A few weeks back, I set out to tidy my home in a way I never had before.
Before I started out on this endeavor, I should begin by saying that my home was not a mess! In the sense that it didn’t appear to be like the homes you’ve heard about on the television show Hoarders. There weren’t piles of trash stacked up from years of disregard or anything like that. In fact, I didn’t even think I had all that much to get rid of. Boy was I wrong. About seven large bags of clothing and as many bags of trash later…
What I learned from this experience is that I may have wrongly judged the people whose homes are full of signs of hoarding. Because even a clean, organized home may have stuff acquired out of sight, and seemingly out of mind. Even a clean home may not be a kind home. So, how do we really embody our full potential for kindness and joy simply by keeping our home tidy? I’ll share with you Marie Kondo’s practical steps. And, full disclosure: I did not devise this method and I’m certainly not getting compensated to endorse it! It’s just an amazing approach I fully stand behind.
1. Keep in mind the proper order of tidying by category. First, clothing. Second, books. Third, papers. Fourth, miscellany. Fifth, mementos.
2. Pick out a weekend to get’er done. That’s right, you can’t drag out this process over the month or a year. If you must break up the process, tackle clothes on Saturday morning, books Saturday afternoon, etc. until you are finished. If you can get it done in a day, even better. But make it a special event, something you get excited about.
3. Get in the zone. Turn off music (unless it’s something non-lyrical or instrumental and not distracting). The idea is you’ll need to be able to hear your inner voice. In this sense, there is an element of meditation in deciding what to keep and what to discard.
4. Take all of your items of that category (going in the order as above) and put everything in a pile on the floor. Everything! Even the clothing hanging up, sorry. All must go on the floor so you can completely take in the enormity of what you own. This is essential.
5. Handle each item in your hand and ask yourself, “does this bring me joy?”
This last step (which you will repeat over and over and over again) can be a tricky one, because we may think something brings us joy but really what we are feeling is an attachment. This is what you have to dig deep to answer, and only you really can make this decision. You may also hold an item in your hand and say, “this is just my sock, it doesn’t bring me joy because it’s just a sock, but I need socks, so….what now?” This is where we really dissect the feeling of joy, which doesn’t just mean that leaping-up-in-the-air feeling of happiness, it can be as simple as the comfortable joy of slipping on a pair of socks that keep your feet warm and don’t have any holes!
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