This Christmas my mom (love you mom?) gave me a book, the life-changing magic of tidying up, by Marie Kondo. I’m sure most of you have at least heard of it. By no means am I a super organized woman. There’s an endless cycle at my house, and it goes a little something like this ?:
- Clean the house and put things away…
- Live our daily lives. Cooking, running to and from school, basketball, the gym, the store, the store again, eat, sleep, repeat
- Laundry…how many people live here again?
- Wake up to a house that looks like a miniature tornado went through it
- Run around cleaning the house and putting things wherever they seem to go
- Repeat steps 2 -5 FOREVER
I have my Pinterest boards where I pin organization hacks and pretty pictures of how someone has formed a boring pile of their stuff into an eye catching masterpiece. I also follow a few IG accounts that can only be described as organization porn at its finest. Back to the book. First of all, it’s a quick and painless read. So, if you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to read it, it’s not a time consuming event. Personally, I enjoy getting rid of unnecessary items around the house maybe too much. I think everyone tends to buy more than they need, some more than others. The first step in the book is to go through you items by category and discard what you don’t keep. She explains this as going around the entire house and finding every item that fits that category and putting it all out in front of you preferably on the floor. Every. Single. Item. This method helps you to confront your belongings all at once. It creates a bigger impact on your mind than if you were to just go through your things room by room. Let me tell you, it works! The sheer amount of crap we accumulate is disturbing. Why do we have so much stuff?! You must not store anything, or put it away until the very end of the discarding phase.Now, being the mom of a toddler who is LOVES to be my little helper makes this process a smidge more complicated. However, it isn’t impossible. The process just required me to make a few adjustments. These include: not working in silence or alone, but with music and Netflix playing in the background; frequent interruptions and breaks lasting hours and even a day or two; keeping a few items to think about getting rid of but not pulling the trigger immediately (I did end up getting rid of them). I don’t think the process was hurt too badly by these changes, you gotta do what you gotta do. She does say not to change the process just to suit your personality, and I wholly agree with that. Marie Kondo has a list of categories in the order she specifically suggests you follow: clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and things of sentimental value. Each of these are then split into even more detailed subcategories. While going through your belongings, you ask yourself, does this spark joy? I asked myself, do I love this? If I was in the store would I have to buy this to be happy?
So far, I have only completed the first category, Clothes.
Clothes, oh boy, I’m not even much of a shopper and the amount of clothing I had to go through was ridiculous. It seemed like it took forever. The biggest surprise for me was the amount of clothing that I didn’t even like, let alone love or find joy in. I started getting crazy and throwing everything I didn’t absolutely love into the buh bye piles. I made two piles, a donate pile and a toss in the garbage pile. It was exhilarating, in the past when I’ve gone through my clothes I have held on to pieces just because. My reasons were usually that it was a gift or too expensive to just get rid of. This book gave me permission to let it all go. Those reasons just didn’t matter anymore. If it was an expensive item I gave myself permission to let it go so someone else can enjoy it the way I once had. If it was a gift, I let the guilt of feeling pressured to keep it fly out the window. One of the things she says to do is thank your belongings for their service or time. When I decided to write this post I started by researching what other bloggers had to say about this book. I didn’t want to just regurgitate the same old info out into the interwebs. I found a recurring theme in most of the posts I read, negativity. Almost every person had said they enjoyed the book and it worked great but they chose to ignore a few strange things she had to say. One of them being to talk to your things, more specifically to thank them. Some of the people were really taken back by this and extremely vocal about it, even making jokes. Yeah, I know, it’s kind of funny if you think of it strictly in the literal sense of “oh hey toilet paper thanks for all you did today, you really helped me out a lot!” I suppose it’s all about interpretation. I chose to think of thanking my things as simply a way to appreciate them. The more you appreciate something, the better you take care of it and cherish it. In turn, the more likely you are to put it where it belongs after every time you use it. Don’t get me wrong, I love that those bloggers shared their opinions with the world, I’m just glad my perspective on the book is different.
For me, it wasn’t about just de-cluttering my things, my home, it became more, it became about the act of de-cluttering my mind and discarding this version of who I thought I was supposed to be, who I should be. It has helped me move on and see more clearly who I really am and how I want to live my life without the past and all of its junk weighing me down. It’s hard to realize how much these seemingly unimportant things truly affect our lives until our perspective is shifted.