Magic of Tidying

I just read this zen, tidying sensational.  I love cleaning.  So when a friend mentioned this book to me 2 years ago, I didn’t think twice about reading it.  Recently, I was talking with a client about the state of her house; I got the sense that further healing was stunted because her home was too full and unorganized.  She mentioned she had read this book and knew what she needed to do but had only completed her clothes and got derailed when she got to her books (more on the particulars later).  Then, I had another client who admittedly said the excessive state of her home was 80% of her stress.  I knew I could do all the fabulous healing work with her at my office but the moment she stepped back into her home, she would be once again consumed, preventing sustainable results.  So I told her she could hire me to clean her house.

Let me give you a little background on my relationship to cleaning.  I’ve been cleaning since my earliest memories and I wouldn’t be surprised, if I was tidying in my mother’s womb.  Half joking…but it’s a whole other conversation.

Growing up with my 4 sisters and single mother, I learned early on that cleaning would make my mother less stressed and happier. But that wasn’t my sole reason to clean.  I found great satisfaction in cleaning. I can picture my childhood room: freshly vacuumed lines in the carpet, my closet neatly organized; hangers equally spaced apart with all clothing facing the same direction, my stuffed animals carefully placed; making sure they looked comfortable (sometimes this meant my bunny would move next to a different furry friend.  I loved that bunny so much!  My mother gifted her to me after I fell off our swing set, landed on my face, and got 6 stitches.).  I got bored of my endlessly organized room so I would clean my younger sister’s room.  I swear it was the antithesis of my room and I loved tackling her room when she would grant me permission.  I can still picture her childhood room: blackout curtains, smell of a hamster cage, clothes covering every inch of the floor, closet bursting with boxes of baseball cards and hanging branded t-shirts.  It was a glorious nightmare and so satisfying to clean!  To her redemption, she now keeps a tidy house, while raising her 3 boys.

To paint the picture a little more…  I would fake being sick to stay home to clean.  I’m pretty sure my mom let me stay home because she knew she would get a clean house out of it.  Looking back, I see that I got so overwhelmed with school/life that I needed 3-4 sick (mental health) days a month.  I had made a reputation in our small town of 1,000 and was hired to help clean people’s homes.  I still laugh about when I was hired by a hippy artist to clean his house and studio.  My first day on the job, I cleaned out his fridge.  I was disgusted by all the moldy cheese he had and swiftly discarded it for him.  The next time I came back, he told me not to throw out his cheese, with no explanation.  It took my moving to Portland in my early 20’s to experience the delight of eating moldy cheese.  Ah, I get it now!  Sorry, “The Dude”; he looked just like Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski.  

Now back to my present day client.  She decided to hire me and to prepare, I decided to finally read, The life-changing magic of tidying up; the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo.  Let me start by saying if you haven’t read it, see if you can borrow if from a friend or the library as it’s worth a read.  It came out in 2014 and it generated a lot of buzz.  Like usual, I’m about 2 plus years behind the trend as I follow no social media or news.  Nonetheless, it’s crossed my radar and certainly (re)sparked my interest in helping clear and create sacred space in people’s homes.

There’s a lot to say about this little decluttering book.  My intention of this blog is to promote Marie’s book and to diversify my services by now offering professional house clearing.

As a bonus, I’ll share my tip on how to equally space out your hangers: spread your fingers (forget your thumb) of one hand and place over the hangers, then pinch your fingers together, moving the hangers to a finger width apart and continue on down the line. I just did it, in my now adult closet, and I’m still brimming with joy.  It’s been probably 20 years since I’ve let myself perform this clever, tidying maneuver. It’s not trademarked so feel free!

More to come…