Happy New Year!
I hope you had a fantastic holiday, filled with good company, laughter, and above all love. 2017 ended in a whirlwind for us. We moved into our first home just before Christmas. Somehow we managed to clean, paint, move, and throw a Christmas eve party! I would describe the experience as wonderful chaos.
Since moving we’ve been going through our things, deciding what to keep, what to let go of, and where to put what.
Just before the holidays, a copy of Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” found its way to me. Does this ever happen to you? The book you need at the time just happens to land in your lap?
Well, with the move, this seemed like the ideal book to be reading.
As someone who is a little on the messy side (to the perpetual chagrin of my very orderly and patient husband), I was both overwhelmed and excited by the prospect of changing habits that had been bothering me for a while.
I also loved Marie Kondo’s central guiding principle, that she poses as a question: Does this spark joy?
So, we had our first marathon cleaning spree on Sunday evening. She says to start with clothing and she’s thought of everything. All you have to do is follow her method.
We started with discarding. Which can also be thought of deciding what you want to keep. We held each item, and asked ourselves, “Does this spark joy?”
It was such a neat experience! An exercise in self-awareness to physically hold each piece of clothing we had, and ask ourselves quite an existential question. The things I kept brought a smile to my face. The things that didn’t bring me joy anymore (in some cases, they never had!), I did as Marie Kondo suggested, and thanked them for their service, then placed them in the donation bag.
It took some time to learn how to fold the clothing according to her method. Marie also has a way she likes clothes ordered in closets.
Three hours later, we were finished.
I stood back and took in all of our hard work. The clothing looked like these perfect little parcels in the drawers, and to me, they were the most impressive change that took place in terms of organization. Every shirt and stocking and sock and piece of underwear had been neatly folded and had its place. It was, in a word, amazing. I have NEVER thought that while peering at my drawers before. But then, I’ve never peered at my drawers before.
The energy in the bedroom had changed. I felt a hum and lightness around me. For a second, I thought it might have been caused by the tiredness of the task itself. So, I asked Daniel.
He felt it, too.
We were both skeptical at the beginning of the process. But by the end, we felt it.
The magic, invisible, yet shimmering around us.
We’ve committed to tackling one category per weekend until we’re done. I’ll keep you posted!
Now, the interesting thing is, this idea of only being surrounded by things that spark joy has crept into other aspects of my life.
I’ve found myself applying it to relationships. I’ve been asking myself, “Does this spark joy?”
It’s been a profound experience, in certain cases. The simple yet existential question gave me reason to pause, examine, and be honest with myself about the actual state of my relationships, not the story I tell myself about them.
I realized that sometimes I hang onto relationships that no longer spark joy. I’m not naïve—I’ve been with my partner for nearly thirteen years. I know that relationships have their rough patches. A relationship cannot spark joy continuously. But it’s that spark, that light, which binds people together. It’s that spark that lights the way through the rough patches.
I realized that certain relationships, over all, didn’t spark joy. And they never had. I had been surviving on the intermittent good patches, while being in denial of the predominant rough patches. I had to ask myself, why was I hanging onto something that didn’t spark joy? What was the point? What was I getting from it, other than suffering?
The New Year seems like a good time to do some tidying up, not just in our drawers and closets, but the deeper places where we build up emotional clutter.
The process continues, but from here I can say, I feel lighter, brighter, dare I say, more filled with joy.
I just took a deep breath.
Happy New Year again, friends!
If you have a chance to pick up the book, I recommend it!
Until next time,
A :) xo
Oh I can relate to this experience so much right now.
I read the book before Christmas, and I began decluttering my clothes. It took me several days and many hours, but I feel so good now… I’ve also done the books (I’m a book blogger and hoarder, I guess, so you can imagine the amount of books), and I’m looking forward to konmari-ing the rest of the house. I’m even “excited” to do keep on cleaning and organizing and getting rid of things; and it feels awesome to finally have a place for each thing you own.
I couldn’t have imagined this was going to change me so profoundly.
Besides, I’ll be moving to a new flat in the summer, so to me this is also the right time, because that way I can take only the things I really want and have a fresh start in my new home :)
That’s amazing, way to go for keeping up with it! How did you find decluttering your books? I’m a writer, so as you can imagine, I hoard them too!! I’ve been dreading that part, to be honest…but by the sound of it, you got through it, and feel good? Thanks for dropping by! :-)
Oh, the books weren’t easy, that’s for sure! I didn’t declutter the way she suggests.
For the books I had already read I kept my favourites (all my editions of The princess bride, for instance!) without thiking twice. For the rest, even if I liked them, I decided to let them go (providing my mother and grandmother had already read them too, because I lend the ones I like to them).
The ones I hadn’t read were surprisingly trickier. I asked myself, if I had all the time in the world, would I want to read this book? And that way I got rid of many, but many stayed too. That was as far as I could get with the books without feeling lost.
I discarded 240 books in total. My shelves now look tidy, with pleny of space, and I have a couple of empty shelves. EMPTY! I can’t believe it, I was even thinking of buying more, and that’s no longer needed :))
Wow, that’s amazing! I still haven’t gotten around to decluttering my books! Instead I’ve added to them…of course!!! Hahaha! :-)
All I can say is ‘wow’
Great start for the New Year my friend. That book seems so inspirational, in more ways than one. Seems like everyone needs to get their hands on that book.
Well done and good luck with the continuance of your weekend projects :-) x
It’s a great book! I hope you enjoy it if you check it out. I never would have expected the other positive changes that came with decluttering. We hope to keep at it!!! :-) xo
Anita, how is Noodles ? I hope he is well <3
Oh haha, he’s doing very well, thanks! He loves having more room to prowl. I was quite worried that he wouldn’t adjust well to the space, but all is well, thank goodness!! Thanks so much for asking! Can you remind me if you have kitties in your life? :-) XO
Hi Anita, yes I do have kitties :-) .
Sadly in the last 16 months we have had to put down the two eldest ones. One with intestinal cancer, he had an op and after that was given 9 months to live, he lived 10 months before the growth came back and was inoperable…so sad, within days he was just so sick (that was Taylor) Then, Hunter passed away just before Christmas due to old age and kidney failure. He literally tried to keep going until he couldn’t walk anymore and had no strength, I was actually carrying him around, and he would rest his head on me like a baby…also so sad.
So, from four we are down to two kitties now, Dexter and Puffin. They are loving and gorgeous and give so much love. x
Oh my goodness, that’s heartbreaking! I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I’ve heard it said that when we open our hearts to pets, we open our hearts to loss. But I can’t imagine my life without Noodles, and I’m sure you feel the same way about your kitties. Sending healing vibes your way! <3 :-) And so glad that you have Dexter and Puffin to cuddle with! xxx
Congratulations on your new home guys 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 and happy New Year!
The book sounds great. When I had my business, part of what I did was weeding peoples wardrobes and I always said the same thing: if it doesn’t make you smile, don’t keep it. Why would you wear something, or keep something, or buy something, or have friends, you don’t love??
Thanks so much, Elaine!! It’s been a wonderful time setting up house. We waited a while to take the plunge, and it’s been worth it. I TOTALLY agree with your sentiments. Life is too short!! :-) Hope you’re doing well, friend!! :-) XO
Wonderful!! Enjoy it xx
Great post and such an interesting book! I agree, cleaning out emotional clutter is so important. It sounds like you had a busy holiday! Happy New Year again!
I totally agree! It’s amazing how things build up, both inside and out! Thanks so much for visiting, Antonia! Hope all is well! :-) xo
You are truly inspirational Ma’am… Loads of love..
I’ve read this book and also really recommend it. I think some advice such as thank your books for being in your house etc. when you dont need them anymore or folding up socks and tights in a particular way didnt work for me and I didnt find useful, but most of her advice in the book was super helpful! :) I loved it! I read it kind of 2-3 years ago and it still affects my life, my way of de-cluttering my house now and then. Fantastic read :)
I recommended this book to a colleague once (she worked part time as a cleaner) and she got offended and said why would I recommend her a book about organising and cleaning house! and that cleaner’s job is not what she will be doing all her life. ;) I didnt mean to recommend it to her because she is a cleaner but because the book is so great ;)..
Do you ever choose books based on their covers? I’ve recently wrote a post about it. Please let me know what do you think about it if you have a moment: https://mindset4progress.com/2018/03/02/do-you-judge-a-book-by-its-cover/
I would recommend the book to anyone! Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that your colleague took it the wrong way! Thanks for sending the link to your post, I’ll be sure to check it out! :-)