During Spring Break, I usually have a “to do” list. And on that list, invariably, are the items “go through clothes” and “declutter.” This week was no exception, although “go through clothes” turned into telling the kids, “Take all your clothes out, put back what you will wear, hand stuff down to the next kid, and give me what’s leftover.” Very hands off.
I spent most of Spring Break reading. I follow a few minimalist and simplicity type blogs, and a particular book keeps popping up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Although I saw the book at Costco, along with its companion Spark Joy, I decided to place a hold on the book at my local library rather than purchase a copy and add to my clutter. My turn came just in time for spring break.
The book is quite charming. My takeaway is that “tidying by category” instead of by room and considering what to keep rather than what to discard (the things that “spark joy”) are what makes her method a novel approach to decluttering. I found myself a little put off that in order to implement the method, I would have to embark on a “tidying marathon” instead of decluttering a little at a time. In doing the marathon, however, I am assured that I will not backslide into clutter and have to keep chipping away at it the rest of my life.
Happily, it was also my turn in line for Spark Joy, because I finished Tidying Up in no time. A lot of the information in both books is repetitive, but Spark Joy has illustrations. Most helpful are the illustrations of how to fold and store clothing upright, which was hard to picture when reading Tidying Up. I had dismissed folding as time consuming and promoting wrinkles. I hang up almost all of my clothes. Never mind the hanger marks. Anyway, I got a chance to try out a few folding techniques when my son’s dryer broke and he came over to do his laundry. My daughters could not resist engaging in back seat folding. We had some fun interaction! Which brings me to another point about Spark Joy. There is more about relationships in it. The best advice in the entire book is to be an example rather than force people to tidy, and the most joyful story in the book is when Marie’s dad asks her to help him tidy up.
Of course as I read, I begin contemplating my own tidying journey. What began as a high pressured decluttering to prepare for bedbug treatment over two years ago, only to see the clutter mounting again, has become a desire to minimize our stuff to gain freedom. I have pre-ordered Joshua Becker’s new book, The More of Less, and signed up for Uncluttered, a twelve week course offered free to those who pre-order. I will be looking for the things that bring joy and being thankful for the things I let go.