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When facing the enemy pays off

Jul 05, 2023

The following story is in my book “The Joy Compass”. I would love to give it to you as a present - just because you are amazing and could need a great read for summer? You can even listen to my BEST English on the audio book : ). If you like it, I would loooove to hear your feedback and what you liked best about the book. Deal? Yes, you can read/listen without giving feedback. Noooo strings attached!

You can download the ebook and the audiobook by clicking here. 

Not long ago Ken pulled out our ancient video camera we got as a gift from my father in law in 2003. The era before social media and long before smart phones. We felt like the BOSSES of the world with this hardcore camera… until we couldn't find a way to connect my computer with the camera. Every cable, card-reader lalala didn’t work.

How FUN to watch these tapes (yeeess, real tapes!) now 20 years later. Aaand tadaaaa, I found the footage which belongs to this decluttering story from the book.

Maybe I’ve been exaggerating a little with the working time?? : ) : ) uuuups. The time stamp tells me that after less than 4 hours we’ve finished. I don’t even remember all the people of the crew BUT the pile outside really looks bigger than in the attic.

I have no video evidence of Ken snarling behind the window at night when people pulled up with cars… but hey, just read the whole story from the beginning.

For context, the text is from the “Decluttering outside”-chapter which tells you that you are connected to every single thing you own, it doesn’t matter where you hide it or where it’s stuffed away. So energy wise it’s very smart to declutter everything you don’t care about, you don’t need, you don’t love… just get rid of it.

“In the house where our shared apartment was, there was a huge, super old, wooden attic, and every apartment had a compartment to put away their things. Swiss people normally have their ski equipment and other items which are only needed in a certain season up there.

People had been moving in and out of our apartment for the past ten years. I joined after five years. By then, the attic was full of random stuff from the guys and girls who had already moved out long ago. In front of all these lockable compartments, there was quite a big space that was supposed to be empty, common ground, from which we could all access the awesome rooftop terrace.

Well, this space at first only had some random items lying around, but over the years, it had piled up. The landlord of the house got really pissed by this and wrote a letter to each tenant, asking that we take our stuff and put it into our compartments; otherwise, it would get chucked out.

The result was: Everyone decluttered their compartments, and threw everything ON the pile. It was a gigantic mountain of furniture, carpets, books, sports gear, planks for flooring, ... an absolutely enormous pile.

At first, we laughed. Then we got into thinking mode.

Three of six apartments were shared, so basically, we were the bad guys in this game. We estimated that if this pile had to be carried down five floors without an elevator and be thrown away, it could be very, very, very expensive... Our feeling of being oh so clever quickly faded.

So, we agreed on a Saturday when all of us, seven guys and two girls, would carry all this garbage down, ready to load into a gigantic trash truck that we booked through the city of Zurich.

We worked for eight hours. Nine people. That would have ruined us if we had had to pay this. We had lots of fun combined with lots of swearing, but the attic was CLEAN after that. The pile outside of our house looked even bigger than it had underneath the roof with all the wooden beams.

Not long after we finished, the first trucks pulled up, and they carried some of the furniture away. Our pile looked like an anthill full of people looking through the stuff. The number of things got smaller, until finally only the garbage was left. At night, we realized that others also wanted to take advantage and arrived with carloads of stuff themselves...

We had to pay per quarter-hour for the loading time, so we weren't at all interested in the garbage mountain getting bigger again. We chased them away, and Ken, my husband, was awake all night doing the samurai-ninja job to get rid of the enemies. In the end, we paid only 80 bucks to get rid of everything, and we had such sore muscles from all the stair climbing. But I tell you, that feeling of finally having dealt with this stupid attic full of shit, that was amazing!”

I think you can only feel a sense of relief by looking at the pics I took from the tiny video-camera-screen: Before and after…. Like a fresh breeze at the ocean : ).

And it’s a reminder that leaving a little mess attracts a bigger mess and when the mess is huge the tidying is just much more work than putting away everything in the first place! Haha… I’m not a tidy person sooo this is a BIG effort for me. Ken is the opposite, he’s so good at “tsukatte - katasukete”  which means “use it - and then put it where it belongs immediately”. (Maybe he drives Mika and me nuts with his wisdom.)

What could you declutter today? This week? Go through a pile of paperwork? Garage? Basement? I tell you, the feeling of a clean and tidy space will give you so much energy! Why? Because of the fact that we are “energetically attached” (believe it or not ; )) to aaaaall our things. Do a garage sale, sell things on ebay, give it to charity and throw the rest away. Boooom. Relief. Space. Wonderfuuuuul!

I wish you so much fun decluttering AND reading and listening to my book-baby! : )

Have a great week. Let’s make this world more colorful, playful and joyful every day a little bit more… by being kind to yourself and others, by using the pink pen instead of the blue one… by being YOU!

Loooove yooooou 


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This is a story from my weekly Joy-Letter that goes out every Sunday. Do you want to be the first to hear my personal scrapbook stories? Then sign up below.

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