The Magic of Tidying Up

I don’t know about you, but for the past 7 months of being home – and more specifically with my beloved hubby at home with me, our home started growing a life of its own.   A new desk in the middle of the dining room was set up for him to work, and along with that came the files, papers, books, etc., that once were so nicely set up in his office.

I also noticed that as the piles grew, so did my anxiety and my sense of overwhelm, to the point where I didn’t know where to start, so I wouldn’t.   And so, the cycle started and continued until one day I decided to make changes.   I bought Mari Kondo’s  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, tuned into shows like The Home Edit, and signed but for ApartmentTherapy’s 21 day Decluttering Cure. 

 “By starting with the easy things first and leaving the hardest for last, you can gradually hone your decision-making skills, so that by the end, it seems simple.” — Marie Kondo

At first, I felt overwhelmed but I broke it down into small goals, none of which took more than 20 minutes.  Each day, I tackled one defined area with a clear goal and immediately experienced a sense of calm, empowerment, and even excitement.  With so many things raging out of control in our lives today, this, THIS … was something I had full control over.   The surprise of surprises was that it gave me a sense of hope. 

This is a work in progress for sure, but here’s how I started.

“Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever.” — Marie Kondo

I started with a drawer, following a decluttering exercise from Apartment Therapy.   5 simple questions:

  1. Have I used it in the past year?
  2. Will I use it in the year ahead?
  3. Would I buy this again today?
  4. Is it worth fixing if it’s broken?
  5. Would I keep this if I moved?

If the answer was “no” to every question, then I got rid of it.

I then moved onto my dresser drawers.  Then my living room, the entryway, my fridge, closet, etc. It’s still a work in progress, working on the bedroom and closets…. but when I tidied up and reorganized my desk, I thought of you.  Because it made a huge impact on my physical comfort (no longer writing notes on the bottom corner of the back of an envelope in an awkward position b/c of the rest of the mess on my desk), my work mindset (clear-headed and calm) and my productivity (as my environment was decluttered, so was my mind).

“Your real life begins after putting your house in order.” — Marie Kondo

I got a little more curious about these magical experiences I was having after each tidying session and lo and behold it is scientifically proven that messes cause stress and anxiety.   According to the National Library of Medicine, “researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that living or working in a cluttered environment can inhibit your ability to focus and process information. This can lead to stress, feelings of being overwhelmed, and more often not, anxiety.”

If I haven’t inspired you to take action yet, maybe these proven benefits of tidying up will.  Living and working in a clean and tidy environment will help you in the following ways:

  1. It will reduce stress (and we can all use that now)
  2. It will help improve depression
  3. Your focus will improve
  4. You will feel a profound sense of satisfaction
  5. It is empowering
  6. It provides you with physical exercise
  7. It will save you time (you will know where your things are)
  8. It can improve your posture (no clutter under or on top of your desk allows you to sit better and make sure your work items are within close reach)
  9. It will make you happy
  10. It will inspire you to keep going!

“Putting your house in order is the magic that creates a vibrant and happy life.” — Marie Kondo








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