parents (my father is who I’d talked to) expect that I should have that same sentimentality about something they gave to me. I’d like for the book go to a church or someone who will actually use it rather than gathering dust.

I’m of the firm belief that books should be read.

During the conversation with my father, I felt guilty, which is the opposite of any feelings I should be having during this process. What I realized is that I didn’t feel guilty about discarding the item. I felt guilty for making them feel sad. Given the choice right in this moment, I would still make the decision to discard the item because it does not spark joy for me.

I have many items from my parents that do spark joy. I have photos, birthday cards, and other miscellaneous items that I could never part with. Those are the things that are important to me. Those things are what I’ll have to remember my parents by when I’m an old man looking over his life. I won’t look fondly upon one bible of a dozen that I dragged from home to home over the years in a cardboard box.

Holding onto things is tightly ingrained into Western culture, even when those things are long past their usefulness in your life. The process of letting go is tough. It’s made even tougher when you allow others to project their feelings into how you’re going about your own journey.

Marie Kondō stresses “don’t let your family see” in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s best to take her advice.

Guilt should play no role in what you decide to let go of. It only adds weight to your shoulders while you’re in the process of becoming lighter. The process of decluttering is as much mental as it is physical. Don’t allow others to hold back your progress.

And, don’t let your family see.