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Twice this past week, friends have mentioned they are reading a book on how to declutter,  The life changing magic of tidying up – the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo.

Apparently, one of the principles is to only keep things if it sparks joy.

Only keep the extra blanket, vanilla, battery, notebook you may need one day ONLY if it sparks joy.

A few problems with this…

First, one of my friends found this in a yard sale. I take that as an omen.

Secondly, I’ve stayed in a home in Japan. There is very little there. In fact, the summer I stayed there, the host mom went food shopping Every. Single. Night. After work.

Thirdly, I’m decluttering books so I’m not going to read this right now. Or maybe ever.

But it’s not personal to the book, as I said, I haven’t read it. I’m rejecting our decluttering myths.

We want to know how to declutter the hallway, the entryway, our closets, their closets and the spice rack, which we rarely use.

And we want it done perfectly. I mean, right the first time.

But let’s be honest. We’d rather read about decluttering correctly than actually spend the time to do it. (FYI, most decluttering can happen within 30 minutes)

It’s never about decluttering.

It’s about avoiding.

There are at least 4 things we avoid

We avoid what we have in front of us.

We avoid making decisions about what’s important.

We avoid choosing what stays.

We avoid letting it go.

Can we just own it for a mom-second? It’s never really about decluttering.

It’s about avoiding relationships, work, and parenting in the name of decluttering. As torturous as figuring out how to declutter is, it’s easier than those things.

In relationships, work, and parenting:

We avoid what we have in front of us.

We avoid making decisions about what’s important.

We avoid choosing what stays.

We avoid letting it go.

Quite possibly, what we really want more than a clean closet/ kid’s room/ spice rack is a clean life. One that we choose.

Parenting we intentionally create.

Deciding even if it’s not perfect.

Committing to what’s worth keeping.

Letting go of what no longer works/ serves/ is important.

I maintain my initial point: it’s not about decluttering. It’s about parenting, relationships, work and all the things we avoid. Truth is, we will always have junk, stuff we get that we shouldn’t have, stuff we no longer want, stuff we keep in case we need it later, and stuff we keep just because we want it.

I will concede this. Maybe taking everything in our hands, and looking at it, and finding the joy, really is the answer. Maybe this really is the best decluttering book about life we’ll ever need.

 

Vikki Spencer, mom coach, The Mom Whisperer