BOOK: Marie Kondō’s Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
I was not a tidy person growing up. My mom always told me I was “like a snake shedding it’s skin” when I came home from school – I dumped my things in succession, from the front door to my room, with every intention to “clean it up later.” My mom eventually gave up on nagging me, mainly because she had two other kids to deal with, and probably because I was the “invisible” middle child.
Needless to say, when I became an adult, I wasn’t much better. It surprised me that my husband, who lived (and still lives) a very sparse lifestyle wanted to marry me. Yes, my messiness was the least appealing of my qualities, but I suppose like medication, my benefits outweigh the risks.
It took another woman for me to want to be clean and neat. Two other women, specifically; but generally a whole nation of women. When I started hanging out with my friend Aya a few years ago, I was extremely impressed with how clean her home was, and how she neatly labeled practically every drawer and cabinet with it’s contents. She was very into cleaning, and I attributed it to her Japanese heritage. Fast forward to a year ago, when I met my brother’s wife (then-girlfriend). She was also of Japanese descent, and introduced me to the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō. “Cleaning is an art,” was a phrase she taught my daughter, who was immediately taken by her.
“Ok, I’ll take a look, but I don’t think it’s possible for me,” is what I said to myself as I started reading about the “KonMari Method,” a self-coined phrase by the author. In the book, I learned different reasons why people hold on to things, and examples of how Ms. Kondō came about her calling to tidying. The most important part for me was saying goodbye to your things, and understanding they served their purpose.
When I finally had a chance to go through round one of my clothes, it took all weekend. My husband, who was thrilled with my newfound interest in tidying, took care of the kid to make sure she stayed out of the way so I could carry out my organizing duties. I held on tightly to some of the items, recalled fond memories, and said my parting words. Let me tell you, after I was finished, it was the most invigorating feeling.
I felt refreshed, renewed, and free. I had no idea how much emotional baggage was tied into my things. They were “just in case”, “maybe”, or “future” items that sat in a dormant state for too long. Getting rid of them allowed me to mentally release those thoughts and live in the present.
My goal for the new year is to gradually move towards a minimalist lifestyle, which is part of something even greater that benefits my mental and physical health. I know it’s not something I an do overnight, but a challenge I’ve accepted and will strive towards.
If you haven’t read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō yet, I highly recommend it, especially for the new year. It will make you wish exactly what I want for Christmas, which is nothing.
Purchase The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
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