A friend recently wrote something on Facebook that made me laugh. While on a road trip, she had listened to the audio version of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a wildly popular book on decluttering with a cult following. Here's what my friend had to say about the author's life-changing advice:
- I guess Ikea won't solve my problems
- I pretty much need to throw away 2/3 of my belongings
- I have been folding my socks wrong
- The author obviously does not have any kids
My friend noted that she was still headed to Ikea. And, to that I say, Go girl! Ikea may not solve our problems but it certainly helps ease the pain.
I've read The Life-Changing Magic and have referenced it a few times here on the blog. Off the top of my head, here are some things I found helpful:
- Declutter by category, not by room, starting with clothes
- Discard first, organize later
- Don't declutter mementos until the very end
- If it doesn't spark joy, let it go
And while I've found these tips helpful, I'm a rebel and don't always do what I'm told. I suppose the "spark joy" rule goes for advice as well. I tend to follow the advice that inspires me to action, and I discard the tips that make me feel stressed, tired, or like I'm doing it wrong.
I had an epiphany sometime last year, and it happened when my husband was out of town and the stomach bug was taking down the rest of us one by one. I was also in the middle of painting my oldest son's bedroom. I felt the bug coming on, but I refused to set down the roller until a few minutes before I got sick. Then I proceeded to feel like hell for about 12 hours.
But in the minutes and seconds leading up to that? Totally happy.
The epiphany was that doing things around my house gives me energy. Not everything. But certain things. When it comes to decluttering or tackling the next project, rather than follow some master checklist that someone else created, I ask myself, what's driving me crazy? What's the next thing I can do right now that will make me feel better?
Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all of the things, because I don't know where to start. But when I really stop and think about it, I'll realize something like, "The thing that's making me nuts is that when I open my kitchen cabinets, plastic cups fall out on top of me." So I'll declutter the kitchen next.
I turn to books and expert advice (and blogs, heh) when I need to get my head around the task at hand. Sometimes, I need the extra voice to inspire me, motivate me, or give me a creative idea I haven't thought of.
Here's what I don't do: use the KonMari method to fold my clothes. I spent an entire day trying to follow that advice, and that's a day I'll never get back.
Cheers to Ikea!