In January I posted a few books to choose from for our book club this month. We’ve read and discussed two fiction books and so I was looking forward to reading through a nonfiction book this month. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up has been on my TBR list for quite some time and I haven’t made much time for it. But last month I asked for your votes and this little book won!
I have read through the first and second chapters of this book. And I’ll be honest. I have some mixed feelings.
I really like the idea of decluttering and getting rid of items in your home that you don’t use or don’t love. Thanks to school, medical school and residency, in the almost 16 years my husband and I have been married we have moved a little over 10 times. With almost each move I’ve organized, purged and decluttered. When you move a lot, I think you automatically figure out that you can’t hold on to every little thing. You can’t hold on to thinks that you don’t love. But I’ll admit right now – one thing that I’ve discovered about myself recently is that there are certainly areas that sadly I might be a borderline hoarder (e.i. toys, kid clothes and books). Reading this book really made me think twice about these categories.
The first two chapters of this book really dig deep into discussion the mindset we must have before we begin to clean and declutter and learn to really tidy-up.
People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.
This thought really made me stop and think. This is true no matter if you are applying it to tidying up and organizing your home, or starting a new workout. If you have the wrong mindset you will accomplish nothing! Chapter one really made me stop and examine why and how I clean and tidy up things around me. On page 20 Kondo talks about an exam in school she really needed to study for – so what did she do? She organized and cleaned her room. I do this All.The.Time. When I am frustrated with a situation or life, I find an area that needs cleaning or organizing and go to town. It’s an interesting concept to think about – that if I spent time and invest in truly applying her principles and tidying up my home, that I would need to put my other affairs in order too. There would no longer be that avoidance.
“When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too”
“If you can’t feel relaxed in a clean and tidy room, try confronting your feeling of anxiety It may shed light on what is really bothering you. When your room is clean and uncluttered you have no choice but to examine your inner state. You can see issues you have been avoiding and are forced to deal with them. From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change.
Woah. Honestly – That paragraph kinda terrifies me. I’ll be honest. Not sure I really want to go there yet. Who’s with me?
Chapter two of the book is where we start really discussing the art of discarding. Like I said before.. I think I’m pretty good at this. Perhaps sometimes a little bit too much. (Last year my oldest son came home with some papers from school and I noticed he had wrote in big black letters on the top “DO NOT THROW THESE AWAY MOM”) So…I really think I have a good handle on discarding. At least school papers. lol
Kondo suggest to work in categories instead of rooms. This was a new concept for me! She says that the best sequence for this is “clothing first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany) and, lastly, mementos.
So here we are – to the nitty-gritty interesting part. Right? I should start to declutter. Tidy up. I should.
But here is my dilemma and honestly, the reason I’ve been putting off reading this book in the first place. In 2013 my husband left a practice he was working at as an associate and we moved in with his father while we researched and have eventually opened our own practice. It wasn’t really something we planned on doing that year, but something that happened and worked out. My mother in law passed away just a few months prior to this, leaving my father in law with a house that was too quiet too soon. This is something he admits he wasn’t ready for …it really has been a blessing that for all of us involved. But I’ll be honest…sometimes this “blessing” has presented me with headaches and lots of tears too. I never expected giving up our space to be such a challenge. Opening practice competently from scratch is almost unheard of these days. And it is a challenge. And not the most lucrative way to go! (not even kidding here) But living here has been a huge blessing for our family and saved us from going into so much more debt while we start a business. But almost everything we owned went into boxes during this last move and has been in storage every since. Really – almost everything we own. Everything. Everything besides clothes and toys for the kids is in storage. The ultimate declutterer in me really wants to go out to our garage where it is all stored and throw it all away. But we can’t do that. We won’t live here forever. Someday I’ll need that box of dishes, right?
So long story short…I can’t exactly unclutter my father in laws house. It’s full of his stuff. My mother in laws stuff. She decorated it and I try my very best to respect them while we live here. I clean, but I don’t redecorate. As much as this book motivates me to do so, it’s not my space to worry about. I just am unsure where to even go or how to even start. I can certainly start with my own clothes. And kid clothes and toys. And I’ll keep reading and making notes. Because someday…someday I’ll be able to unpack those boxes in the garage. And I want to be prepared!