I am, by nature, a very neat and organized person. As a little girl, I loved spending time cleaning, reorganizing, and rearranging my bedroom, and when I finished, I felt such a sense of pride and accomplishment. Some things never change, as I continued this pattern, albeit on a larger scale, as an adult and a homeowner. Even after having two children, my home remained tidy, yet warm and inviting, and I pride myself on this.
So, when various friends of mine began reading and recommending Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”, I politely smiled and thought to myself, “I don’t need to read a book about tidying up. I am not one of those people”. Every time I would pass it on a bookshelf, though, it would catch my eye and beckon to me, and each time, I resisted. Until two weeks ago.
As I perused the bookshelves searching for a book to read on an upcoming business trip, I spotted it yet again and resigned myself to give a quick once over. Almost as soon as I cracked open the book’s spine and glanced at Marie’s words, it drew me in and held my attention from the first page to the last page, as it had more to do with creating the life you desire than it does with cleaning tips. As I read page after page, I found myself looking more and more forward to tidying up my seemingly neat home. This weekend, I finally had the time to do so.
There is something about tackling such a task in the peace and solitude of a quiet home, as my daughters are with their dad, on an oppressively hot weekend, and seeing the task to completion that feels good. Really good. It is almost meditative, much like trail running or taking a long drive alone. Despite embracing the overall concepts of Marie’s book, I still had lingering doubts that I would have much tidying up to do. Three trips to a local non-profit agency with boxes and bags of items to donate, four overflowing recycling bins, and three trash cans later, I realized how wrong I was, and I couldn’t have been happier about it.
Following Marie’s “KonMari Method”, albeit with my own twist (I did not fold my socks), I delved into the recesses of the nooks and crannies of my home, choosing what to keep, donate, recycle, and remove, and found myself delving into the recesses of my mind along the way. At first, it seemed counterintuitive to give away a perfectly good item based on the fact that I simply did not like it or find joy in it, but with each item, it got easier and easier, until it became second nature. I donated home décor items that belong in someone else’s home other than mine, as they do not have any meaning to me, other than they sit there and look pretty. Unintentionally, I had surrounded myself with books, clothing, and household items that looked good on the outside, yet lacked any substance or meaning to me on the inside.
As I worked my way through my home, it occurred to me how much time and energy we spend on making sure our lives, especially the ones we put on display on social media, look presentable on the outside, when they bear little resemblance to this on the inside. We have become a culture of “likes”, “follows”, “retweets”, etc., yet how many of us leave the public arena of being praised and adored for a life that is not genuine for a private life that is sorely lacking what we have falsely created on-line. Sometimes, the distance between our reality and our façade is merely a small gap, other times, it is a chasm. Either way, if the many facets of our lives do not align with one another, then we have created a life that is anything but our own. This weekend, without fully understanding the impact tidying up would have on my physical and emotional space, I recommitted to taking ownership of a life I love in the present and future.
As I let go of the things that did not support where my life is at this moment and where I see it going, I felt those familiar feelings of pride and accomplishment return, accompanied by feelings of happiness and excitement about the fresh start that comes with having a clean home and a renewed sense of self. So, was this really “the life changing magic of tidying up”? Stay tuned, as I have a feeling that it was, is, and will be.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story