Some people are wired to be savers. I know I am. So naturally, I have struggled with too-much-stuff ever since I started having to clean my own room. Of course, I did not know what the problem was. I just knew that the prospect of cleaning my room was overwhelming and best to be absolutely avoided, because there was no good place to put it all. I have romanticized my tendency to pack-rat-ism, tried to accept it, sunk in despair, etc., but I know that is all avoidance. In reality, all that stuff pressed on me, and I was afraid to let it go.

Since I married this tidy man of mine (thirteen years ago), I have been confronted with my little problem getting rid of stuff many times. I have slowly built up my determination to address the too-much-stuff in our house, but still felt overwhelmed by the prospect. Then, for my birthday this May, my husband gave me a copy of the bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. I know it sounds like a terrible birthday gift for your wife, but I was really pleased. And once I read Kondo’s book (it is pretty short), I was sold. There are many great articles and videos on the “KonMarie Method", so I will refrain from explaining too much.

One of the crucial steps that Kondo lays out is that of really examining your desire for more order and less stuff, and setting explicit goals and intentions. I thought that maybe I would not bother with that, since of course I wanted to tidy up my life. But once I committed to a specific long-weekend of doing this work, I started to sweat (literally). I was anxious that I would wimp out and be disappointed in the results. So the day before I was set to begin, I sat down and wrote out exactly what I wanted to achieve. I felt better right away, and I referred to it many times during my process, and it kept my motivation high.

My visualization for tidying up
Calm and peaceful space
Everything simple and easy to put away
Space for yoga, cooking, crafts, etc., on a moment’s notice
Enjoy the beauty of my house
Appreciate my possessions, find them inviting (instead of oppressive)
Easy to get dressed in the morning or for specific activities
Easy to grab and go: sewing, crafts, camping, sports, etc.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" - William Morris
“For one gains by losing, and loses by gaining" - Lao Tsu

Now that I have completed a large portion of my choosing and cleansing process, I think that writing out this visualization is one of the most important things I have done. It is a clear vision of how I want to live in my house, and I can refer to it anytime, forever. THIS will keep me in my new perspective, nevermore to mindlessly keep everything. Suddenly, I understand Lao Tsu better than ever: having more possessions only dilutes their value. Choosing to have less not only increases the enjoyment I have from the things I have chosen to keep, it also helps to free me from the fear of letting go.