A recent visit from my two out-of-town sisters and their families opened my eyes to the reality of the clutter in our home. While they were visiting we had so much extra stuff around, but even after they left, it seemed that our home was still covered in clutter. We were drowning in toys, baby gear, toddler climbing structures, mail, paperwork, laundry and bottles. It had become overwhelming and stressful.
We needed to find relief somehow.
We have a modest home with what has always seemed like a "normal" amount of belongings, but I am now convinced (by the way my husband talks about our 'stuff') that he won't be completely happy until our home looks a little less bare than a jail cell. And after a recent reveal of his wanting to give me the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (but not actually giving it to me because he didn't want to offend me), only confirmed this for me even more.
Then cue my sister telling me about how Marie Kondo's book had been turned into a Netflix series (thank you, Universe!) and I had to watch the first episode. I grabbed some laundry to fold and put the show on. Ten minutes into the episode, I found myself crying, which took me by surprise. The first couple's testimony really resonated with me on a deep level and I knew I had to respond to this urge inside me.
These two parents were so relatable to me. They explained that between work and life and child-rearing, their house just started to fill up over the years. The mother, who I identified with, expressed that she didn't find tidying up as valuable as anything else she could be doing with her children. And I felt for the husband, who sounded just like my husband—desperate for an answer and some relief.
I've put off the decluttering process in our home for a while, but after just one episode of Tidying Up, I decided to go for it. Marie Kondo lit a fire, nay a spark, under my butt. I wanted to make our home more comfortable for my husband and daughter, and I hoped the process of doing so would be life-changing for me too.
I want our house to make sense and to bring us all a sense of calm and relief from the outside world—a world often filled with busyness and stress and worries. I want it to be a safe haven for all of us. A place where we can leave our worries on the doormat and connect with one another daily.
Previously when I've attempted to declutter, I'd do it little by little or I'd start with a full closet and almost immediately get overwhelmed, then give up. However, after watching Tidying Up, I agreed with Marie's method and despite it seeming difficult, I knew once I finished that the likelihood of a relapse of accumulating clutter would be slim.
Putting away our Christmas decorations was an easy place to start since Tidying Up premiered shortly after the holidays (smart timing, Netflix). Once they were all away and my space was more normal-looking, I felt like I could tackle the house in its entirety. We spend most of our time in our living room, playroom and kitchen so I decluttered those three spaces completely on my first day.
When my husband came home from work on my Marie Kondo boot camp Day 1, I could visibly see the relief on his happy face. And as each day passed, I could see how much lighter we both felt. It was so encouraging.
Being able to tidy everything up in less than five minutes after our daughter goes to bed for the night now sets the tone for a relaxed evening together. We can focus on things we want to focus on, like conversation and catching up instead of tackling the day's mess or letting it loom over our heads.
I've also noticed this minimalism mindset spreading into other areas of my life, not just my home. For example, I have become more organized with my client information and how I schedule out appointments for my salon—streamlining strategies for my business life, too.
In the days since Tidying Up made its debut, my social media newsfeeds have been filled with Marie memes and threads. (I think she is taking over the world.) All my mama friends seem to be ditching their belongings for a simpler, more minimalistic home.
Maybe we are all just trying to figure out where we can find peace in the daily grind of mom life?
Every day I change diapers, make meals, tend to my business, worry about bills, make to-do lists, check in with my husband, schedule doctor's appointments, bring my daughter to play dates, etc. The emotional labor of motherhood is heavy, and Marie is helping me realize that it can actually be a little lighter with less 'stuff.'
With each post I see my friends share, I'm more inspired to decide what sparks joy in my life and what doesn't deserve space in our home anymore. I am understanding that I don't have to keep things we don't love anymore just because we may feel bad because the item was a gift or because our daughter played with that one toy once and she may want to play with it again in another couple of months.
And you know what?
I feel pretty joy-filled and my home definitely feels tidy. Thanks for all the sparks, Marie. ✨