I did something very small but very significant this week. I got rid of eight magazines.
Before you close this page thinking ‘well she got boring quickly’, read a bit further.
During my KonMari tidying journey, I’ve got rid of many more items in one go, but I’ve found these particular items to be a real sticking point.
Before I started my training to become a KonMari consultant I was a secondary school teacher in the UK. I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with my job like many other teachers. The actual teaching was ultra-rewarding and never dull. Even the marking and preparation of lesson resources was enjoyable. Unfortunately the idea of a good work-life balance didn’t really exist and I found myself constantly playing catch-up, once actually phoning in sick so I could get coursework marked AND write the reports due at the end of the week. Not my best choice – in retrospect I should have confronted my line manager about the impossibility of the multiple deadlines, but hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it?
Anyway, as a motivated and enthusiastic geographer I was (and still am) a fully paid up member of Britain’s Royal Geographical Society. This entitled me to all sorts of privileges, e.g. attending lectures given by adventurers and world famous economists, using the extensive map archives, and having coffee in their very nice headquarters in South Kensington.
Oh, and receiving their monthly magazine.
When I was teaching it was a valuable resource for up to date information on topics that my students would be examined on, so I’d pore through it loyally before highlighting or scanning items of interest. Old copies went to the school library for enthusiastic geographers (or bored lunchtimers) to leaf through. Upon my departure from the teaching world I held onto my subscription as I did (and still do) find it to be an incredibly worthy cause. The RGS support students through their school studies by providing many scientifically accurate teaching resources, and they offer fully funded (FREE, FREE!) field trips to less fortunate students who might want to study the subject at university. If I’m to support a cause regularly, this is it.
At that point I was receiving three scientific journals every month too, but they were cancelled pretty quickly as the furthest I ever got was to leaf through the contents to see if anything interested me. But I kept the magazine subscription because, well:
- The kind subscriptions people were happy to send it to Malta at no extra cost and
- It’s a magazine – who doesn’t have time to sit and read one magazine per month?
Me apparently. Up until last week I had eight to read, but recently I’d been eyeing them with something less than joy. Every time I saw them I felt bad that I didn’t have the time (or interest?) to dedicate to them. This is one of the perks of organising and decluttering, and more specifically of the KonMari method for me – removing those items that serve as a daily reminder of what we should do but never get around to. So why had these magazines missed the memo?
On Friday I found myself with an unexpectedly free day and with a burst of confidence I said aloud to the magazines ‘right, it’s time to find you a new home!’. There and then I listed them on Olio, a brilliant app that allows you to offer food and non-food items to people in your local area so that they aren’t wasted. No takers yet, but I’m confident somebody out there will have a son or daughter studying geography, or they themselves enjoy learning about our amazing planet. If not, I’ll offer them to a local secondary school. I’ve also changed my subscription so that I now receive a digital version – less waste if I never get around to reading it, and it’s there when the urge strikes.
I found it incredibly hard to part with them because of what they represented to me. In my ‘old world’ they were not only something that helped me with my job (and interested me), but also a physical item that made me feel like I belonged and gave me authenticity (‘look, I must be a proper geographer, I’m a member of the society and I have all the magazines and everything!’). When I left that world behind it was definitely a period of transition – I’d become a mum recently, helped to hire people to replace me at work, and was in the process of co-ordinating a relocation across Europe for our family. I lacked security and so see now (that hindsight again!) that as always, I looked for reassurance in familiar things – TV shows, meals, CHOCOLATE and links to my former, very secure, career. Now I’m settled in my work as a tidying consultant, and settled as a mum who lives in Malta, I’ve found my feet. New meals and TV shows are familiar, I’m working on the chocolate (slowly) and the magazines, though brilliant, are no longer for me.
Progress it is.
I’d been hanging onto my monthly magazines that linked to my former career despite not having time to read them. This was because I was still adjusting to a massive period of change, and was clinging on to familiar items. I had an epiphany this weekend where I realised that, and it helped me to close that door and pass them on.
If anybody wants some fabulous geography magazines (they truly are great!) get in touch…