For those who met me as an adult, would you believe that I was the kid whose bedroom resembled something like this:

messy room

At some point in my adolescence, my mother elected to stop the nagging, yelling, pleading, and bartering. She simply…

door closing


I can’t pinpoint the exact moment in time when I realized that I couldn’t live in a chaotic state. Over the years, I broke several beloved treasures beneath my feet over the years, lost toys, and likely disgusted a friend or two. It’s funny to reflect on the contrast between my best friend growing up, Dani, and her tenacity for order with my pigpen habits. I have zero memories of disorganized piles on her side of the room she shared with her sister (this was the same girl who spent time oiling the woodwork in her room). What ran through Dani’s mind when she entered the scene out of “Tornado” at my house?

As I experienced my first-ever roommates in college to realizing how much more I enjoyed my physical environment when clothing/Trolls/game pieces/dirty dishes (??) weren’t underfoot, I transitioned away from being a slob into finding peace in the act of “decluttering.” Or, at least, I’m a work in progress.

To be frank, there simply isn’t enough room in my space for stuff. This extends beyond my surroundings to my mental and emotional spaces. And with the number of inputs demanding attention, demanding space increase daily, I have to contend with my own personal limits. Will I choose to shut the door and ignore the creaking hinges as they bulge against the weight? Or will I dive headfirst into the rubble, separating out the “must” versus “want” in order to sustain myself for the long haul?

I took two instances over this Labor Day holiday weekend to strap on my helmet and go to work on decluttering elements of my life.

First, the closet. Since moving into our home two years ago, I made halfhearted attempts to tidy up my closet partition. Some new hangers here; some shoe cubbies there. But, whenever I walked into the space, I could feel the tension. Too many items. And far too many that had sat (hung) for too long. On Sunday, I sat down and made a single rule: if I had not physically worn that item in the last year, it had to go. It did not matter if I had great emotional attachment to it, such as the t-shirt I won on our Big Boss Brewing tour when I shouted out the special password revealed on Twitter or those irresistible strappy blue sandals I had purchased (and not worn) for a wedding in 2010 but I knew that I would wear them someday.

No. I embraced the principle Marie Kondo espouses in her Tidying Up national bestseller and reviewed every single item asking the same question: have I worn this in the last year? One hour and four shopping bags later, I stood back and marveled at the transformation. Even this morning, I remarked to Aaron: “It’s like a whole new closet!”

Second, the mind. It has become increasingly clear to me (no pun intended) that my daily meditation can make or break my day, if I elect not to invest in it. Unfortunately, several of my co-workers were also on the receiving end of this discovery last Monday as grumpy Katie spewed fire throughout the office. No more skipping meditation.

I want to grow further in my mindfulness practice. Not feeling comfortable taking this leap on my own, I turned to the innovations of others and downloaded the app Headspace. Headspace markets itself as a 10-minute daily practice to improve your meditation. It doesn’t hurt that the person providing the guided meditation has a killer Australian accent. With two lessons under my belt, I’ve been surprised at how fast those ten minute session feels. There were mornings where my silent five minute meditations seemed to draggggggg onnnnnnn. It took serious self-control not to check the timer. I look forward to meandering through the next eight levels and see how I feel and what should come next.

I still do like to make piles of things (I swear they are organized); however, being with someone who is the definition of fastiduous has even curbed my kneejerk reaction to stack higher…and higher…and higher..


Your turn: Are you drawn to decluttering? Or do you dodge piles on your way out the door? What is your breaking point to clean ish up?


One Comment

  1. I am a big believer in decluttering. I’m not a minimalist, but when I walk into a room that is cluttered, it makes me feel anxious – it’s like “noise” that distracts me. I’m not talking about a book on the sofa or shoes by the door, but a dining table that can’t be used for eating, or a closet in which you know you have a blue shirt but you can’t find it! I don’t like walking into a space and having to make a mental “to do” list for future cleaning, or (conversely) having to actively ignore it! So yeah, my breaking points are not being able to find things, or having to move stuff in order to carry out everyday activities!


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