January first seems to be the time for fresh starts and new beginnings for so many people. Although I like the concept of “New Year, New You” ideas, cleaning and decluttering, but for me, September is my favorite time for that.
There is something about the start of the school year, along with my favorite season that makes me want to get on top of all that I have let slide during the summer.
It was time to run through all of the closets and cupboards looking for things that did not make me happy, were broken, we never used, or just needed to be replaced with something better.
These actions may or may not have been sparked by the fact I am finally reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
It is normal for me to do these types of cleanouts this time of year so this isn’t out of the ordinary for me. But it may have come about a little earlier than usual.
How did I enjoy the book?
Well, I can say that I did get something out of it, but for the most part, it was just ok. I found it a little dull and to be honest with you, the last third of the book, I skipped pages and skimmed through until something caught my eye.
What I did like about it was the gratefulness, connection, energy and relationship she encouraged you to have with your belongings. Everything holds energy. Whether it be your socks, or your wallet, your kitchen bar stool or your pyrex.
I enjoyed the spiritual connection that she explained. I also enjoyed the concept of thanking your possessions for serving you well.
For example, walking into your home and greeting the physical space and possessions out loud. “Hello home, I am here. Thank you for welcoming me back!”
At the end of the evening when you are putting your laundry away, being grateful out loud to those clothes for serving you.
Not balling your socks instead of laying them flat to rest – balling them and folding the top over causes stress to the elastic and doesn’t allow them to rest and relax while chilling out in the drawer.
These types of cheesy/hokey concepts were my favorite part of the book!
What is the purpose?
For me, living in a small house – about 750 square feet right now, the purpose of regular decluttering sessions is to make way for peace.
I find clutter to be stressful and I find not being able to see what I am looking for to be even more stressful. Right now, I have put the charger away for my son’s electric razor and have zero ideas of where I put it. I have been looking for it for months.
Even I, the self-proclaimed “mistress of organization,” have lost this dang wire!!! I am just going to have to order another one. I digress…
So, when my forty-two inches of hanging space gets too crowded, and I can’t slide anything left or right, I know it is time to cull the clothes.
I have been doing this long enough to know the techniques on how to dismiss the things that don’t spark joy, and I just don’t wear for one reason or the other.
Why bother decluttering and what does it do for you?
Being able to find and see the things that I use honestly makes me happy. Opening up cupboards and not have things fall out makes me happy.
Looking at my glasses, all lined up like little toy soldiers ready to serve genuinely brings me joy. Knowing when my son or husband asks “where are the cubes for the phone charger?”
I can walk over to the black stand in the living room, open the right drawer, pull out the zipper pouch with the bicycles on it labeled “Apple” and hand them a plug-in adapter for their phone charger.
That makes my entire life run smoother.
That is the organization part. But the decluttering side of the coin is if there is so much stuff crammed into that same drawer, I will never be able to find the zipper pouch that I need.
And keeping all like things together makes sense to me. But, if that drawer is full of old wires, chargers, and small electronics that we just don’t use anymore, then we won’t have room for anything new.
This means it has to go someplace else, right? So then you find room in the junk drawer or desk drawer.
When you need it again, you can’t remember where you put it because it isn’t where you should have put it. Why? Because that drawer needs to be decluttered – there is just too much in there!
How does it make me feel after?
There is nothing like feeling organized, decluttered, and cleaned up for me. When I am feeling anxious and stressed about life and things I cannot control, I look at the things I can control.
I clean up the kitchen or make sure my bed is made. I bring peace and organization to my little part of the world. When I know the rest of the world is in chaos, mine is in order.
Yesterday, I came home from volunteering at the food pantry and visiting with my gram feeling very overwhelmed. It was so hot out, and my air conditioner in my van was not working.
There were heaping handfuls of things I could not control. So after sitting down with some lunch and a glass of water, I went into the cellar (where it was nice and cool).
I cleaned up a corner of clutter that we hadn’t gotten to when we cleaned the cellar this summer. It only took about 45 minutes but that little piece of my world was restored, and all was right again.
And I felt better about everything else.
Why does this matter to me?
As a stay at home wife, mom of two teen boys – one with special needs that requires a LOT of attention, and blog writer, my life is busy. All of our lives are busy.
When my space is clear and uncluttered, my day goes better. I can take care of my family much more quickly if everything is in its place and we aren’t feeling claustrophobic.
As I have written before, minimalism, decluttering, and organization is a large part of who I am. Life is so complicated and I need my sanctuary to feel like a place free of all life’s heartaches.
My oldest son can walk, but low muscle tone and balance issues do not make him too steady, so when he is up walking around, he must have a clear path to maneuver through the house.
So for him, piles of things on the floor, tables in the middle of the room, and too many things to knock over just won’t do.
I would love for you to take just a couple of minutes to think about your space. Like Marie Kondo says, does it spark joy for you? Or do you feel trapped and overwhelmed?
Her thoughts and techniques may not work for you but are what you are living in right now working for you?
Peace and tranquility is such a fantastic gift you can give yourself. And I want that for you.
I have been diligently decluttering since mom passed and it really lightens the load. Also so adding things by shopping is a hard habit to break.
I think you are spot on, Kim. Keep up the good work!
We share similar feelings on the book – gave it a read a couple years ago and ehhhh. Like some of it, skim read a chunk of it. Found some of the concepts interesting, though, and have definitely tried to incorporate some of them into my life.
I also share a lot of your feelings re: having a tidy, organized space. Like you, having a tidy space can make me feel better about things going on in my life. It’s something I didn’t really realize until adulthood but boy, am I glad I know now. One of my primary goals for September is to do some decluttering in our apartment and I am ready for it.
Great post 🙂
Thanks fo your comment, Tara! My brain really does function best under tidy circumstances!