Tidying up

This book is everywhere these days. Back when I blogged about my 2015 word (simplify), my aunt introduced me to it by emailing this story. My inspirational friend, Sarah, and I have talked about it. Kelsey blogged about it and talked about it with Erica on the Girl Next Door Podcast. When I had it on my desk at work, a colleague saw it and said how much it inspires her for an upcoming cross-country move. And when I read it, I really liked it. It was already in line with my plans for a pre-move purge and garage sale. I energetically dove in. The purge happened and garage sale went surprisingly successfully (thanks in large part to support from friends and equally sharing in the work by Hubs).

So now we’re in our new place. Much of our stuff is unpacked, and we’ve turned in the keys to the old, musty, scary house. Still, I don’t feel settled. According to Marie Kondo, everything in my house should either spark joy or be there out of absolute necessity. But rather than focusing on this seemingly simple concept, I’ve been making Target/Home Depot runs and Amazon orders in an effort to further organize things that probably shouldn’t be there in the first place.

So much of The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up resonated with me that I thought it would be easy to do what Kondo suggests: that people take six months to a year to fully tidy up their lives. At first I was confused about why she said it would take so long. I assumed that I could do a lot of de-owning pre- and post-move, and then it would be over. But my relationship to my stuff is more complicated than that. It has changed immensely as we’ve gone from 1800 square feet to 850, and from nine closets to three and a half. The de-owning pre-move may have been enough for the larger space. I’ve taken three completely full carloads to the thrift store since then. But the new space still does not feel right. In the effort to find a place for everything, I’ve bought into the illusion that storage will solve the problem of owning too much. I am only just starting to see just how much of a process it will be to deliberately choose to have own only that which sparks joy. Luckily, I chose simplify as my word for the whole year.

Have you read the book? How has it affected your life?

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