The path to better living, inspired by book “The life-changing magic of tidying up” (Marie Kondo)

Clutter! It weighs down on me like the mighty sea, rolling me under its waves, scraping me, holding me captive, drowning me.

In my house, there is always that one location that I store everything I didn’t want to sort through. It has always been the garage for me. Through the years, focused on something else, the piles just got bigger and bigger. Out of site, out of mind, you see, and for a while it has worked for me. But now, that we have an extra room in the house, it’s even closer to my living space than ever. Oh, I’ll just put it here so I can look through it at a later time, take my kids to some activity they signed up for, and then forget all about it. Can you relate?

Did you know that the Sun has the ability to make us feel good?

I know, for me, when it’s raining, I’m a little sad and sleepy. As a child, I remember memories of sleeping outside on our terrace on the second floor of our house on a wooden bed, shaded just enough to be covered from the rain. The rain would fall just a couple of feet away from me and make this lulling sounds as each drop bounces off the cemented floor. I’d feel its tickling mist on my face as I slowly slumber off. The breeze in combination with the darkness that usually accompanies rain, the pitter patter of the rain, it’s the perfect combination of ambience to get anyone to fall asleep. I always thought it’s because of that habit that to this day I still get sleepy on rainy days!

Well, it might not be so after all. According to Healthline.com, exposure to sunlight triggers the hormone serotonin, known as the “happiness hormone”. In contrast, darkness triggers the hormone melatonin, known as the “sleep hormone”. Sunlight triggers an area in the eye that activates serotonin development, which is why people tend to be happier in the Spring/Summer – when the day is longer – than Fall/Winter – when the day is shorter. Read the article here.

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My point in talking about all this is

  • when my home is cluttered, I have the tendency to keep the blinds close, so that passerbys can’t see into our home, which limits the sun that filters into my house, which affects my mood, and further affects my life. Clutter embarrasses me and keeps me hidden to the world. When I’m not open, I miss opportunities to deepen my cause in life. Can you relate? Just one more reason to finally tidy up.

Why the clutter

This 2019 marks the end of our military journey. We have moved to 5 different locations in the course of 20 years in the most amazing locations all over the world. Places we would’ve not been privy to live in without the military’s assistance. Each year we accumulated quite an insurmountable amount of materials, maps of places we’ve visited, business cards in Japanese, toys made of wood we bought the kids, baby blankets and outfits, and so forth. Some are worth keeping but the most really are not – it has fulfilled its purpose; but, it stays in our home just the same as if it is worthy of space.

The fact that we relocate every 3 years or so to a new location, prohibited me from settling. We were going to relocate again anyway, why take the time to open the boxes? Because 1. It will take time from exploring the island; and 2. we’re just going to move again anyway. Up to this point, our walls still remain pretty bare. Now that we are retiring, I can finally fill it because we are here to stay. That makes me happy. But first, let’s get rid of clutter.

Inspirations comes in many forms

For me, I was watching Netflix one day, and decided to watch a new show that just came out: Tidying up with Marie Kondo. Marie goes to different homes and helps people weighted down by clutter to purge clutter out of their home and out of their lives. Season 1, Episode 1 seems to have saved the couple’s marriage just by tidying up their home! Her mantra is to surround yourself only with things that spark joy. I’ve always been pretty good with removing and donating clothing; but, everything else takes the back burner. Each year I buy more items, receive more items (gifts), and complain I have no space. And yet I don’t get rid of anything.

Since seeing Marie on Netflix, I have a renewed interest in tidying up and have since borrowed the book “The life-changing magic of tidying up” from the library. I devoured the book in a day. Oh it will take some time to sort through 20 years of clutter, don’t get me wrong. In the book, Marie says about 6 months of truly purging out those that don’t make you happy is a good measure. She has a method to the madness of tidying up and it has worked for so many people already.

She has sparked joy in so many, and now in me!, to finally be free of clutter. I am looking forward to a more decluttered brain, which should inevitably help me keep up with the blogging universe I am trying to get a more solid footing in. The theme for my blog this year is growth and I am looking forward to the experiences 2019 has in store for me.

Benefits of tidying up

Yes, I’m looking forward to the time when everything I own will have a designated space so that it will cut time searching for everything for the fam. I waste so much time, so much, looking for things. My goal is for everyone in my fam to know exactly where our things are. We’ve got along way before that but I am optimistic that it can be achieved.

Yes, I’m looking forward to cleaning less and cleaning more easily.

But what I am most looking forward to is the feeling of openness, the feeling of lightness from within. Because I’m embarrassed about clutter, I don’t feel good in my home when it is cluttered. I’m constantly making a mental note to declutter and tidy up. As a result, I loathe unexpected visits from fam and friends. I don’t invite anyone, unless I have time to clean before hand. And then I go to this massive cleaning frenzy. It’s a tiring mental and physical cycle.

I’m looking forward to last minute get together without all the fuss, to be able to just hang out and relax. When I’m hiding, I miss out on so much opportunities to connect with others.

Throw, Donate, or Sell

Currently I’m purging clothes and paper. I’ve created 3 piles: one to throw, donate, and sell. I’d love to make money off some of my stuff but I know that will take extra effort that will cause the items to linger even more, so my sell pile is very small and with tags still attached. I want to ride this wave of renewed inspiration to clean and so most of the things I have purging out of my home will be either donated or thrown away. The trash pile goes to the trash bin almost immediately and it is so fulfilling to get them out of the house. My shredder is working overtime. Now I know my bank sometimes have those recycling event at least once a year and I wish it’s happening now because I can just drop the documents off there, less hassle. But again, to wait for one will take time and I just really want the items out of my house asap while I’m on a roll.

Final words

If your heart fells heavy, take the time to identify the underlying causes. The process may be arduous but decluttering, just as inspiration, can come in many forms. By tidying my home, it will remove another clutter that occupies my mind, which in turn should open me more to the world. I know the clutter in our home lies heavy in me and I’m on a renewed vigour to finally let them go. When you are surrounded only by things that spark joy, it wholeheartedly affects your joy within, and in turn, affects how you receive life. For me, 2019 is about self-care and decluttering life. I’m exercising more, I am taking better care of myself, and I can see the changes it brought in me. I move lighter, I feel lighter, I am happier. And I want to extend that to everything that surrounds me, starting with my home.

Have you caught the Marie Kondo bug?

Until next time.

Mabuhay!

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2 thoughts on “The path to better living, inspired by book “The life-changing magic of tidying up” (Marie Kondo)”

  1. I really want to declutter and organize our house. Unfortunately, much of the clutter is my husband’s, and he is not as inclined to go through it as I am. He also is working so much so that I can be a SAHM, he really doesn’t have time to go through everything right now. But I can attest that the clutter stresses me out. It’s bad enough we have toys everywhere because the toddlers are still learning about cleaning up after themselves, but then I have stacks of magazines hubby wants to read “one day”. And his tools are all over the place (we are finishing up a bathroom remodel). Okay, I better stop..thinking about this is stressing me out! HAHAHA!

    Great post! I’m curious to know what you find when you start unpacking all those boxes from your years of travels.

    1. Hi, Nicole. Thank you for stopping by. Yes! Clutter is a source of stress for me and my husband has accumulated as much as I over the years. He’s in the process of retiring from the military and promises he will have more time to look thru his stuff soon. I can’t wait because decluttering can only be successful when all who contribute to it help get rid of it. Looking forward to that day. Will keep you posted on treasures worth keeping/selling I fond in the boxes 🤗 Take care.

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