I’ve never been one to have a perfect house. In fact, more often than not my house used to be crazy.
As moms we all face the constant threat of clutter. There are always little minions going behind us, poised to undo everything we just did. When we got pregnant with our third I finally said, “Enough is enough! I’m throwing everything away.”
That’s when I started reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
If you’ve not read it or aren’t familiar with the KonMari method, it’s basically this: don’t organize more, have less.
Marie Kondo began her fascination with organization and tidying at a young age. She takes you through the trials and errors of tidying through her youth and, finally, brings you to her method.
It sounded pretty legit, so I began my purge. Category by category I began to let things go and little by little I realized that I had been holding on to things I didn’t even need. It’s kind of amazing what happens when you actually take a good, hard look at the crap in your back closet and think, “do I actually need this?”
Marie recommends holding each item in your hand and gauging your emotional reaction towards it. Ask yourself a simple question: does it spark joy? If the answer is no, thank it for serving you and release it.
Yeah, yeah, I know. It sounds a little crazy. Do I really need to hold a pair of pants in my hand and thank it? But there’s a method to her madness. You begin with easy things like clothes, books, kitchen items, and then graduate to the harder things like sentimental objects. The order is on purpose. By the time you’ve thanked your dictionary, tea kettle and skinny jeans and released them, you’re an old pro. When you get to sentimental objects, you’re so practiced you’re able to let them go.
I’m not all the way through getting rid of everything but I will tell you that something very interesting happens when you begin this process. When you only keep things that spark joy, you start to see joy manifest in your life. When you are so practiced in only holding on to the physical items that bring you happiness, you begin to let go of the emotional and psychological things that don’t also.
For me, emptying my closet and getting rid of the clothes I was holding on to but genuinely do not like was paradigm-shifting. My husband and I are very young parents (I’ll be 26 in April when our third baby is due) so we’ve struggled to make our way in the world while raising two small children. We’ve gone without luxuries, skipped events with friends and cut corners as much as we can to make ends meet. Thankfully, we’re in a much more stable place now than we were when we first had our oldest daughter but, in my mind, we were still struggling desperately. Hoarding clothes, shoes and jewelry I never wore made me feel more secure but I think it also put my focus on “stuff” All the stuff I didn’t or couldn’t have. It made me unhappy. It made me upset to see all the things I didn’t love hanging in my closet and knowing I couldn’t replace them with things that I did. So I resigned myself to keeping things I hated.
When I filled my first bag of donation clothes, I got a rush. I ended up filling and donating seven full trash bags of clothes and shoes and it is now SO easy to get dressed at a moment’s notice and look put together because I’m not rifling through a bunch of crap that doesn’t make me happy. All the clothes I kept make me happy.
I also do less laundry because I have less and I’m not terrified for guests to come over because there isn’t a mess to clean. My kids also seem to enjoy the peaceful space I’ve been able to create.
As I evaluate and release more and more items, my mind and spirit seem lifted. When you only keep the things that spark joy, you… well, you spark joy. The physical act of ridding yourself of things you don’t love has a profound effect on you as a person.
If you’ve ever considered reading the book or perhaps you’re looking around your house like I was thinking “man, this could be so much better,” check it out. It truly is life changing magic. Couldn’t we all use a little more joy in our lives?