Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I can't believe I bought this book - the title annoys me and the idea of some zen Japanese chick telling me that organizing my sock drawer will change my life really pissed me off. However, I bought it, I read it, and I'm following her plan.

I'm tidying up my life.

Yes, the book is about tidying up your home - simplifying your existence, paring down your massive mountain of belongings to just those things that truly bring you joy, making sure every item in your home has a place and that you return it there - but as I go through it, it truly is affecting more than just my possessions - it is affecting my heart and soul.

First, Zen Lady wants you to take every shirt you own - every sweater, t-shirt and blouse - and throw it onto your floor (or your bed, if you are lazy like me and don't want to bend over) and then take each item and lovingly hold it in your hands to see if it inspires joy. If it does inspire joy, congratulations! you get to keep that shirt. If it does not bring you joy. . .or if it brings you annoyance, anger, guilt or rage. . then into the reject pile it goes.

As I gingerly lifted each item, it got easier and easier to feel the joy or lack of. It also got easier and easier to feel other emotions pour through me - frustration (this shirt is too small, why am I so FAT), anger (I wore this shirt during that shitty job interview), guilt (but this shirt is brand new and I never even wore it!), sorrow (this t-shirt was once soaked with heartbroken tears) and jealousy (this shirt is so cheap, I wish I could afford a better brand). As the emotions swelled, so did my reaction to each; I no longer tossed each rejected item into the pile - I balled up, threw, kicked and violently slammed those infuriating pieces of cloth into the mountain of color that grew at the foot of my bed. With each discarded item, I felt a bit of emotion leave me, until, when I was done, I was left feeling infinitely calmer and less anxious. I bagged up that mass of garments without a second thought and as I tossed the bags into the back of my car (to donate tomorrow) I felt relief and. . .well, joy. It was truly a cathartic experience. . .and a little exhausting.

And all of that from just SHIRTS. Imagine what will happen when I get to accessories, books and, gasp, memorabilia!

The book should really be called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. . .and Letting Go of All of the Pent Up Rage, Frustration, Sadness and Regret that Courses Through Your Body and Gets Transferred to the Mountains of Inanimate Objects You Choose to Surround Yourself With. But I guess that is not as catchy.

On to sorting my pants. . .

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