Last year, I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, and I did a massive purge. I followed her instructions and plowed through my house, room by room, getting rid of anything that didn’t bring me joy. I organized dresser drawers, folding shirts and socks and standing them on end (colors arranged light to dark). I donated piles of books to the library. I even cleaned out the junk drawer–that abyss of horror next to the telephone that houses everything from phone numbers scribbled on bits of paper to free pens from the local funeral home to the girls’ wayward hair ties. It was, honestly, truly life changing. I felt so free, so light. I loved being in my house. I loved opening my drawers and cupboards. And that feeling of order spilled into every area of my life, including what I ate and how I arranged my days.
Then life happened. One major life event, to be precise, and it completely threw me off-balance. The chaos began to creep back in, first with my diet and out-of-control sugar cravings, then with stuff. Clutter. I began to throw T-shirts into my shirt drawer without folding and arranging. I went to Goodwill and bought more books. Chewed up erasers and random shoe laces found their way into the junk drawer. And I find myself a year later, not completely back to where I was, but dangerously close.
I also find that I can’t breathe. And breathing is pretty important to survival.
At 24 weeks pregnant, I don’t have the energy to tackle my house with the fire of last year. But I can do it more slowly, which may actually be a better method for me because I can do it thoughtfully and carefully. I’ve been thinking, as I sort through closets and add to my garage sale stack, about belongings, materialism, and living a minimal lifestyle. I realize that this can mean different things to different people, but for me, it means that my stuff should not own me. I should not feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material possessions that we own. I should not cringe when I walk into a room.
I began in our bedroom. I have always made a huge effort to keep out room from getting to cluttered. I believe that it should be a sanctuary. But it had gotten a little too full of stuff, of framed pictures and furniture that no longer reflects my style, of things that collected dust and made it difficult to keep clean.
It’s now much emptier, but not in a cold, impersonal way. It’s light, soft, airy and uncluttered. I used some birthday money and replaced our old, dark red floral Better Homes and Gardens bedspread with a rustic white cotton duvet. I took down the heavy wooden and metal picture frames, and I added a few succulents on a plain white tray.
I absolutely love it. We have a hodge-podge of furniture and lamps collected over the years so nothing really matches, and it wouldn’t win a prize in any magazine, but it feels peaceful.
I am slightly shocked at the huge pile of garage sale stuff that came from that one room. And as I move to other rooms, the pile grows at an amazing rate.
This journey has just begun, and I find (as I did last year) that it is spiritual as much as physical. As I examine why I do or do not want to keep things, it forces me to look inside, to evaluate every area of my life . Where have I slipped into lethargy? Are there areas where I have failed to live authentically?
I’m in the throes of this, so I don’t have a tidy way to wrap up this post. I’ll hopefully be writing more about the process in the coming weeks. And maybe posting a few more pictures of my glorious, newly uncluttered living space.