Thursday, July 9, 2015

Minimalism and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I purchased a copy of the life changing magic of tidying up solely on intuition, and I am glad I did. Marie Kondo's philosophy pairs nicely with minimalism. She states, "The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life". That is the essence of minimalism. How do you want to live your life? Choosing to live in a small house, own less things, say no to the things that don't bring you joy; all of these speak volumes about your life.

The first step in tidying up that Marie Kondo describes is to go through your clothing. I had already gone through my clothes and bagged up everything I didn't want prior to reading her book, but yesterday I decided to apply her method to see if I could further down size. Her number one criteria is the simple question, "does this bring me joy?"  She also describes a very specific way to fold your clothes and put them away. So I emptied my drawers and went to work.

There is a measure of reflection using her method. I found myself noticing the lack of color in my wardrobe and took time to notice the sad state of most of my socks. I wondered what this said about me, hiding in dark colors and refusing to let go of worn out socks. By the time I finished, I had gotten rid of an under the bed storage container, a closet organizer, and another heap of clothes, some destined for new homes while others had definitely finished their job.

I am not going to sugar coat it. This process of getting there, of minimizing our home and our life is hard. It is going to take months to shed everything we have accumulated that does not bring us joy and get us down to a size where we are ready for our tiny home. And there are obstacles. Like the unsolicited, rather large gifts to the little man from his dad that I am forced to store because his dad doesn't have the room. Like the bins of stuff my hoarder teenager hangs on to. Although, he just recently let go of a few things, perhaps picking up my cues.

The life changing magic of tidying up offers a workable path to follow if you are struggling with minimizing your home and your life. Especially if you become easily overwhelmed getting through the layers you need to shed. Like I said, it is not an overnight process and I certainly have a way to go, but I can already feel a shift in the way our house feels more like the peaceful, uncluttered environment I seek. While some of it may seem a little odd or silly, like thanking the possessions that you chose to let go of, I think it is more about maintaining gratitude and respecting our living environment.

This process has opened my eyes to all the meaningless, shiny baubles we surround ourselves with. And all the painful memories from our past. Why do we want to hold on to this stuff if it hurts us? Why do we blind our view with all this stuff? Why do we sacrifice so much time maintaining stuff that doesn't bring us joy?
What do we really want from this life of ours? How do we really want to live? 

Minimalism is about opening up space to see what is really important to us.

You see, we tend to clutter our lives with not only things, but also busyness and chatter. All this clutter takes up space in our homes and in our minds. And when we start to clear that clutter, suddenly the fog that has been blocking our view lifts and we can see our life more clearly.

I am not there yet. But I am learning a lot as I go. 

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