Hello my friends!
I've mentioned a few times lately that I've been on a mission lately -- one of epic proportions. I've been so focused on clearing STUFF from our house. I've been at it for a couple months now -- since the kitchen reno is moving a long again I haven't made as much time for it, but that's changing.
The desire to keep moving is like nothing I've experienced before. I've told you before that decluttering and purging is an incredible feeling. I swear there's nothing like it. I get an emotional high from it, honestly. For me it all comes down to feeling in control of my life -- when things are crazy or busy or stressful, it is an instant pick-me-up.
But this time it's more than that. I declutter a lot -- typically at least a couple times a year and each time it takes me a few weeks. But I keep doing it…again…and again. We're not bringing in that much more than we get rid of. In fact I feel it's the opposite. I'm pretty on top of it when it comes to keeping up with clutter.
No, now it's something different. It's a desire to have an easier, less stressed life. Our house is fairly well organized, but I struggle in some areas. All summer long, when we'd decide to make a trip to the pool, I'd stress because I couldn't find our bathing suits. I want to walk to the drawer they go in and find them. For me that means keeping up with laundry. And to keep up with laundry we need to get rid of some clothes -- we have way too many.
When the kiddo needs a paper for school I'd like to walk right to the spot where I know it will be and not search the house for it. That means a dedicated spot for papers (I'm pretty good at that now) and sorting through this spot at least weekly. That I'm not good at.
When I want to work on a project and I know I've already purchased the supplies, I want to know exactly where those items are. Not search the messy garage for them. That means not buying too much before I'm ready to tackle it and having a place to put it away.
These are just a few of the things that I struggle with and are examples of how I want to lead an "easier" life. I'm sure many of you can identify with that. I wrote about this years ago soon after my father-in-law passed. Going through my husband's childhood home was bittersweet -- we found some items that brought back so many wonderful memories. But it was also mentally and emotionally draining. I knew then I didn't want to leave the same for our kids. Since then I've been more deliberate when it comes to decluttering, but lately I'm more focused on it than ever.
A few weeks ago I came across this book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and the reviews are crazy:
Crazy good for the most part. I've heard over and over and over that the book changes people's lives. Changes lives. That's a powerful book. I got it and was so excited to read, but wanted to really dedicate my time to it so I waited till I finished The Girl on the Train first. ;) Now I'm completely obsessed with it.
I'm turning 40 in a few short weeks and I'll tell you what -- my tolerance for disorganization and extra stuff lessens with each day of my life. Part of it is just maturing and knowing stuff is not the key to a happy life. The other part of it is a general dislike of feeling overwhelmed. I am seeking a more peaceful life. That's what this book is all about.
My major was in public relations and my minor was psych -- I've always been intrigued with how the mind works and I could eat this book up with a spoon. It's utterly fascinating. Every few sentences I'm nodding my head and thinking she's speaking directly to me. I haven't highlighted a book since college but I'm highlighting every other sentence in this one. For me, someone who loves to dissect why we do the things we do, this is pure joy.
Speaking of joy -- the bottom line of this book is that you need to look at your items in a different way. First and foremost, do your items bring you happiness? If a pair of jeans don't fit and that makes you sad, do those jeans bring you happiness? Probably not. If an item is broken and you've been meaning to fix it for six months, does it bring you happiness? I'm guessing no.
Also, this part I love -- she focuses on the fact that we should be going through our items and choosing what we want to keep, not deciding what we want to get rid of. That is HUGE people! I have always stood there in front of a pile and gone through the mantras of "Have I worn it lately? Have I used it in the past few months? Will I ever use it again?" Instead, I should be looking at the pile and asking myself, is there anything in this pile that makes me really happy? (Or also, is it really useful?) If not, I don't need to keep it.
It's really the process of getting to this quote:
I think at times there's a stigma when it comes to keeping an organized, fairly clutter-free home. It's almost frowned upon sometimes, which I've never understood. There's this underlying feeling of well, she must not have kids, if she does she doesn't spend time with them, they must not live in their home…and usually none of that is the case. Some people are just organized and you know what? Everyone I know who keeps a more organized house than me is really, really happy. Their kids are happy, their marriage is good. It doesn't have to mean giving up one thing for another. It also doesn't mean being clutter-free will fix your life, but it has more power than I think we realize.
I think those people have figured out what this book is about. (Although I've heard from many who feel they have a clutter-free home and even they say they learned from it.)
Marie Kondo recommends taking a different approach than I'm used to. Typically I hit a room at a time -- I've always done that. But she makes an excellent point -- if you focus on one room at a time you're not seeing the whole problem. Like earlier this week I did our master closet. But she recommends taking ALL of the clothes in the house to one spot and then going through them. Obviously in most households that would be a ton of work, so she suggests breaking it down into maybe just shirts, or pants. I can see doing that. She says doing it this way also helps you to really SEE how much you have of something, and that makes perfect sense to me too. Her point is that most of us have too much stuff, and we're usually blissfully ignorant to that fact when we focus on one area at a time.
It's true. This woman speaks to me. ;) I am thoroughly enjoying this book. Now some find it to be a little…goofy. I'm not really far in but from my understanding she recommends taking your items in your hands and talking to them…things like that. I'm not above trying it, ha! But that definitely turns some people off. Also, it is obvious from stories of her past that she has some OCD tendencies (and even admits it), so she is an extreme. But I still find myself agreeing with everything she says. It is a really interesting read.
And you can turn it into a drinking game -- she says "tidy" a LOT. OK yeah, don't do that.
Have you read this book? I do think it will change our life. It is definitely changing the way I look at things in our home. I don't know that I'll take it to the extreme but it helps me to focus on what we love and use. I'm on my way to a "lighter" house…for good. And let me be clear -- I don't want a perfect house. We live in our home and I will never be one to worry about occasional messes or toys or whatever. I don't want it to be perfect, I want it to be peaceful.
Affiliate link included for your convenience.