I am on a constant mission to be cleaner. I actually feel like a crazy person a majority of the time. At night, I can’t go to sleep with dishes in the sink. I despise clutter. I have no idea what to do with all of the paper mail that I receive, but the stacks and stacks of mail make me angry. So, with those character traits (some might call them flaws) in mind, I picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
Just so you know, I was skeptical. I’m already a pretty clean person and every year I donate a lot of my belongings to keep my cleanliness level up to par. But, what I learned as I read this book is that it isn’t about cleanliness at all. You can be clean but also cluttered. I think that maybe that is what I am right now, clean but cluttered. This book is all about tidying- which in Kondo’s sense of the word means having only pieces that you love.
On the first weekend with this book in hand, Nathan and I went through our clothes and organized our closet. Between the two of us, we donated eleven bags of clothes to Potter’s House here in Fayetteville. They weren’t ratty or worn out. They were nice clothes that we had hanging in the closet but never wore. I had a pair of blue jeans that I bought in college that, while they still fit, I’m never going to wear them because they do not fall under the category of jeggings and are therefor uncomfortable. I had way too many clothes that had been hanging out in the closet for literally years and I had no intention of wearing them.
After that first successful weekend, I knew that I wanted to continue, so when we got up this past weekend, we went through the dining room area. Now, Kondo doesn’t recommend going room by room, and we aren’t really. I would just say a majority of the items that we donated were found in the dining room. We were able to eliminate some pieces that I used to love, but that no longer brought me joy. One particular piece is an old door that Nathan and I converted into a shelf. It was really great when we built it three years ago, but it doesn’t really match our style any more and donating it allowed us to turn our dining room table a different direction which in turn made our dining room feel huge.
Getting rid of and donating items is the action that leads to peace. I didn’t realize how stressed out I was because of all the clutter that I was dealing with. Kondo says that items that you keep should spark joy, so it has been really really easy to say goodbye to pieces. In a way, she gave me permission to say “I really loved this piece at one time, and it did bring me joy. Now, though, it’s time to let that piece move on and bring someone else joy.”
I know this book won’t be for everyone, but I do say that the idea of being surrounded by pieces that bring me joy is a tempting idea. I’ll let you know how it all progresses. Have you read this book? Was it life-changing?