Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tidy

I've been on an organizing kick for the past two weeks. Sometimes your house just gets to a certain point that you can't stand it anymore and I reached that point. After stuff accumulating and not getting put away (or thrown away), it just becomes too much.

When I'm in an organizing phase, I tend to want to read organizing books. I had heard about one mentioned that sounded intriguing, so I checked it out of the library. It was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering by Marie Kondo. It sounded promising and I was looking forward to reading it. Well, it was interesting in an unexpected way. That is, the author is a little bit nutty, in my humble opinion and I had to read certain parts more than once to be sure what I read was really what I read. No, I'm sorry, I don't think I'm going to take the time to thank my purse and shoes and clothes for their work for me at the end of each day. Nor am I going to stop turning the tops of my socks over each other to keep them together, even if it does mean my socks won't get the rest they so much deserve.

While she may be a little over the top in some things, in others, I found her right on target. First, I wholeheartedly agree that if you have too much stuff, there is no organizing system in the world which will make you happy with it. To be well-organized means paring things down to a manageable amount. Second, I find her yardstick for what to keep and what to get rid of to be extremely useful. It's simple, if that item does not bring you joy, don't keep it.

Now, she does seem to take this to the extreme. If anything does not bring you joy that is in your house, she says you should give it (or throw it) away. But, life just doesn't work like that sometimes, especially if you live with other people. For instance, as I was looking at the bags of medical supplies in my bathroom... syringes, saline, gauze, bandages, needles... I knew that those things did not bring me joy. No part of these things made me feel even remotely happy. Yet, they are important and we need them right now and it's for a good purpose. I can't get rid of them even though I'd like to.

It does feel good to get rid of stuff and piles, though. I spent today working on the kitchen and my desk. (My desk was particularly bad.) School books now have a new home where it should be easier to keep them neat. My desk has doubled in size and it doesn't make my stomach churn to look at it. There are no longer corners in the kitchen that I avoid looking at.

The silly thing is that it didn't really take that much time and effort. It was a combination of just not putting things into their right home and not wanting to make a decision about some item. So it sat there in limbo... neither having a home but not being either thrown out or put in the give-away pile. I know that once something is sorted out and tidy that it is much easier to keep it that way. It is so much less tempting to leave something sitting out when it is the only thing out of place. Neatness encourages neatness while piles of stuff just make it easier to continue piling.

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