I can’t really call it “spring cleaning” because it’s nowhere near spring in this part of the world. More like “deep winter” cleaning.
Two weeks ago we were in the Barnes and Noble store and they had this book on one of the discount tables. The Live-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo.
“Hey,” I said to Brooke. “We could use that one.”
“Very funny,” she said.
“Yeah,” I said. “Funny.”
Because how many magazine covers and blog posts have you come across that promise the magic bullet for getting your life in order. I’ve read quite a few online, and quite a few more in magazines in doctors’ waiting rooms. The only people I know who have really clean houses are people who pay for a cleaning service to come in once a week and do it for them. And even then, it’s only for that one day a week.
But then, it was kind of like the way once you buy a new car all of a sudden you see lots of other people driving the same car you just got, as if everyone bought the same car on the same day you did. All of a sudden, after that day at the bookstore I kept seeing references to this Tidying Up book. Like, it wasn’t a joke. Apparently this was the real deal.
So last Tuesday when Brooke was headed back down the mountain to civilization I asked her to pick up a copy. She did. And I stayed up until 1am reading it.
If anyone ever told me I would stay up until 1am reading a book about cleaning, I’d have said they were crazy.
Actually Brooke now thinks I’ve gone crazy. I’ve been tidying up ever since.
I’ve cleaned off the piles of crap that have been on my desk for two years. I’ve sorted, folded and put away piles of my clothes that have been sitting around since we unpacked them three and a half years ago. I’ve cleaned up my bookcase, gone through my papers in two file cabinets and culled out the rat’s nest of old wires that have been occupying a corner of my office.
After three days of pretty intense sorting and pitching I’m, maybe, a little more than half done, not counting the garage that’s going to have to wait until spring. Temperatures are hovering around zero. I’m really not that crazy.
The book promises that tidying up will have life changing benefits. I will become more productive. I will be more prosperous. My health will improve, as will my family’s. I will have better luck in general. We’ll see. I’m already pretty lucky most days, so it’s a tall order.
What I do know is: it’s sure nice to be able to see that corner of my office again, and it’s mighty convenient not to have to dig through piles of laundry to find my underwear.