I'm sure that many or most of you who read blogs with some regularity have already seen This Book all over the place. It's everywhere. Including my house! (the tidying book for the rest of the post will always be referred to as This Book - or better still This Book - the more emphasis you can add, the better, because that's the tone I'd like to get across here.)
I was so obsessed by the idea of This Book (which is really called 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing' by Marie Kondo) that it was pretty much one of the only things I asked for this past Christmas. This Book.
Let's take a magical trip through Melissa's mind for a moment ok? And let's get cozy. You might want something to eat or drink while you read this. Or you might want to go to the bathroom and get that out of the way.
First, I have some cleaning/tidying issues. (IT'S THE BEST WORD IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE! Tidying. Doesn't it just sound nice? And wholesome. So much friendlier sounding than cleaning. Tidying!)
I wasn't always tidy. I grew up in a house that had a housekeeper. I was never expected to do much, chore-wise. And I eventually flitted off to college and didn't wash my sheets for a month. Maybe two. Yes you read that correctly. This was largely because I had never been taught how to do the laundry. It's a good thing I was a naturally clean smelling individual!
Long story short, I was A Very Messy Person and to my college roommate #1 - I humbly apologize. I would leave out glasses of milk and sort of let them congeal. SO GROSS. I might have gone on forever with this laissez-faire attitude towards cleaning if I hadn't then lived with college roommate #2. Who was messier than I could have ever thought about being in 10,000 universes.
She was so messy, that I had to become tidy, and quickly, in self preservation. There was literally a dividing line in our room, and it was marked by a wall of Her Stuff. I became tidy because if I didn't, I would have become consumed by her squalor.
Aren't college girls WONDERFUL???
When I'm not actually tidying, I'm usually thinking about tidying.
Andrew and my beloved daughter are not very tidy. I'm pretty worried that my daughter is a hoarder. I am constantly after them to clean up their %$$@&* mess. I've made Andrew swear to me that if I am struck by lightning, to PLEASE use any life insurance to pay for a housekeeping service, so that they aren't living in squalor.
So, why am I sharing about what anyone with half a lightbulb in their brain would call a mild (not so mild? hormone dependent?) case of OCD when it comes to tidying up? (actually it's funny - I have a lot of books and I'm not perfectly organized all the time - my kitchen is a disaster and so is my closet and my car most of the time, and OMG THE GARAGE) but I like as much as I can to try and keep things tidy, but it's just me doing the cleaning around here and I get tired, so oftentimes, I gotta sit down and not clean up all the time.
I'm sharing because Oh Marie Kondo. I read the the first third of the book when it hit me - I was like OH I GET IT. She has X-treme cleaning OCD! Like, on a massive scale. (i love you Marie!) And this smart lady has turned her cleaning OCD into a lucrative business! THAT IS CLEVER AND AWESOME.
(Andrew got me this bookmark because he said it was the best one he could find. And he's not kidding. He loved it more than any other bookmark. He also wants for you to please notice and ADMIRE the lasers shooting out.)
So anyway.....This Book. I have so many conflicting emotions about it. I'm not done with it yet. But it made me feel excited and scared and nervous and upset all at the same time, which isn't that fun when you're reading? Getting rid of things is FUN. It feels like....you're FREE. Every garbage bag that walks out the door is amazing and makes me feel SO HAPPY.
But I can't do things the way Marie wants me to and that makes me sad. Because I'm too lazy. I can't take every article of clothing and put it on the floor and then decide what to keep and put back. Or take EVERY BOOK IN THE HOUSE and put it on the floor and decide what to keep. Marie says that truly tidying your house takes about 6 months. She doesn't advocate going room by room (I'M TOTALLY GOING ROOM BY ROOM), she likes to go by genre of possessions. Books. Clothes. Dishes.
Ultimately, she has one mantra when it comes to tidying and deciding what to keep in your life. Only hold onto things that "spark joy". If you don't feel joy when putting on an article of clothing, toss it. (what if NONE of your clothes spark joy? what then? should you be naked? or buy a whole new wardrobe?)
Andrew note: "I don't know. My water heater doesn't really 'spark joy', but I don't want to get rid of it."
Another Andrew note: "Nomi. (our puppy) Out she goes."
If you don't feel joy regarding pretty much any material possession, toss it. It's a very easy way to decide what to keep, when you think about it. And totally counter to the way I was deciding whether or not to keep things: WHAT IF I NEED THIS DURING THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE??????
(Melissa Note: Marie says that you shouldn't feel guilty about getting rid of your stuff, especially if many of those things were gifts. You're not really getting 'rid' of things - you're sending them along on a new journey! You should thank them for a job well done and wish them well in their new home.)
After a couple of days of reading This Book, I was able to conquer my kitchen junk drawer, which has been a wasteland since Julia was born. I spent 30 minutes (maybe less!) and I had this to show for my efforts:
You need to get This Book. And please let's fight/talk/debate about it.
P.S. My pal Shannon reminded me of a Very Important Nugget/mild spoiler alert - at the very end, Marie writes that she's had to CALL AN AMBULANCE because of "too much tidying". I'll let you decide - how-to lifestyle guide or cautionary tale?? You be the judge. (Andrew says: "why can't it be both?" INDEED, my friend. Indeed.)