The art of cleaning up - or scrapping

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The art of cleaning up - or scrapping


I have a bad habit of procrastinating until the last minute and then finishing up my work in a hurry. I always regret it later, yet I can’t seem to shake the habit. When I was young, I used to complete one month’s worth of homework assignments the day before they were due and crammed all night before a test. This habit developed into a chronic occupational disorder when I became a journalist, typing up my articles in a hurry shortly before deadline. Even this very article is being written with just minutes to deadline.

My procrastination affects my organizational habits as well. It would be easier to keep the house clean if I regularly tidied up whenever things were in disorder. But I usually scatter my stuff around until the mess becomes so detrimental that I have to clean up before suffocating from the fumes. My closet, bookshelves and drawers are chaotic, my desk buried in mounds of papers and articles.

Marie Kondo, the most famous cleaning consultant in Japan, avers that organization is not about storing items properly, but really about throwing away all the junk. People become attached to their possessions and have a hard time parting with them. According to Kondo, the rule of thumb in cleaning is if something doesn’t give you a pulsing feeling when you pick it up, just throw it out. Whether it is a piece of clothing in the closet, a book on the shelf or a photograph in an album, if your heart doesn’t flutter, trash it. The cleaning guru also advises not to show the stuff you have decided to throw out to other family members.

Perhaps this mindset should have been applied to the party leaders prior to the April 11 legislative election. While you can throw out clothes that don’t fit anymore, it’s harder to cut ties with a person who’s outgrown his stay. After all, layoffs may be one of the most difficult tasks for managers. But the political parties should have cleaned out its members.

“Owning something means being tied to it. If you own more, that means you are entangled in more complications. When you throw out en masse, you can gain significantly,” said Venerable Beopjeong, who practiced non-possession. Spring is the perfect season for cleaning. Let’s open up the windows, wipe off the dust collected in the winter and throw out things you don’t need. This will lead you to become more decisive and confident, characteristics the parties seemed to lack leading up to the election.

The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Bae Myung-bok
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