“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” -Marie Kondo
It took me a month of cleaning and a crazy meditation retreat but my house and my life is sparking so much joy! I feel like I decluttered my home and my mind in the same month. My house should be featured on HGTV and my brain feels like it's fresh out of the womb and ready to conquer the world! Ok I'm getting way ahead of myself but anyways, I loved this experiment.
Like I mentioned in the experiment rules, I used Marie Kondo's The Life -Changing Magic of Tidying Up as a guide to create a life where everything in it "Sparks Joy." The results? Let me break it down.
- Like the quote above, I noticed that I was holding onto to the past through my stuff. I was able to let go of about half my things and it felt cathartic when I finally sent it off to Goodwill.
“People with large book collections are almost always diligent learners.”
- It felt so good to let go of my books. I used to have a serious problem of going to half-priced books and buying more books than I could ever read. They would turn into collectibles and it made me feel guilty looking at them on my shelf. I felt like they were all shouting "read me! read me!" I should feel happy looking through my book collection not guilty.
“If sweatpants are your everyday attire, you’ll end up looking like you belong in them, which is not very attractive. What you wear in the house does impact your self-image.”
- I have such a tiny wardrobe now but it seriously feels amazing to wake up and open my closet every morning. I used to save all my favorite outfits for a "special" occasion when I wanted to look and feel really good. But don't I want to look and feel good all the time? That mindset made no sense. So I kept only my special outfits and I wear it to the grocery store, to walk my dog, to grab coffee and I feel pretty fabulous doing it.
“Now imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy. Isn’t this the lifestyle you dream of?”
- I was finally able to let go of so many ideas about myself that caused stress. For instance, I live alone and I had kitchenware for a family of 5 because I kept fantasizing about the fabulous dinner parties I'd one day host in my tiny house. I'm never actually going to host giant dinner parties because I basically live in a dollhouse, and if I wanted to host said party, I would have done it already. So I let it all go. I also used to have a business where I designed cute letter sets and sold them around town. My photography life eventually got in the way of my side gig but I didn't want to let go of my stock of stationery because I might start it back up "one day." My friend convinced me to get rid of it and he gave all of my designs to a friend for her baby shower invitations. I felt so relieved to let this business go.
- Most of the "bad" parts of decluttering can also be viewed as good, depending on your perspective but I can now see starkly what is missing in my home. I want a new rug, more plants, a meditation room, etc. I think ultimately, I will end up shopping less because I won't buy things willy nilly at target but I do see the big holes in my home that I want to fill.
- I'm addicted to decluttering! My friend asked me if the door to my house is still hinged on for fear I might let that go :P.
“From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.”
Marie Kondo wants you to practice fine tuning your joy barometer with your things first so that eventually you can easily see what does/doesn't spark joy in other areas of your life. When I first read the book I was pretty skeptical. There's even a testimonial in the introduction that said "Your course taught me to see what I really need and what I don't. So I got a divorce. Now I feel much happier." WHAT?! A divorce from decluttering? Well Well, I very recently let go of a relationship that no longer sparked joy. He was a great person but after all this decluttering (or all that meditating), it was obvious that at this moment it was not serving either one of us. As sad as it is, the clarity of it made it so much easier to let it go. So be very very careful playing the "joy" game. This damn book just might be life-changing after all!