Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What Really Matters/Priorities

I've been on a cleaning spree lately. Just ask my mom. Most of last Friday night saw clothes strewn all over my queen bed, dressing table, and floor. That included clothes flung out of my suitcase. In sorting, I found clothes I forgot I had, clothes that brought back memories (good and bad), and clothes that I realized I'd never wear again. I discarded an entire kitchen-sized bag of clothes and guess what? When I finished, I had room to house most of my clothes in the closet, instead of in clothes, drawers, and that very inconvenient suitcase.

This cleaning spree started with my reading of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. The crux of the book is learning to discard any item that doesn't spark joy. Even items that might be used "someday" should be discarded if the person isn't attached. The person can always repurchase items if he or she misses them. (This point struck home for me, because I'm a major, "What if?" hoarder.) Kondo posits that doing a massive cleaning and tidying of one's home allows a reset of life and a re-focusing on priorities. I think she might be a bit ambitious, but I'm still experiencing benefits from this practice.

I haven't had time to purge all of my possessions at once, so I've been doing it little by little. I purged my purse last weekend after the Friday clothes review. In my purse, I found two old flashlights that weren't working, but were weighing down my bag. I found dozens of business cards from providers I no longer use. I gave the flashlights to Dad and trashed the cards. My purse feels so much lighter now, even with my IPhone in its Otter Box!

This afternoon, I sorted and shredded paperwork, managing to fit the important stuff into one accordian file. Kondo suggests that individuals should keep only paperwork that they readily access, and then sort it lightly. The act of looking for paperwork afterward serves as a reminder to constantly purge it. I've obviously kept too much stuff for too long, because I purged what became bags of shredded paper.

As I've purged, I've rediscovered old treasures, like my 5K race medals, my mother's locket, and my grandmother's Ecuadorian necklace. I'm realizing what matters to me and what I'd like to display when I find my own home. This process is cathartic.

Is tidying solving all of life's problems? No. I'm experiencing a season of change and that change won't go away. Tidying gives me something to do with my restless energy, however. I feel relief when I lighten the loads of belongings piled up in my room, and in my life. Tidying isn't magic. It's a practice in prioritization.

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