Jul 31, 2018


Most people, when I ask them what surprises them most about living in Japan, the conversation always goes to the smaller apartments. The living spaces, compared to some other countries like European ones, are absolutely tiny. And for good reason too. Japan doesn`t have all the land space to spare, so they make do with what they have. And they do it in the only way they know how. Compact everything. Well, except for having the toilet and the bath in separate rooms. That`s one “waste of space” I fully support.

Decluttering photo

But one big problem that comes with suddenly living in a smaller space is not realizing all the stuff you buy accumulates in your apartment. And now, because you live in the European equivalent of a walk-in-closet, you are suddenly having to deal with a clutter of things you bought on a whim.

I recently went through a big cleanup. It took a few weekends to finally feel like I made a dent in the stuff I had, but seeing the piles of garbage bags felt good.

I threw away papers, books, magazines, old toys, omiyage that I never gave away, old soap bottles that are too fancy for everyday use, but too old for fancy use etc.

It was a nightmare for the ol` heart to see all the possibilities go away, all the “dreams” I had, all the good ideas that never made it past buying the starter kit (models of Japanese castles, anyone?).

The next biggest hurdle I faced was the fact that the garbage truck only comes once a week for the un-recyclable items. Now I have a bunch of stuff in my entrance waiting to be cleared out. And if I miss the opening, it`s all staying for an extra week.

This has been an eye-opener. I promise I will not buy as much stuff so that my apartment doesn`t fill up as much… unless it`s on sale.



European living the Japanese dream in Kansai