Please tell me I’m not the only one who is tired of living with a mess, and yet not quite motivated to get it cleaned up?
The month of May is always exceptionally busy for me. I’m trying to get motivated to simplify and declutter, but it’s been tough. I see a light at the end of the tunnel and know that decluttering and getting rid of some things is going to be a welcome summer project. I remembered this post from April of last year, and I wanted to share it again as a reminder to myself and to perhaps aid those of you who might be feeling the same way.
Whenever I spend time in a hotel or rental vacation home, I realize how I feel living in simplicity. Of course it’s wonderful being on vacation, which brings a certain peace and renewal, but the idea of living without all the detritus — mismatched socks, old magazines and newspapers, bills to be paid, clothes that are too big or too small, books to be read or reshelved, empty shampoo bottles, opened boxes of snacks or cereal that we didn’t enjoy — is what I always wonder if I could bring home with me.
Of course I’ve heard of Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Friends have posted about putting all of their clothes in a pile and deciding what to keep. Magazine articles have shared about thanking those items for service that you are no longer going to keep. I get the idea of keeping only what brings you joy.
When a book-blogging friend recommended her more recent practical book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, I downloaded it then and there, because I’ve been on a mission wanting to simplify all my stuff, and I thought this book would motivate me.
I was almost finished reading Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul by Ruth Soukup, so I continued with that and then jumped into the next book.
This is one reason I love to read! It instructs me and motivates me and keeps me entertained all at the same time.
I highly recommend both of these books. I’ll give you a glimpse of why, so that you can decide which one fits your needs best.
The subtitle sums up the unique element of this book: decluttering your home, mind and soul. Of course, the author talks about getting rid of things in your home. She’s pretty drastic, admitting that she’s even gotten rid of the clutter of throw pillows in her home, but I like that she also gives a lot of practical tips, like 10 Tidy Habits that Will Change Your Life, like making your bed every day, doing one load of laundry every day, keeping your inbox at zero (that’s a challenge for sure!).
She shares the systems she has used to help her win the battle of the inbox and all those papers that the little people and the letter carrier bring into our house every day. She sets up “if this, then that” systems that help her deal with each item as they come in.
The philosophy of only buying and bringing into your home what you truly love or need — similar to Marie Kondo’s theory of joy — is a recurrent theme as well. Ruth Soukup even tackles what to do with all those gifts that our children get! We can’t very well win the battle of stuff if the stuff keeps coming. She shares her own experience with relatives who were so generous to her young girls that they couldn’t even use or wear everything. Once simplified, this type of overindulgence almost made her ill. But how do you say no? Her words here will help many parents who share this concern.
In regards to uncluttering our mind and soul, the author reminds us that we do not have to respond immediately to the demands that all of the stuff coming in requires of us — those text messages, emails, bills. The “if this, then that” filters are put into place here too.
If you are inspired, the book will also help you plan a hard core “Unstuffed Weekend Challenge.” My calendar is a little stuffed, but honestly, it’s something I’d like to try to get a jump start on having, storing, and loving less.
This book is a little “woo-woo” in philosophy. That was one reason I was more drawn to this follow-up than the first one. The first one is more stories and reasons, and this is more of a guide. Enough of the philosophy is there for me to understand, but with less of a focus on the way my clothes feel when I wear them or don’t wear them.
I like that she gives an order to the way we should tackle things — not room by room, because then we can move things around, but by category, and in this order: clothes, books (hey, now!), papers, “stuff,” and sentimental items. Hearing the stories she shares about working with her clients makes me realize it’s a very-long term project, but I like her assertion that if you truly tidy up, you will not slip back into clutter. I think that clothes and books — while both major fillers of all rooms of our house — could be done with hard-focused effort in a reasonable time, but the papers and everything else could be really hard.
I’m still reading this one, and I know it will help keep me motivated as I tackle truly tidying up and unstuffing my home, my computer, and even my soul.
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