It started with a plumbing problem.
Back in the dark days of February, my laundry room drain backed up. Water got into the adjoining cedar closet and rec room, and I had a terrible time cleaning it up because the closet was stuffed too full of junk.
In the midst of mopping the floor and calling plumbers, I took a break and happened upon the “Forty Bags in Forty Days” challenge. “That’s what I need to do!” I thought, and posted about it on my Facebook page. A friend saw it and posted a link to Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Of course, I wanted to read rather than going back to my cleaning/plumbing tasks, so I bought the book and read it.
And . . . it worked. Wow, did it work! I’ve become a tidying machine! The details belong to another blog entry (in fact, I’m about to post a series about tidying on my blog, Flawed Christian Woman). But the interesting thing was, as I sorted through my excess stuff, I sorted through some life issues too.
Almost four years ago, I moved into this house in a state of shell-shocked grief about the sudden demise of my marriage, worried about how to manage my finances, my job, and my distressed ten-year-old while taking care of a house single handedly. I don’t blame myself for just throwing junk into closets, but now I’ve come to a place of being ready to sort it all out.
I discovered that a lot of my stuff triggers emotions, and that getting rid of it forces me to deal with the underlying feelings. Wedding photos? Dumped. Too-big and too-small clothes, reflecting fluctuations in weight and body image? Dumped. Unfinished self-improvement projects—yarn for knitting a complicated sweater, audio programs to learn Chinese, a tofu press from the vegan phase? Dumped.
I shed some tears throughout the process, especially as I sorted through my daughter’s little-kid toys and “I love you, Mommy” drawings. Some of that precious stuff got carefully placed in boxes safe from water and weather, stored for keeps.
You should see my house—it looks AMAZING! And my heart is so much lighter. The only unhappy people are the trash collectors who have to deal with the piles I’ve discarded each week, stuff that’s too junky to donate.
The bible has a lot to say about possessions, and the gist of it seems to be: they don’t make you happy. Jesus even said to get rid of stuff: “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12: 33-34).
With the weight–physical and emotional–of some of my possessions gone, I feel like I can concentrate more on what’s really important.
How’s your spring cleaning going? How are your closets . . . and your heart? Let us know today in the comments section, and I’ll gift one random commenter a Kindle copy of Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.