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Life Changing Magic

November 3, 2015 - Stacey Sacco
I wrote recently that I had been looking for a better way to keep my house clean. Or more accurately, GET my house clean. I read a number of books and blogs in an effort to find some peace and organization in chaotic household. I’ve added some routine to my days that I didn’t have before, but there is still only a small improvement. What has made a difference was the method of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

At the risk of sounding like a crazy fanatic, I’m convinced her system works. I have started, not finished. But I’m already seeing the difference. My house is starting to feel more organized and happy. There is still a lot of work to go, but I can see that it’s possible to not live in chaos. I’m looking forward to the peace that will come with completing the journey.

My advice for anyone who is interested, is to read the book. It’s short and clearly written. All you have to do it follow her directions. I’m not going to detail the How here, but I am going to confirm that it has changed my life. It’s changed the way I look at everything in my house. This is what I have learned:

Six people have a lot of THINGS. I can just look at any room in my house to see that we have a lot. Despite that, I don’t think I understood just how much we really have. As an adult, I expected to find things I had forgotten about as I organized my clothes and sentimental items. However, there were things in the back of my five year old’s closet that made us say, “Hey! Remember this! Why has it been hidden all this time?”

I’ve wasted a lot of money. All those THINGS in the back of the closet? I paid for them. And now they sit gathering dust. If I hadn’t wasted all that money could our house be paid off? Would we have substantial college savings for each kid? Would I not be worried about what happens when my van dies? I can sell some of the THINGS sitting around, but it won’t make up for the fact that my poor decision making about money has been the equivalent of setting hundred dollar bills on fire.

I don’t really care about most of these THINGS. Once I started looking at our things with new eyes, I realized how little I care about so much of it. I spend a lot of time cleaning things I don’t even like! How crazy! No wonder I can’t keep the house clean. There are too many THINGS for the space we have. And I don’t care if I have 50 t-shirts clean. There are only a handful of them that actually make me feel good when I’m wearing them. If we only have things in the house that we actually love, it’s easier to take care of them.

I’m married to a hoarder. Honestly, I knew this. But it has become painfully clear that his inability throw away anything is destroying our home and rubbing off on the way the kids looks at THINGS. They are starting to agree that they need to keep all of these THINGS that are actually trash or belong in someone else’s house. I don’t have the solution to this. I’m hoping my new perspective will rub off on him.

We are so rich and so poor. We are surrounded by THINGS. There are THINGS spilling out of drawers and crammed into corners. They are strewn across the floor and forgotten about in toy boxes. Thousands of dollars have been spent on yet another pair of jeans or Lego sets. There are so many THINGS in our house. But I’ve overdrawn our account buying groceries. How does that happen? Because our priorities are totally screwed up.

These THINGS never make me happy. Never once have I felt pure joy because of a pair of tennis shoes or a new DVD. Sure I LIKE some of these things, but the feeling is momentary. What consistently makes me happy is spending time with the people I love and spending time doing the things I love to do. Cleaning does not make that list. I want to be able to sit down and read with the kids or spend the day at the playground without worrying what the house will look like if I don’t do cleaning for a day or two. I want to have room to do yoga each day without taking an hour to dig out a big enough spot on the floor. I want to have a peaceful, inspiring place to sew and evenings that are relaxing instead of rushing to get as much done as possible before the kids get up and destroy it again.

In fact, these THINGS cause the majority of the conflict in the house. Now that I’ve trained myself in what to look for, I realize that not only am I always cleaning THINGS, but I’m always fighting about THINGS. I yell at my kids to pick up their THINGS. They cry that they can’t find specific THINGS. My husband and I fight about who spend money or didn’t buy the right THINGS. We argue about keeping THINGS and donating THINGS and storing THINGS. Why do we let inanimate objects control us and our relationships? They have the power and don’t even enjoy it.

I’m taking my life back. I want peace and contentment and I want to teach it to my children through the way I live with them and with our THINGS. Too much is too much- always.


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