I have a confession. I’m messy. I try really hard, but the truth is, I’m good at it. Being neat and orderly? Not so much. Luckily for me, my neat and orderly husband and children tolerate my messy ways or so I thought. Imagine my surprise when one day my three year old was playing with my Kindle. I had forgotten that my “one-click purchase” settings were on and he bought, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. Mistake? I think not.
I could have returned the book. I almost did. But the title hooked me and the relevance didn’t strike me as coincidental as it did synchronous, so I decided to give it a whirl. My dad and I do a book club together and since he has similar messy tendencies, I suggested we read it together. He agreed, so we did. And let me tell you, I’m glad we did.
I’m not going to give you a synopsis of Marie Kondo’s book, because I want to encourage you to go out and read it for yourself. I do however want to give it my whole-hearted approval and recommendation. Here are some things I loved:
- We’ve heard that our inner lives create our outer lives, but Marie asserts that the opposite is true. This is in keeping with Feng shui, in that the clutter of our lives can divert or block incoming energy. Boiled down to its essence: clean up your stuff to increase your receptivity in all areas of your life.
- You don’t have to get rid of everything! I’ve seen these bootcamp style decluttering blogs where folks leave themselves with 5 items in their closet. There was no way I felt comfortable with going there and with Mari’s book I realized I didn’t have to. There is a choice as to what to keep and we get to decide not only based on a perceived usefulness, but also its emotional resonance. For example, the shirt I wore when I met my husband has an honorary place in my closet. I haven’t worn it in years, but every time I see it and remember, it makes me happy, so it gets to stay.
- The goal is progress not perfection. I loved this idea and it does my yogi heart good to think of my tidying as an evolving practice. It’s important to be active in your space, daily choosing and sometimes discarding to surround yourselves with things that give you joy rather than hiding things in a bin from the container store to be dealt with at a later date. The truth is, I tidy much more often now, but it feels less like a chore I detest and something that makes me feel more at peace and connected with my surroundings.
To say that Mari Kondo’s book changed my life sounds so dramatic, but in its way it certainly did. She transformed my relationship to my home and my belongings. My house is not only tidier, but I now see it for what it is: a container for the things that bring me joy.
Sara Zuboff is a reforming mess-maker and a yoga teacher here at Hummingbird Pilates. You can take her meditation class at 9:30 a.m. on Mondays or take her Mind/Body Tune-Up class at 10:00 a.m. on Mondays.