There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual cleaning. I’ve been at my “spring cleaning” for the past several weeks, clearing out closets and drawers again. Nowadays, I find the need and desire to declutter more often, not just during spring, but every season.
I recently came across Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. In it, Ms. Kondo (one of Japan’s tidiness gurus) takes tidiness and decluttering to a new level. On the first page of her book, Ms. Kondo shares her secret for success: Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely in one go. It actually contradicts conventional wisdom to do a little at a time, everyday, so not to be overwhelmed. Instead, tidying she argues should be a special event.
Spring is a wonderful time for such an event so I decided to follow her advice and method for tidying. I cleared out my closet and drawers, dumping every single item of clothing I own in one pile in the center of the room. One-by-one, I held each article in my hands and asked myself a simple question: “Does this spark joy”? If the answer was no, it went into the donation pile. I did the same with shoes, handbags, and will continue in the same manner with books and other household items, linens, etc. The goal now is to only surround myself and fill my home with the things that I love and spark joy.
I know I’ve written about decluttering before (Rustic Simplicity), but I think its an important topic to revisit from time to time. A dramatic reorganization of the home is life transforming as it often causes corresponding dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. This to me is the key. A clean home does wonders to inspire calm, order, happiness and health. A healthy lifestyle is not only about food and exercise; it’s also about how we choose to live. A tidy—free of clutter—home, office, and/or car opens the door for brighter and new ways of thinking. Tidying/decluttering is an opportunity to hit the reset button and embark on a new lifestyle.
I’m not going to lie to you; it’s often a challenge for me to manage the clutter that creeps up in my home everyday, especially now that I have a child. But this spring, tidying in a new way has helped me to not only change my way of thinking, but also my approach to life. It’s been so refreshing to choose and think about what I really love and want to keep, not just what I no longer want or need. I’m finding the art of decluttering is not simply about getting rid of things or putting things away; it’s about acquiring the right frame of mind to approach a new way of living. It’s about assessing your habits and assumptions about clutter. It’s about a daily practice that leads to healthier lifestyle.
How about you? Do you find it a challenge to declutter? Have you been doing your own spring cleaning?