Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Cluttered Life, Cluttered Mind

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I just spent a week doing manual labor. Yep, I worked my Spring Break away doing Spring Cleaning and I may be a bit tired but I feel so energized! Thanks to the help of my super-duper packer Amy, we opened EVERY single box of my belongings that is stored while we are renovating our home and I purged about half or more of those items.  Amy then repacked the things that made the cut so they are ready for my move in a few weeks. Plus, they are all organized by which room they will live in at the newly remodeled house.

I then headed back to my condo and I cleaned out and organized all our closets, drawers, and discarded many things I don’t need from our kitchen. We are living with what we thought was the bare minimum in our condo during our renovation. Still, I was able to get rid of many boxes of things we have hardly used while we have been here for the last 7 months.

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This sort of organizing isn’t unusual for me. Typically, I clean out and discard more than once a year in smaller ways and at least 1 BIG purge every year or two. It brings me joy. I did a huge week of organizing before we moved out of our last house two years ago and then got rid of a lot when we moved out of our current house back in the fall to start the renovation. But this time, the organizing was different thanks my learning the Kon Mari method designed by Marie Kondo. Last weekend leading up to my planned Spring Break Organizing Extravaganza, I read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and it’s sequel, Spark Joy. I have had these books on my kindle for a while, but I am SO thankful that I made time to read them before I tackled my belongings this week.4

Yes, I am an organized person for sure. I love to have a place for everything and everything in it’s place. I even splurged extra cabinetry in my remodel because I would rather have built-in storage that functions perfectly, than spend that same amount of money or more, on furniture and organizing gadgets that are far less functional when it comes to storing and organizing our belongings.

But now that I used the Kon Mari method (soon to be paired with my dreamy new cabinetry and closets), my yearly purging may get to be a thing of the past! Yes, Marie Kondo says that if you use her concept of only keeping things that truly “Spark Joy” in your life, that you will never again lose control of your home and your things. And you won’t have to waste precious time organizing in the future.

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I have to admit, I can already tell a difference in my thinking. I am much more hesitant to buy things that I don’t TRULY love, because I don’t want to have to find a place for them. I also really enjoyed touching everything I own last week, deciding which things to keep, and making plans for storing those items in a place where I can get to them easily. I have confidence that I will actually use everything I kept and not just for special occasions.

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Can you imagine this kind of organizing in your life? The interesting thing is that we are creatures of habit and we tend to use and wear the same things over and over. So it’s really sensible to use Marie’s method of getting rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy. She warns you of the “I might need this one day” way of thinking. And she’s right. Why keep random tools, gadgets, kitchen items or clothing and store them for 2, 6, or even 14 years on the off chance you may need it. She reminds us that if we do, many times we won’t be able to find what we need when we need it anyway, and we would just go buy a replacement. So why not trust getting rid of things now, since we will probably buy what we need later if a need arises. This way of thinking can free us of years of storing things and surrounding ourselves with clutter for not much benefit or more likely, to our detriment. And It’s probably not even a cost savings to have it on hand for a “once every 10 year use”, right?

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I don’t know about you, but clutter makes me crazy. And even if you think things bring you comfort, what if you are wrong? What if the stress, anxiety, and tension in your life could be eliminated by removing the “things” that don’t bring you joy and that clutter your home and your mind. Wouldn’t you be happier if you could always find what you were looking for in your home? Think of how much time and energy you would save.

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When I have physical clutter in my life, it equals mental clutter for me. And I don’t like that. I prefer to be sharp and focused so I can be my best every day. And when my home is tidy, I enjoy it and my family so much more. Plus I find myself going the extra mile to do other things that bring me peace and joy, like lighting a candle or bringing home fresh flowers, cooking home-made meals, and sitting down at the table together as a family. This all happens more when my home is beautiful and tidy and clean. It’s important. And it nurtures me. It fills me up.

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Honestly, nothing makes me happier than being completely organized and knowing where all my things are for living, entertaining, and traveling. In my mid 20’s I had a time when I let things get a bit out of control for me with my closets. And one day after spending what seemed like an hour but was probably 5-10 minutes looking for the mate to one of my shoes, I swore I would never again get that stressed out just trying to get dressed for work. So I got organized.

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But the last 2 years while we were living in our newly purchased home that was dated and in dire need of renovation (but waiting for me to have time in my schedule to take on the project), I was reminded of how stressful and depressing a disorganized and dysfunctional home can be. We had old cabinetry without adjustable shelves that our dishes would hardly fit in. We had a giant garden tub that could fit 10 people, but a tiny master bedroom closet with only room for my husband’s things. I stored all my clothes upstairs but slept downstairs. My daughter’s room had no storage to speak of, so the corners were constantly stacked with toys and stuffed animals and art supplies and clutter. Many days this lack of design and function made me want to SCREAM!

But it also made me aware of and grateful for the peace of mind that a well-designed and organized home can bring. Interior Designers and Organizers are NOT a luxury. They are an investment in quality of life.

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And now thanks to Marie Kondo, I have taken my organizing habits to a higher level than ever before. And while I haven’t moved out of our temporary condo living, I am already feeling the pleasure of my hard work. I lay in bed at night dreaming of how much easier it will be to get moved back into our home. I smile at the thought of enjoying all my favorite design books in my new study, all my gadgets and tools in my organized kitchen and easily setting the table to entertain friends in the dining room. And even better, I dream of my new closet (that’s not that big, but is downstairs off my bedroom) being just the perfect size for all my things.

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So I believe that being organized is the secret sauce to a well-lived and stress-free life. I agree with Marie Kondo that tidying up is truly life-changing and magical. And I hope you will try it for yourself. I know it will be life-changing for you too.

Happy Spring Cleaning Friends and Happy Easter! xo,

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