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Sparking Joy is just the beginning - Tidying up

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

Let me start by saying that I’ve definitely NOT mastered the art of living simple & decluttering yet. It’s A LOT harder than it seems. 

To give you a little background, I’ve always been the neat type. My cubby at kindergarten through lockers in college were always extremely well organized...assorted size, color coded, labelled, etc. I was also a real pro at Tetris-fitting any and all objects into any and all spaces. Just ask friends I’ve gone camping with and the amount of things I was able to fit into the trunk of a small sedan. So needless to say, decluttering wasn’t really on my to-do list. 

However, as life moved on and my surroundings changed, I started accumulating things - a lot of things. Things that weren’t even mine! Unlike some people who have a familial house where they kept their childhood memories, somehow my home became the familial home and I wound up safekeeping everyone else’s things. (In hindsight, this was more likely a boundary issue than a hoarding one.)

I eventually had to downsize and move into a small apartment with my boyfriend and I used my aforementioned Tetris superpowers to accommodate everyone’s belongings in a small one-bedroom apartment. Impressive, if I do say so myself. 

In my mind, I always believed “when I have TRULY my own place and have some time, I’ll declutter. I’ll organize everything. I’ll Martha Steward the sh*t out of all this stuff”. The problem with that was that my own space and time were two things that never coincided naturally in life, until I consciously made a decision to make my space my own and give it time. 

Fast forward a few months ago pre-COVID, we had lived in our new home for a few years but we still had a lot of renovations to do. We always said that once the renovations would be done, then we would be able to properly organize and give everything a home. It didn’t really matter so much to me because I worked long hours, and the amount of time I actually spent at home was dedicated more to working around the house, its upkeep, and taking advantage of its natural surroundings. So again, it became a I’ll-get-to-it-one-day. 

Bringing you now into the present day. It’s been almost half a year that lockdown started and working from home has become a new norm. What I kept pushing aside as “I can do this later and I’ll just deal with it for now” was smack in my face and I couldn’t ignore it anymore. All the little things that irritated me (i.e. not a single towel matched and aligned properly when folded) were amplified. I also realized that so long as I don’t commit to doing this, it will never get done - no matter how “settled” the house is. 

Then came Marie Kondo into my life. I’ve glimpsed at her Netflix show and couldn’t watch it for more than 5 minutes without getting bored, but her book! THAT changed something! The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011), is an easy read with easy tips to follow. Not only that she’s relatable in it. Within a few chapters in, I got to itch to start decluttering - and since then have not stopped. 

I’ve done at least 2 trips to the donation center, given away a FULL box of unused cosmetics (some in its original packaging!), threw away at least 3 bags of garbage, hauled over 50+ books to the used bookstore and I’m not even CLOSE to finished yet. 

One thing that really stuck with me through reading her script was to relate to things that “spark joy”. It seems so silly and simple, yet if you really embrace that statement, it makes sense. Imagine being surrounded only with items that bring joy to you - how much happier and lighter you would be able to live your life! We all have those items at home, that when we walk by it, it makes us smile. Now envision that everything in your home was that way. Your environment would have no choice BUT to be magical. 

There are obviously a million other resources out there, but I definitely FEEL like I’ve started on the right track as this is the first time in my life that months into decluttering, I’m STILL trying to declutter and keep only the items that bring me joy. This is just the beginning & I can’t wait to see where this will lead. 

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