When Tidying Actually is Life Changing

Before you laugh it off (like I did) and say 'wtf do I need with some Japanese lady telling me how to tidy' or 'yeah right as if clearing out your wardrobe can be life-changing' I want to tell you my story and how this book has affected me in the last four months. I'm sure if you have been reading this blog for a while you will know that I (Sammy) am not a naturally tidy human. I am prone to spill, and I am a hoarder (I prefer to say collector but let's be serious I hoard). So when my Business Coach, Els, suggested that I read the ‘most’ famous book about tidying after our first real session back in September I was a little confused. But I dutifully ordered myself a copy from Amazon and waited for it to arrive. 

A couple of days later the book arrived about midday that Friday, and by the Sunday I had finished it and booked a week of work to sort my life out. On Monday I managed to fill ten black bags with clothes and shoes, the next day I loaded a further five with books and paperwork and by Friday I had cleared 30 bags in total with charity donations and rubbish that had been clogging up my home for the 9 years we have been living in it. Since that week I have probably removed around 20 more bags of excess baggage from every area of our home, and more importantly about 15 years of emotional baggage with it. 

It turns out I am a hoarder of feelings as well as stuff, and I suffer, as many of us do, with depression and anxiety, so I am prone to carrying a weight of responsibility on my shoulders. It was this baggage that Els was really trying to get me to let go of when she suggested this marmite book to me. She wanted me to look at my work and my life as a pile of clothes. To go through these pieces, some new, some unworn, some well loved and a few too many pairs of ‘maybe one-day’ jeans and decide which pieces gave me joy and which I could let go of for good. 

I was so ready to throw out the guilt of my divorce (entirely not my fault and over ten years ago btw) along with the stress and sadness of closing down Sew Crafty’s High Street shop and the shame (I felt) of not still being a Mum at 35. All of which are self-imposed and completely irrational feelings. For me the process of cleaning out my house also let me clear out my head. While I was tidying I wasn’t checking social media, or looking at emails - I will come back to that in a minute - I was letting myself fully engaged with what I was doing, It was so good. 

After the household clutter purge, the digital one happened. I had about 8000 email in my inbox going back nearly 10 years, all read but just hanging out un-organized, I had files ready for them but wasn’t really using them correctly. I realised that it was making me anxious, so I spent an hour going through and sorting emails into folders, and as soon as I got bored, I deleted the rest. It felt awesome. I now make sure I finish the week with an empty inbox, and I love it. I also unsubscribed to loads of email newsletters and now every time I get one I have forgotten about I unsubscribe right away. 

As well as living the emotional weight of my shoulders it has made keeping up with adult-ing much easier. Much less stuff to dust around and clean, I haven’t run out of clothes yet, and I feel happier. I also felt great that my local charity shop was benefiting from my unwanted clothes, books, and household stuff. Part of me wishes that I had taken before and after photos but to be honest I am glad that I don't have to admit that it had got that bad. It is best left in the past like the pile of life crap that is also now just a memory.

I had scoffed and made fun of this book for a while before I read it, and like I said, I was just ready for it, but if you think you need a little something this year, I would recommend diving in with an open mind to Marie Kondo and her sock folding. You never know It could be life-changing for you too. 

Have you read this book? How did you find it? Did you de-clutter immediately or throw nothing away but the book?? I would love to know your experiences

Sammy xxx 

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