Spick-and-Span

I diligently stacked my clothes in a pile on my bed as Pippin looked on with big, brown, judgmental eyes. I couldn’t figure out if she was feeling threatened by the looming pile and the potential impact it may have on her lounging space or if she was indeed, judging the shit out of me. I mean, after all she only has one coat and I have (had) like 400.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about then you may be one of the very few who haven’t fallen victim to Marie Kondo’s new show on Netflix. I was familiar with her, her technique and book but I adamantly refused to watch a show about cleaning. Nope. I kept seeing post after post of friends purging their closets with the hashtag #konmari. You get the idea, it’s everywhere. She’s everywhere. And yet, I still dug my heels in. No way in tarnation was I going to watch a show about cleaning. I hate cleaning! Watching other people get organized had less than zero appeal to me.

Then I got bored on a snow day and I could no longer resist her pull. I wasn’t even half way through the first episode before I pushed pause and started organizing shit. It’s like she puts a little pixie spell on you and her smile is so encouraging you just can’t help but feel motivated to purify your surroundings. Thanks, Marie. You’re the real MVP of my January.

Actual picture of me outside my closet this past Sunday.

Actual picture of me outside my closet this past Sunday.

It didn’t take long before I had two (more to follow, I’m sure) stuffed trash bags full of clothing donations. Everything was folded, my drawers closed, Pip could breathe again, and I felt lighter, calmer and ready to keep going. What could I tackle next? What material possessions was I holding onto that were ready to belong to someone new? Why do we accumulate so many things? What is wrong with me? Why does my dog have such judgey eyes?

Not only did I fall into Marie Kondo’s cute clinches but she opened my mind to a lot more than just a tidy house. I’ll be the first one to admit, I’ve got a lot of belongings but we keep a pretty tight and tidy ship. What I started to really hone in on was, what I could tidy up internally? I know that I can get sentimental about objects and things buuuut why? What could I tidy up and remove from my life that wasn't an object? What baggage could I set free?

If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to get distracted by the physical stuff and everything external, but in all actuality (I believe) those things are just a big distraction from the real work. Does that resonate with anyone else?

Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly agree that having a clean and well organized home does wonders for every aspect of your life. I won’t argue that point. What I’m suggesting is that we take a deeper look at the whole picture, our whole lives. Perhaps we cling to belongings and things because we’re avoiding something else. Perhaps you're on the other side of the spectrum and you’ve liquidated most of your belongings? Or maybe you just always have a meticulously clean abode? Could it be, that all of this is really just a diversion?

You’ve probably come to this conclusion on your own by now but I have no clue what I’m talking about. But, after all, you’re the one who is still reading this. No wonder Pip looks at me that way.

Listen, I am an observer. I’m an observer of my own behavior and that of others. I consider myself a student of life and I take mental notes everywhere I go. I promise I don’t do this with the intent to judge but simply to improve myself. Most of the time, I have to try things myself to figure out if it’s a good fit for me but the older I get the more I realize just how much I can learn by being a witness to the choices of others.

My girl Marie is obviously on to something. I think she is wonderful and whatever it is that she does to suck us all in to her “sparking joy” ways, I’m a million percent behind. It just made me think about all of us. We literally need help to organize our homes, our lives and we’ll jump on board the latest and greatest if we think that results are close at hand. Why is that?

While I’m pondering all of these rhetorical questions and continuing to organize my home (thanks Marie), I’m curious about your thoughts regarding this matter. So curious that I’m going to ask even more questions, but only because I feel they are significant. Do you maintain a tidy home? A mess of a casa? Is spick-and-span mentally only something I think about? Do you think the correlation I’m suggesting even matters? Here we are focused on organizing, sorting, filtering our things and I’d like to urge us all (myself included) to take the time for yourself and place the same amount of thoughtfulness on our well-beings. We will literally focus on ANYTHING else to avoid the internal work our souls so desperately seek.

Here’s how I propose we start the process: baby steps. May I suggest attending a yoga class, a day without social media, rising ten minutes earlier to sit in stillness, going for a walk without any devices or come up with a version that is better suited to you. Just find a way to check back in with yourself. Set everything else aside and be present. And then build from there. If you immediately feel resistant to this idea than you probably need this more than you know, I know that I do. Surprise yourself and see what happens.

What if we spent a fraction of the time that we spend on everything else and directed that same attention to our wellbeing? I honestly believe the world would feel a shift, so why not start the shift right now? Make an effort to get your body, mind and spirit as spick-and-span as your sock drawer, I dare you.

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