Since I read Marie Kondo’s The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up (public library), I’ve been obsessed with the idea of a decluttered home. Kondo is a gifted author who teaches us how to have and maintain a beautifully tidied home where we only keep the things that we love best and lovingly give away anything that does not contribute to that vision.
Her method also helps us reduce consumerism because you start to think before adding anything else to the repertoire of items you own. If you fill your home and other spaces with too much, after a while, it will be harder to declutter and come back to a baseline that works.
Despite my erstwhile obsession, I let my guard down during the pandemic. Things substituted experiences, and my spaces quickly became cluttered. I got used to that new normal without realizing what I was doing. At some level, I knew I would have to return to my normal patterns, but I was not ready until now.
Back to Decluttering My Spaces
So, I decided to go back to decluttering. I started with my physical spaces, but interestingly, I’m going beyond them. I am also cleaning up my schedule.
I’ll start with the physical decluttering. I went through my closet first and got rid of so many things I knew I would never wear but kept around because I felt like I needed to keep them. I felt so relieved when I saw my closet so empty. Something I had been putting off only took an hour and a half, and the difference was vast. I am still not done, but the progress has made a huge difference. Similarly, I am going through my desk and different parts of my house with the same approach. The feeling is one of liberation.
With my decluttering effort, I’m taking it as I do everything else in my schedule: a little bit at a time. I’m working on consistently decluttering so that I will finish in a couple of months.
Tidying Up My Schedule
The other change has been unexpected yet very welcome. Somehow (I think my meditation practice helped), I got to a point where I did not want to do anything that was not fully aligned with where I wanted to be, or what matters. For a couple of weeks, I let things fall off my schedule that were not priorities. I also did not add anything I would have in the past just because it was something I “should” be doing. I did the things I wanted and the fundamental ones.
My schedule, just like my closet, became leaner. “To-dos” that I scheduled just because started to fall away. See, just like I accumulated items during the pandemic, I also accumulated tasks. I felt like I needed to fill my time and be productive so that those years would somehow not be lost. While I learned a lot and was very productive, I am now a different person in different circumstances, and the burdens disguised as tasks I imposed upon myself were no longer working.
I must say that I am still uncomfortable with the change. I spoke to my coach, Ronni, about it, and she asked if anything that needed to get done was not getting done. Luckily, everything was getting accomplished. Everything is going great and even better all the time. So, when she asked if anything was wrong, the answer was no.
Past experience tells me that an outside change must also occur with any change within us. It might be easy or uncomfortable, but I must allow it, and I will. In the meantime, I will enjoy my decluttered spaces.
Kondō, Marie. The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. Ten Speed Press, 1st edition, October 14, 2014. Hardcover.