An Unexpected Key to Organization

My mom will confirm that starting in grade school, I was a complete neat freak. I kept my side of the room that I shared with my sister totally tidy all of the time, and made my bed every morning to complete the job.

But before I was a second grader with a fully organized half of the closet (my sister was a certifiable ‘stuffer’ until high school, so hers was jam-packed with clothes and clutter)… I was a pack rat. My mom can again confirm that before going to the grocery store I used to pack a whole kiddie backpack full of toys and other knick-knacks, “just in case” I might need them or get bored.

These days, I am fairly organized, but I still hold onto plenty of clothes and other items that I do not need. Even still, I go through bouts a couple of times each year when I purge the stuff I don’t wear, and donate the decorative items that no longer compliment my style and appliances that I haven’t used in months or more. 

I feel so good after one of these purges!

My closet, pre-purge.
My closet, pre-purge.

And yet, my closets still resemble a well-constructed Tetris® puzzle above with racks over-crammed with clothes below, my kitchen cabinets remain stacked with dishes, and my living space continues to feel a bit too busy and cluttered. 

Does all of it – each and every item – spark joy in my heart? Um, no. (That’s the signature question Marie Kondo asks her clients and readers in her global best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.)

It’s a really good question, and a totally unanticipated key to organization! 

Just hearing it in the context of de-cluttering made me think of some specific items that I can recycle or set aside to donate as soon as I get home: that stack of Vanity Fair magazines from the past year that I will read… eventually (not), at least three of the six flower vases in my cupboard, those two pairs of jeans I’ve been holding onto for the day I lose 15 lbs. and can fit into them again…

I’m getting excited about this already! 

IMG_1393
After the purge! It’s hard to see the effect (my closet is pretty tiny as it is), but I am donating 2 garbage bags and one full 2x2x2 box full of stuff, as well as throwing away an additional full garbage bag from this effort! Now for the other closet…

What a way to radically simplify one’s life – removing all of those things that make it frustrating or a hassle just to live. I’m envisioning a day where I can choose my daily wardrobe without fighting the crammed closet, retrieve the Crock Pot® for a simple slow-cooker meal without playing musical chairs with the stuff in my cupboard, and read a book without feeling oppressed by the clutter around the room.

Nice and simple – to be surrounded by only those things that actually spark joy.

I have yet to read Kondo’s book, but apparently, hers is just one of the trending books about de-cluttering and organization that are here and still coming. In the meantime, I think I’ll head home and do some of the most expunging spring cleaning I’ve ever done, all by asking the question, “Does this spark joy for me?”

2 comments

  1. It does feel great. We’ve had 2 major yard sales and will probably have one more by end of summer. I can hardly wait to see just how much I can get rid of. It’s rather adicting:) in a good way.

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