“THE BEST WAY TO FIND OUT WHAT WE REALLY NEED IS TO GET RID OF WHAT WE DON’T.” —MARIE KONDO
While some people are born with a natural capacity to be tidy, I came into this world accepting that life is messy. In fact, I did not learn the value of organizing until I was well into adulthood. I have a tendency to move rather quickly through life, and messes can sometimes follow in my wake.
My older sister inherited the tidiness gene; she used to reorganize my backpack and binder before and after school. After she was done with my backpack, she would move on to my desk. While I walked around like a small absent-minded professor, with papers spewing out of my backpack and unbrushed hair, she made sure everything was just so.
To this day, she is one of those mothers who, despite having two small children, gets through mealtimes and painting activities without any evidence left on her outfit. Given the same scenario, my outfit looks like it has become the canvas—food and paint stains abound.
While I may not have the tidiness gene, I have learned (through much effort) the art of decluttering and tidying. I find tidy spaces put my mind at ease. And for a personality like mine—one that tends to head out grocery shopping wearing my child’s food on my shirt—having few possessions and less clutter is all the more important.
I find decluttering to be a spiritual practice. At the very least, tidying clears my head. I agree with Marie Kondo when she says, “The inside of a house or apartment after decluttering has much in common with a Shinto shrine… a place where there are no unnecessary things, and our thoughts become clear.”
Marie Kondo’s simple and beautiful method of tidying shared in her bestselling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is grounded in the age-old wisdom that your outer space tends to reflect your inner space. Her work has been celebrated by millions of people who are carving out a new culture of simplifying amongst a dominant paradigm of excess. This powerful movement is rooted in the importance of valuing the planet’s precious (limited) resources, living within our means, and buying fewer material goods. Spending less time buying things frees up time for relationships and personal growth.
Decluttering benefits anyone in charge of creating and cleaning a home regardless of your natural disposition toward organization. After all, when we take the time to choose which possessions are worth keeping and let go of the rest, we have fewer things to sort and clean. This benefits the health of everyone who spends time inside our homes—a clean, organized home collects less dust and the air will be easier to breathe. Plus there is a light, creative energy that is palpable in a tidy home.
If you are ready to do some spring tidying and cleaning, but don’t have time to read Marie Kondo’s books, it may be helpful to start with a couple key principles.
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Edited by Alison Baenen