If you’ve ever watched an episode of “Hoarders” you will see how tragic it can be for people when they become so overwhelmed with stuff and clutter that they (literally!) cannot walk from one room of their house to another. Even in the midst of their misery, some people are attached to their things to the point of finding it heart-wrenching to part with stuff that appears to an onlooker to have little or no value, certainly not benefit, and in some cases actually detrimental to a person’s mental and physical health.
Since I’ve always felt naturally inclined in the direction of “tidying up,” but frequently found myself being treated like a “neat freak” (and not always kindly!), it was quite curious to me to discover this new-fangled obsession with Marie Kondo’s book and now a TV series about “tidying up.” Hooray! I thought. Maybe now I won’t feel like such a weirdo! So I decided to take a look at her approach to making peace with our surroundings. Because, after all, that is how I’ve seen this business of “tidying up” all of my life.
It’s not about having a big, fancy, expensive house. I grew up in a very modest (actually less than that) little lake cottage where we had one source of heat in the winter which was right in the middle of the house, surrounded by two tiny bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen. There was no central air conditioning, plain wooden floors, and no insulation in the walls. One a cold winter morning I would wake up with my blankets covered with a bit of frost and frozen to the wall. But no matter . . . . my mother kept our little cottage clean and tidy. Even when I hated having to do the dishes, sweep the floor, dust the old broken down furniture, scrub that little old-fashioned bathroom, and fold the laundry, I guess I learned to appreciate the peace (and perhaps even joy!) that comes from having our little world orderly.
Have you heard about the “Tidying Up” phenomenon? Check out my blog post at Vintage Mama’s Cottage to follow my journey!
If you haven’t read “Tidying Up” or seen the Netflix series, you might find it interesting. In an article I found at CNET: “Kondo’s goal is not to design the perfect home — Kondo couldn’t care less what color someone’s walls are — it’s to seek out and increase the tranquility in one’s space and amongst one’s things. It imagines the home as a sanctuary, rather than a dream house.” You can make peace with your home, no matter where you live or what kind of house you live in. It could be an apartment, a rental house, a dorm room . . . anywhere you live, you can make it a place of refuge and tranquility. Even if you only have a corner of a room, you can make it yours.
At first glance this might seem counter-intuitive in this day and age when we all are bombarded day and night with bright shiny objects demanding our attention: “BUY ME!” and “BUY MORE” and “SALE! SALE! SALE!” Everywhere we turn we are encouraged to buy the latest, greatest, newest, most fashionable “this and that,” and of course all of the newest, greatest, and most fashionable stuff is different from one season to the next. So whatever great, amazing, and hottest thing you bought last month is probably really old and boring by now. So BUY MORE!
According to the article from CNET: “Tidying Up” is not your average American phenomenon. Deceptively innocuous, it is ushering an array of un-American philosophies to the American television mainstream: declutter your life, be thankful for the home you have, practice gratitude. In a country filled with overstuffed garages and increasingly excessive home makeover shows — think “Fixer Upper,” or “Extreme Home Makeover,” or even “Hoarders” — “Tidying Up” preaches humility, and the idea that we should tidy our homes to show ourselves and our living spaces respect.”
So whether you want to follow Marie Kondo on a journey of “Tidying Up,” or if you just want to jump in and do it the old-fashioned way, tidying up is a good way to make peace with your home. Last year we had a flood in our laundry room. It was a mess! But in the end, it pushed us to replace some old flooring and carpeting that we were planning to do, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Actually, we didn’t have the money to do it, so when the flood destroyed a bunch of stuff, our insurance covered the cost of some of the renovations we already had planned. In the end it was a good thing, but while we were in the middle of fixing stuff, it was miserable.
Now we have a few more home improvement projects we want to tackle this spring, so for now I’m focusing on making sure that I tackle the tidying up projects that need my attention so that we’ll be ready for the big projects. This week, the pantry cupboard needs to be reorganized. It’s a baby step, but it is a step in the right direction. How about you? Have you tried “Tidying Up,” or do you just do what I do and roll up my sleeves and tidy up . . . I can’t quite figure out whether some of this stuff “sparks joy” or not. Like noodles. Or underwear. Or dish soap. I guess you could say that stuff “sparks joy” so I guess I better keep a few noodles, underwear, and dish soap. And probably socks. Other than that, I’ll let you know. I would love to hear about your “tidying up” journey, that is if you decide to start down that path. It will be interesting!