Monday, November 30, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up #SOL15


This month, my book club read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. It was a book that inspired a great discussion and confessions about our cluttered, messy ways. 

The author advises you to only keep items that spark joy. She invites you to almost personalize your relationship to your items, like thanking your shoes for their hard work when you put them away each day! When something isn't useful anymore or doesn't spark joy, she suggests you thank the object for its role in your life and then discard/donate it. Some things were hard to imagine doing, like emptying the contents of your handbag each day and putting every book you own on the floor to decide if it sparks joy or not. (Um, not doing that.)

I am a person with a lot of stuff and a person who holds onto a lot of stuff.  I somehow wonder how I would ever change these jaded ways for good, but Marie Kondo swears if you use her method, you would never be cluttered or disorganized again.  With the busy Thanksgiving weekend, it wasn't a great time to dive into organizing, but I was inspired from my book club session and decided to tackle one folder in one drawer of our file cabinet. 

The folder held all my high school newspapers and literacy magazines where I was a contributing author. I have not read these in years but the thought of parting with them was sad.  I recently started using the app Artkive since my children have been bringing home tons of art projects from preschool each week.  Artkive allows you to take pictures of the art projects and save them in a file for each child.  You can eventually make books and other projects with pictures of the artwork, while not having the actual artwork around.  I created an Artkive folder for myself and took pictures of all my articles.  It was really fun going down memory lane and revisiting these things I wrote over 18 years ago.  It's funny that I never really considered myself a "writer" but always loved writing and have really good memories and associations from being part of the school newspaper. The article below was mine, when I was "Kathleen Neagle" (my maiden name). Front cover story! :)



Some take aways from reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: It's okay to let go of things you have outgrown or do not need anymore.  No one needs extra buttons or old checkbooks. Your items should spark joy. Start with organizing your clothes, then your books, then your papers, then you miscellaneous items, and finally your mementos/photos because those are the hardest to let go. 

I love being part of a book club and reading a book each month that I probably would never have known about or read if given the choice. The friendship, discussion, and yes, snacks, all make for a renewing night out. Some of the most interesting discussions happened over books I was reluctant to read and many of the books we've read have stayed with me long after we read them.  Being part of a book club allows me to stretch as a reader, think new thoughts, and even offers the chance at a tidier life!