I was first intrigued seeing this little book a couple months ago at the checkout display of Chapters – a store I frequent a little too often : )
Something about ‘life changing, and magic’ caught my attention…not to mention the ‘NY Times bestseller’ sticker by a book coming from Japan where I knew firsthand through my Japanese sister-in-law that being organized and beautiful is an ART. I get inspired by the colourful lunches she makes for her kids.
How a little book on TIDYING is changing my MINDSET around Clutter – and effectively my life experience for the better.
What is clutter? Stuff we have we don’t need or want. Who doesn’t need the practice of “letting it go”? Suddenly I find myself easily discarding stuff I’ve held onto for years.
The Goal: having ONLY the stuff you LOVE that brings you JOY. Clothes you love to wear that makes you smile. Furniture, and decor that brings comfort and ease with a space of order, and serenity. Books, and possessions you truly desire. Everything has a well-deserved ‘home’ because it’s wanted in the first place.
Less is more. More importantly, the quality of your ‘less’ is something you stand up for that changes as you GROW so you need to keep ‘discarding’. The challenge is we buy 3 things, and only toss 1, and sometimes it grows to 10:1. We need to discern what to hold onto regularly, and this includes the people in our lives.
What does it take to let go to create a space of serenity surrounded by ALL that you love? A radical shift in your mind-set. I read the introduction, and was hooked…
“..a person’s awareness and perspective on his or her own lifestyle are far more important than any skill at sorting, storing, or whatever. Order is dependent on the extremely personal values of what a person wants to live with…when you’ve finished putting your house in order, your life will change dramatically…never again will you revert to clutter.”
Clutter is the stuff that gets in our way, which leads to the proverbial ‘we get in our own way’. What if you could extend this principle to the people in your life?
A few years ago, I realized that the greatest purpose of my relationships is my need to grow spiritually – this brings me JOY. Can I share myself authentically? Do I relate to how someone else is showing up where we have space to laugh and cry? Am I holding onto people who drain me? What space do I create with the people in my life?
I’d learned how to apply this principle ‘what brings me joy’ to my relationships (a massive growth process that’s ongoing that led to my message of living judgment-free came), but I hadn’t been applying it to my ‘stuff’. There’s a step by step with a deliberate “do or do not” attitude – no “tidying a little at a time or you’ll be tidying forever.”
She not only admits to every mistake I’ve ever made on getting organized, but has strong evidence her “KonMari Method” works. People do not revert back to clutter. It reminds me of the spiritual path – once you become ‘aware’ – there’s no turning back.
WHAT drains you begs the question she uses to discard: Does this spark joy? Run your hands over it. Reflect on it with your heart not your head. Why does having this matter to you? Dig deep: what exactly does this give me that I cherish?
Here’s a couple examples of her principles that’s already changing my mindset:
1. Aim for Perfection. Doing a little each day is doomed. Half-heartedly cleaning leads to constant tidying.
I started multi-tasking big-time when 3 children under age 2 arrived (son & twin girls – 21 months apart). I had no choice. The juggling multiple diaper changes, feeding, and laundry began, and my sense of time changed forever. I lost control over my agenda. Their needs didn’t follow a predictable schedule though I tried! When I finally thought I had them figured out, something would change.
They grew, and I tried again not realizing I had now entered the realm of doing things ‘a little bit at a time’, and needed to change this mindset.
I remember a conversation with my girlfriend Nicole who shared how she stays on top of her laundry by starting on Friday, and it’s all folded and put away by end of the weekend. There are no exceptions. There was a beginning, and end – perfection.
It sounded harsh, but the occasional time I tried it, my week felt lighter not seeing half done laundry everywhere. There was more space to enjoy. She does the same thing with her mail – Fridays she picks up, and bills were paid by Sunday night & everything filed away! No more ‘did I pay that bill?’, and no filing piling up to do a ‘little at a time’.
2. Sort by category not by room. How often do you store stuff in more than one room in your home? Its difficult to make the decision to discard, she writes, if you don’t have everything together. I found myself tidying up the recreation room at our family cottage last weekend; a huge garbage bag of unused toys, old crafts, outdated books accumulated. I hesitated, but ended up tossing incomplete card decks, and forgot to check the other rooms where cards were being stored. Lesson learned!
3. Discard before you store. I’ve succumbed to what she calls the ‘booby trap’ of convenient storage – the easy route that does not address the real problem. Eventually everything is overflowing again no matter how well I organize!
What I love is her rationale for everything. It’s logical. There are steps. And it all comes back to a well known fact she includes: Everything is energy. Even our socks that get pounded being walked on all day need space to ‘relax’, and not be rolled into a ball for storing!! Physical, emotional, and mental energy that is directed by our spiritual energy of ‘Why bother in the first place – what is the purpose of anything if it doesn’t bring you joy?’
Energy is within us, and surrounds us, and exists in all our stuff. And we’re all connected. There is no part where I end, and you begin. When we consciously choose to surround ourselves with the things, and people who light us up – what happens? Everything moves into a higher frequency. We live in alignment with our outer world matching our inner light.
On a deeper level, it’s about surrendering ourselves, and our need to control. We want people to behave the way we want. We expect others to do things the way we think it should be. We get disappointed, and irritated with someone not getting us.
I had to let go of some friends once I began following this principle – we were growing apart, and the joy meter was falling fast. I noticed differences with family members, and carved out a healthy distance I can manage now. It opened the space to experience deeper relationships in ways I didn’t know existed.
It’s changing the way I look at exercise – a little each day? A goal I used to have is now turning into what has worked all these years: a committed approach to fitness that brings me joy in the form of ‘peace, energy and strength’. Why I was so attracted to doing pilates for over a decade when exercising is the last thing on my list!
I am looking forward to finishing a book that gives me a way to apply what I’d been practicing to do with people to my ‘stuff’. I anticipate feeling a bit sad when I reach the last page. The sign for me of a truly transformational book – like I’ve lost a friend.