Marie Kondo is our Talent Crush. I can practically hear you rolling your eyes. Stop it and keep reading. Since Netflix scheduled one of the most brilliant release dates for a TV show in the history of TV by debuting Tidying Up on New Year’s Day, people all over the world have been cuddling their sweatshirts close to their chests and whispering to themselves, “Does this Fred Flintstone hoodie bring me joy?”
In case you aren’t sure, the answer is a blanket and resounding ‘no.’ Get rid of it, it’s stupid.
The whole spark joy thing isn’t why Marie Kondo is our talent crush for the week. The main reason she’s our talent crush is because I decided I wanted to have an article entitled, “Spring is Here, Time to Throw Sh#t Out.” Then I made the theme for the week spring cleaning because I found a Funny or Die list of truly hilarious spring cleaning tasks and I wanted to share it with you.
So here we are, talking about Marie Kondo. Well, not about her but rather about her method of basically picking up your home, giving it a good, hard shake and then throwing out anything and everything getting in the way of you living the life you want.
Yup, that is the entire point of getting all touchy-feely with your stuff.
Before you even begin to corral all your clothing onto your bed or stacking your books on the floor of your den (I don’t have a den but if there is anyone in your life who needs a den it is me because I would use a den in the way God intended. Naps and sandwiches during the day and reading and drinking in the evening. No one goes in a den in the morning unless it is to wake up the person who was reading and drinking in it the night before.)
Where was I?
Before getting your hands on your stuff and interrogating yourself about joy levels regarding the crusty candy dishes your nana left you, you’re supposed to ask yourself a very specific question.
Why? Why are you getting ready to upend your entire living situation? What do you want to get out of this highly disruptive experience? And it is highly disruptive. You probably have more stuff than you realize. I know I do. I moved a year ago so that really introduced me to the sheer amount of crap I had gathered to my bosom (and into my garage). Where does that damn parentheses period go? Inside the parentheses or out. Hang on, let me go check. This cleared it up!
Anyway, I MarieKondoed my house and garage a couple years before I moved out because apparently my reptile brain knew my marriage was over waaaaay before my human brain had a clue. The house and garage were an epic mess for weeks and it culminated in a garage sale, something I will never, ever do again.
But something kept bothering me about the process. I had never answered that most important question.
Why? Why did I single-handedly clean out a three bedroom, two bath house in addition to a 500 square foot garage? And why did I stick to it, even when it started to feel more stressful than just wading through all the crap we had collected over the years?
Let me be tiresome here and quote a paragraph from Kondo’s book.
“As you continue to explore the reasons behind your ideal lifestyle, you will come to a simple realization. The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy. It may seem obvious, but it is important to experience the realization yourself and let it sink into your heart. Before you start tidying, look at the lifestyle you aspire to and ask yourself, “Why do I want to tidy?”
I never came up with a clear answer but something had settled into my heart so I went ahead and tidied up anyway. I am glad I did. My house was much easier to keep clean. My garage eventually filled up with more crap that I had to throw out later but I think that might be what garages are for. And bonus! When it came time to move out, I had already split up all the messy, emotionally loaded stuff we had stored in the back of the garage. I had put all his memories in a series of plastic bins and all my memories in a separate set of plastic bins and anything we had in common I either gave to him or just threw in the trash. So maybe I did know what I wanted when I began tidying, I just didn’t know how to say it out loud.
I wanted to be free of what was holding me back and holding me down. And that turned out to be a remarkable amount of kitchen gadgets, half a dozen black cardigans and a marriage that had ended years before we left it.
A general idea of what you want is an acceptable place to start. Sometimes we begin an epic journey before we realize it. And when we finally get to where we are supposed to be, that is when we can look back and say, “I thought it began here but it actually began waaaay back there. I just didn’t realize it at the time.”
Remember, you are braver than you realize.
So I think what I am saying is go ahead and begin. Your reptile brain knows where you are going, and your human brain will eventually catch up.