Decluttering: Expectations vs. Reality

Last Thursday afternoon I went to my couch, commandeered my television from my kids, and faced Mount Laundry yet again. After seeing many people I know post about the show Tidying Up on Netflix, I decided to turn it on and see what all the fuss was about. I’m definitely a freak for a clean house, but who else gets royally jazzed up over having the chores done?

As it turns out each episode in the series handles varying issues when it comes to the clutter and cleanliness of people’s homes. It also touches base on different living conditions and the family dynamics of each house. Marie Kondo does a beautiful job of sparking a new interest in organizing one’s house and the style in which she does it is really addicting to watch.

Flashback to me having a mundane evening on my couch, elbow deep in the pile looking for a matching sock, and I glance up to see my own clutter. Dammit. I had no anticipation of going on an early winter cleaning tangent on a Thursday. That Marie really got me going and looking at my bookshelf didn’t help. The bottom a mess of toys just thrown out of the way, Magnatiles on the third shelf un-stacked and spilling over, books stacked on top of books with no clear order. It was calling to me.

Eliminating Clutter

I thought that I was simply starting a “go buy a basket and fill it with toys” project but it turned into something much larger than it was supposed to. All I wanted was to trek the kids off to TJ Maxx to buy one of those oversized canvas baskets, maybe one with something cute written on the side like TOYS or STORAGE. My good friend quickly advised me to stay home, probably saving me a few hundred dollars because I’m sure we can all admit that running into TJ Maxx for one thing is a myth of epic proportions. Before I knew it I found myself gathering up these three matching baskets I have from the various places they’d ended up over the years. One in the kids closet, one in mine, and one in the pantry leading me to my painful point (three hours of work in the making).

You can’t declutter one space. It’s an all or nothing business.

Before I knew it I was pulling the least popular toys from my kids room to tuck away for a later date. Then I was whisked off into our closet which I LOVE because it is enormous but the “walk-in” aspect had been previously thwarted by things that didn’t belong. Suddenly I was moving things from the pantry, the mud room, itemizing the junk drawer, and suddenly the entire apartment felt lighter. By the end of the night I had moved three large, retired baby items from the attic, brought order to all of our storage, and secured more walking space in every room. While I noticed how wildly successful things were going I was surprised by how I felt.

The weight that comes off of your shoulders when you declutter your living space, even just a bit, is immeasurable. It’s almost like there is more room to breathe. I highly suggest everyone Netflix and chill with Marie Kondo, just be sure you have some organizational tools on hand for when you’re done.

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