Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tidiness and Its Magic and Such

I didn't know what I was going to write today. I thought about a book review of One Plus One, but I don't want to write too many book reviews close together, especially since they get the least number of views of anything I post. I thought about a playlist of "Praise and Worship" music to run to, or my favorite "Christian" hip-hop. I also considered writing a "What to buy your favorite runner for Valentines" post. Then I checked my email and decided to save those posts for another time (I know, you're so disappointed to have to wait for Christian hip-hop).

The email I got was telling me a book I put on hold at the library was ready to be picked up. This has been one of the longest waits for a book on hold that I've ever had. It's for, you guessed it, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I've been looking forward to reading this book for a long time, but I try not to pay for books that I can get from the library (budget and all that nonsense), so my hesitance to go to story time today has been mostly removed. Now, I'm more encouraged to go just so I can pick up this book. I'll probably get some others too.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before how I feel about physical clutter causing mental clutter. Gretchen Rubin mentions it in her podcast, books, and blog as well. For some of us it's easier to focus the mind when your environment is orderly. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I think this affects me to a greater extent than those who do not. It's not just that I want things to look nice, it's that if they aren't my mind feels cloudy, I feel extra stressed, and I'm less likely to get anything done. Sometimes, when things pile up (here I mean as in a to-do list getting longer, not physical things creating an actual pile, though that could apply as well), it seems easier to just let it go because it's so much work to actually do the work. When that happens though, I end up feeling terrible. I feel bad about myself, and as the clutter and mess around me get worse, so does my depression. It's less work to let it go, but it causes so many other issues inside me.

On the upside, if my environment is clean and tidy, I feel more productive. Not only do I feel good about having an orderly home, but I feel like I can get more done in other areas. I can think more clearly, I'm less stressed, and because of being less stressed, I'm nicer. (See husband, you should keep things neater). Then we have the catch-22 of the stress caused by organizing things. For example, right now I hate the mess all over the surfaces in my bedroom. Both of our dressers have become a landing strip for anything and everything that there's no real place for. I would feel a lot better if these things were put away and the surfaces were clear of items that had no reason to be there. However, going through the things and all of the decisions involved in what to do with them is so overwhelming and stressful to me. I hate decisions, hate hate hate them. That's why it's easier to have less stuff, but I hate the decision of what to get rid of.

Last week, I finally went through the kids toys in the living room and got rid of a whole back-seat-of-the-car's worth of stuff. I also organized some toys as far as what goes in the living room and what is in the kids' rooms. Now the toy box can actually close! I also got rid of a bunch of outgrown clothes and baby items that had just been sitting around in the garage. It was a lot of work, but it made me feel so much better to do it. Some of the items in the garage were things I had been telling myself I was going to sell, but hadn't actually listed them. Or if I had listed them, they just hadn't sold. It's so much easier to just donate them. Less work, and more space. Sure, you're not getting any money back but you're helping out a good cause and you're actually getting rid off stuff!

In the end it's worth it, and I know I'll feel so much better, but it's so hard to get started and so easy to give up.

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Do you think clutter affects your focus?

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