I’ve been enjoying a beautiful summer so far, at a leisurely pace. Unfortunately not everyone around me has had the same experience. I’ve heard multiple people complain about the busyness of their summer calendar, or how they miss out on family time because picking up takes forever, or how they really should clean out the garage so the kids can access their summer equipment.
I attended a presentation a few years ago by Donna Fakler where she defined “clutter” as anything that’s broken, you’ve outgrown, dislike, are bored with, is a burden to others, or is an effort to maintain. Too many of us are letting clutter consume us – events that fill our calendars, physical stuff that fills our space, and negative thoughts or worries that fill our minds.
I just Googled “connection between clutter and.” Google auto-suggested the following to finish my sentence – depression, obesity, stress, and anxiety. I finished the sentence myself with “poor health” and clicked on the first recommendation. A very comprehensive infographic popped up – 12 Surprising Ways Clutter Is Ruining Your Life. While this primarily talks about extreme cases of clutter, even smaller amounts can produce some of these ill effects on our physical and emotional well-being.
Those of you that know me know that I swear by Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (for the record, the Winona Public Library can rent it to you for FREE, with the added bonus of one less book in your house when you’re done reading it!). I heard about the book from my friend Michelle Urbick who created Rosy Blu. While I’ve shared the personal value that I’ve taken from this book with many of my friends and family, I think even MORE people need to hear about how truly life-changing it can be to gain control of your stuff and therefore your life.
When we have more STUFF than we NEED, we spend more time and energy choosing, cleaning, maintaining, and organizing that stuff.
Now that I’ve piqued your interest, let me share a few highlights from Marie Kondo’s methodology to help filter through stuff and determine what to surround ourselves with.
- Tackle your stuff by category. Collect all items of the same category from each room and dump them in a pile, going through one category at a time.
- Go in order of emotional attachment, with the easiest first (usually clothing and shoes) and hardest last (mementos, photos, cards). In-between categories include DVDs, books, makeup/toiletries/medicine, technology/cords, papers.
- TOUCH everything you own and see how it makes you FEEL. If it brings you JOY, you keep it and USE IT! Stop saving things for a “special occasion” or “maybe one day.” If you love it, you should use it, wear it, display it, or if it’s an activity do it!
- Don’t get rid of anything that is not YOURS without asking! (My husband sometimes accuses me of this when he misplaces things, but I would NEVER let something of his go without checking first)
What you should be left with at the end of this process is a home (and calendar and mind) that only has things that bring you JOY, which should make getting dressed easier, cleaning quicker, and life better 🙂