Less is more. Yep, I said it. Towards the end of summer last year, I finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by, Marie Kondo. Let me tell you, for me- it was life changing. Remember my 2017 New Years Resolution post about becoming more organized? Well, little did I know that this book was going to be my answer to solving my disorganization. I wasn’t a very messy person, I just hadn’t come up with a solution to where things should properly be put away. Also, let’s be honest; we have too.much.stuff.
Yes, most people have too much stuff. As a society, we have too much of everything. I frequently hear that parents are tired of picking up a million toys at the end of the day. I too was in that awful club until I discovered The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Marie Kondo is a professional organizer who in my opinion, is a genius. I think she has an incredible concept of how life should be lived, especially living in the present.
When I purchased Kondo’s book, over 6 million copies had been sold. I think that’s a testament to how well received and loved this book is. In the beginning of the book she asks the reader to think about their destination and their why. In my notes, this is what I had jotted down:
Destination: A beautiful home. A simple lifestyle.
Why?: So I can entertain friends. I want to relax in my home. I want to have more time doing things I enjoy.
Why? (To the previous why): To build/maintain friendships. To be proud of my home. So I can be happy. So I can think more clearly and freely.
These notes are extremely personal to me and they are my destination and my why. Your destination and your why may be completely different. I was semi-joking with Derek last year that we needed a bigger house so I could find a place for everything we had. He didn’t exactly reciprocate the funniness in his tone when he replied, “We don’t need a bigger home, we need less stuff.” Those words, we need less stuff really struck a chord with me. Of course we didn’t need a bigger home, we needed to get rid of things that we just didn’t need/love/use, etc.
Kondo’s theme or manta throughout the book is “Does this spark joy?” I absolutely love, LOVE this question. I probably asked myself this a thousand times while discarding things. The truth is, I was holding on to so much that really didn’t spark joy in my life. I was holding on to old gifts from family and friends. I had a bunch of papers from when I was in college that I was saving to “read someday”. Why?! Why on earth was I keeping things from forever ago for the “someday” in my life. All these “things” were taking up space in my present day life and not allowing me to live fully in the moment.
There is an order to discarding and Kondo is very adamant that you follow her guidelines diligently. I will admit I went a little out of order at times and it did throw me off track. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% complete in my discarding process (she says it takes the average person about 6 months) but I’m getting closer to my end goal. My end goal is to live more purposefully and keep things with greater intention. After all these months after I finished her book, I STILL ask myself if something “sparks joy” in me.
…when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and past in order, too.
Living with less has been so refreshing. Although I still think we have too much, I know we’re on the right track to living a better, more thoughtful life. I even had Penelope go through all her stuffed animals and toys and asked her to keep the toys that “made her happy”. Low and behold a three year will sure tell you what makes her happy or doesn’t. Penelope was totally content with parting with many of her toys. She was happy other little boys and girls would enjoy her once-loved toys.
Reading this book has really opened my eyes to what we need to live with and what we can really do without. We had a lot of wedding gifts that just sat around either in our dining room table buffet or stored away in our kitchen cabinets. This serving tray was put away because it was “saved for when company came over”. So, I decided to bring it out and enjoy it. I love seeing it every day and knowing that it’s being put to good use. I understand not wanting to eat on fine China every day, but why keep things stored away to collect dust if they make you happy? If they don’t make you happy, it’s time to move on from them.
But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two; an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.
My absolute favorite takeaways from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (in Kondo’s words)
• Keep only those things that speak to your heart
• People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking
• To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose
• No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important
• By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past
• Everyone needs a sanctuary
• Letting go is even more important than adding
There’s a reason why over 6 million copies of this book have been purchased. Kondo hits home and brings up emotions of vulnerability, thoughts about the past and why we aren’t living in the present. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed with things in your life, wonder why you love to buy things or can’t let something from the past go; this book brings light to these personal issues and so much more. Living with less has given me the freedom to do more. I don’t spend nearly the amount of time picking up toys or organizing things around the house. I enjoy spending more time at home and I’m beginning to love the way our home makes me feel.
As for you, pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.
Want to learn more about tidying up??