by Valerie Jones | Featured Contributor
“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” -Marie Kondo
I recently moved. Again.
I think I have a problem, actually. I’ve moved 22 times in the last 28 years. That’s a lot, people! I’m really hoping I stay put this time, at least long enough to unpack all the boxes. Right now, though, there are boxes everywhere, taunting me as I walk past, with their undisclosed contents waiting to be dealt with. I try to ignore them, knowing that I’ll get around to unpacking soon. But it’s not easy. Especially when I trip over them on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
All this upheaval got me thinking about clutter. I downsized a lot when I moved, but there’s still So. Much. Stuff. Who needs all this stuff? Why do we carry around all this stuff from place to place, only to have it still sitting in a box years later, untouched and unneeded? Do I really need two mixers? My high school yearbooks? A quilt I started making when I was 16 and never finished?
There’s a lot of talk these days about de-cluttering. It’s become a bit of a buzzword, thanks to Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She’s made it cool to tidy and organize, and the internet is awash with ideas and tips on organizing your home.
I love an organized home. When my surroundings are clean, tidy and clutter free, it’s like an emotional weight has lifted. I feel physically lighter. My mood is happier. I have more mental space.
We’ve all heard that a cluttered house is the sign of a cluttered mind, right? That our exterior environment reflects our interior peace? The opposite is true, also. Clean up your surroundings and your inner life will benefit. They go hand in hand.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “I believe if you invite someone to your home, you invite them to yourself.”
So if I invited you to my home today, here’s what you might notice about me:
-I am in the middle of massive change
-I am weighed down by excess baggage
-I am in a state of distraction, overwhelm, and stress
-I love coffee and red wine
-I am aware that this is just a season, and that I am actively working towards a simpler, more peaceful existence.
If you invited me to your home today, what might I notice about you?
Take a look around your environment, either your home or your office. What do you notice? Is it orderly, tidy, and clean? Would you be able to quickly and easily find anything you needed? Or is it chaos, confusion, and clutter?
The important thing to remember is this: We are all on a journey towards our best selves. If you are living in a two bedroom apartment with two kids and a dog, and your home is overflowing with sippy cups and Lego, understand that you are in a season where tidiness and organization will not be your top priority. Getting down on the floor and playing with your child is more important than having a spotless house. Perhaps, though, you could do just one thing a day that would help you to feel a bit more organized and lighter. Organize your sock drawer when the kids are napping. Get them to help you tidy the playroom. Or – here’s one that I used when my kids were little – clean the fridge, but only one shelf a day. One shelf will take about ten minutes, and by the end of the week, voila! Clean fridge!
My point is, we can take anything too far and allow it to consume us. The last thing we need is guilt about not being organized, right? That’s not what this is about. And if you are feeling guilt because your home is cluttered, stop right now, and don’t do a thing! There are too many
people women out there obsessing about needing to have a spotless, perfect home. Don’t let yourself fall into that trap. It’s a false sense of control that never works.
What does work, and it’s what Marie Kondo is getting at in her book, is when you do it from a place of desire (not because you want to impress your friends). Desire for a simple, beautiful life that brings you peace and joy. A home that sings to you and inspires you. Everything in it is there because it serves a purpose, whether that purpose is to serve you or to inspire you.
That’s what I want! I want a home that sings to me when I walk in the door! I want to feel inspired when I look around, and I want to feel the inner peace and calm that comes from a clutter free home.
It’s gonna take me awhile to get there. Life is busy, and kids and dogs just generate MESS.
That’s okay with me though.
One day at a time, one corner of one room at a time. Just like everything else in life, change doesn’t happen overnight. It requires consistency, intention, and persistence.
What do you want your home to say about you? Take a look around, and, with great compassion and gentleness with yourself, notice what you see. Really look. Consider that what you see around you might be a reflection of what is going on within.
What needs to change? Make a list of areas of your home that need some TLC. Create a plan of action and execute. Make small, manageable steps towards your goal, and before you know it, your home will begin to sing, and you will feel lighter, freer and more energetic.