There are many tasks I enjoy as a stay at home mother, but cleaning and organizing isn’t one of them. I love to cook and sew and all that involves children….but for some reason I have never been drawn to the clean side of life. I kinda like it messy, and colorful, and busy. That’s just how I roll. But, my sweet reader, something new has taken over. The light bulb has been turned on! I have read Marie Kondo’s New York Times Bestseller, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It truly is magic. I think you should go check it out from the library, or buy it!
As I traveled with my family this summer on our fifteen day long excursion, I learned that there is nothing more comforting or peaceful than finding the thing you put away is in it’s spot. Kondo advises that everything has a place to belong, but before you store anything, you must touch everything and seriously purge your home of all things you do not want. She asks you to only keep those things that give you a “spark of joy.” It took me some time to understand what that meant exactly because I do not get a spark of joy from my spatula or toilet paper, but they are a necessity. What she means is: of the things one can choose, clothes, books, decorations, and just stuff- how much of it do you find truly wonderful? That shirt that you bought on a special trip with your husband that fits weird? Yes, give it away. Even if you remember where all your stuffed animals came from, you don’t need them anymore. It’s okay to say goodbye. If you find that you are extremely connected to something sentimental, you could take a photo to put in a family album with a short note describing it’s significance!
“One of the magical effects of tidying is confidence in your decision making capacity. Tidying means taking each item in your hand, asking yourself whether it sparks joy, and deciding on this basis whether or not to keep it. By repeating this process hundreds and thousands of times, we naturally hone our decision making skills.”
After throwing away at least five trash bags of things that were not sparking joy and giving away a carload of other things, I feel a surprising amount of peace, knowing that my home is far from perfect, but that it really is possible!! I have thoroughly KonMaried my own room, and closet, the little children’s room, the kitchen, and the dining room. Now I only have the pantry, the school room, and the ever so daunting basement.(I will let the hubby do the garage and big girls are amazingly tidy in their own room, God Bless them)! Kondo recommends decluttering by category, not by space, and I really like her idea of going through all the clothes on your living room floor, shocking yourself with how much you have, and then seriously and intentionally going through each item….But something tells me tiny little Marie does not have eight children!!! And all that goes along with it! SO, I did take her advice while going through my own things, and I am resolute about KonMaring my entire house, but if I did put all our stuff on the living room floor by category, it would look like Anthony’s pasta pot in the Strega Nona books- over flowing out the door and into the town! So scary!
I definitely recommend this book if you are in need of a house detox. It will be magic, and it will make your family and even better, YOU happy to have everything in a place! I have a little bit of a junk drawer problem, and it was really neat how after going through all of them, I’m too embarrassed to tell how many.. (okay, 5)! I found a very common thread, the space was all the same. There were pens, pencils, hair ties, coins, batteries, and jewelry all together at the bottom of them. Like graffiti that teenagers paint with an unskilled hand, these scatterings were so familiar I had begun to just assume that is what belongs at the bottom of all drawers! Now having a designated battery drawer, and hair drawer, and even an electrical cord drawer- I can’t believe I haven’t fixed this before, and I am super motivated to do the whole house…. so there are no more lurking messy spots clouding my subconscious!
I also have a trash picking problem. I see furniture and different loveliness by the side of the road, and I see it’s beauty…Are you like that? I love dilapidation because I can see how wonderful something would look if it was just given a little wash & tenderness. Its like ‘runt of the litter syndrome’ or something. Maybe that’s why I love children, I can see their potential, what they will one day become, and I get inspired to help them get there. It happened to me today! I saw a simple wooden desk sitting there by the side of the road, looking very inviting, like all it needed was a chair, and me to sit at it, perhaps I could dust it off and set some beautiful fresh flowers on it, or a little pot of tea…and it could be my writing desk! I was so high off this stupid desk, until I looked in my review mirror and saw the piles of belongings I was on my way to drop at Saint Vincent De Paul’s….before I put my van in reverse I had to ask myself the question I never, but always should ask…..”But where will you put your new writing desk?”
The spark of joy vanished. There is no more space. In fact, I currently have a television hutch chillin like a villain in my living room….sideways….in the middle of the walk way, because I moved the room around, and it made the hutch homeless. I haven’t been able to get rid of it, even though we don’t have a television because I love that it is a cabinet, and you can shut the doors when you don’t want to look at the TV. You see that! All that rationalizing for that silly thing. And it’s been sitting there for months. I think there is a spiritual component too, we don’t have to live like Depression era- hoarders, saving popsicle sticks that could potentially be used as buttons if the world comes to an end, because God is so good, and he supplies everything we need! Every time my kids grow out of clothes, or I really want/need something, God gives it to me, usually on a golden platter. I could tell you so many stories about this! It’s really quite amazing how it happens. That being said, I could get rid of that hutch, and maybe someone in my neighborhood is praying for that exact thing right now, and I could bless them while also freeing up my walkway. My husband may even speak to me again! Just kidding!!! No, but he really would be happy.
Ok. So you see, it does work. Tomorrow I will get rid of the hutch! And if and when we get another TV, a perfect hutch will come along! I believe in God giving you good gifts if you ask for them, and I also believe in the life changing magic of tidying up.
I want to hear your organizing stories!! Do share!!