I haven’t read the book The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up – because I have kids and don’t have time to read but I’ve had friends without kids tell me about it in great detail so I think I’ve got the gist.
Sift through through every scrap of paper in your house and if you hold it and look at it and the scrap of paper doesn’t bring you joy. Throw it out.
This process also goes for your shoes, cards, clothes and books too. Look at every single thing in your entire house and if the object doesn’t bring you joy- put it out.
It sounds like such a refreshing exercise but as a mom this cleansing process is problematic for me. I actually don’t even have the time to talk about why I can’t look at every item in my house by category and make a decision about it; tonight I couldn’t even decide if the fish stick on the floor that I just ate was a fish stick.
Also, your socks do not like to be bunched into a tight ball, fold them in half and lay them flat in the drawer.
In my house we work with a basket of socks, prolly about 100 of them, all mismatched. And every single morning we dig through the basket, trying to find one fucking pair; just one, for all our feet.
This process takes close to 15 min per person, using about 60 minutes of our lives daily, thus the idea of finding the time to pair them, fold them, lay them flat, then actually shutting the goddamned sock drawer gives me a stress aneurism. Also, how would my son learn how to match his socks, if we didn’t make him practice 15 min a day?
The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up also says:
Elastic bands- gone. How would I close my half-eaten bags of chips?
Nicknacks- Out. But what about my toenail collection?
Birthday Cards: Shred. How will I remember who loves me?
Old scraps of fabric: Make into a cool art piece and hang over your mantle.
I don’t have to say that it’s clear this woman doesn’t have children.
But I do have to say that this woman must never have experienced grief of pain or being over 35.
Here’s my Magical Motherfucking book. It’s short and sweet ‘cause who’s got the time to be told what to do with all your shit.
Keepsakes: Keep them.
All of them.
Your Grandmothers old linen you’ll never use. Fold it gently and tuck it tightly and never let it go.
The needlepoint the aunt you never met made, hang it above the toilet.
Your baby’s first sweater, that shit is not going nowhere. If you can, don’t even wash it. It’s coming out at his wedding and you’re gonna make him try it on because that bugger is already gone and you gotta hold tight to how tiny he briefly was.
And your mothers old table, the one she sanded by hand, that’s sacred too. I don’t care if it stays in storage for 40 years. Keep it. Because when she’s dead and gone you will pull it out and look at the scratches and remember your childhood. You will tell your kids who don’t care “Grandma did this all by herself” and feel proud of your mother and that feeling will carry you for years.
Pack away all the cards your first true love wrote to you before he left. This is to remember how pure you were. Remember. Remember? How much you loved him. That you really thought it was really going to work? That time your did him on the baseball mound? Remember?! That belief you had. Hold that tight. These are golden thoughts he wrote about you before you were even yourself yet. This is necessary medicine.
And the loom you’ll never use, I don’t give a shit how many houses you haul it around to- it was hers. She never used it either, but it represents possibility and the unfinished and it’s your job to carry that shit on your back for her. And the ashes, they go right above the bed, in hopes that she visits you more often.
And the pictures, the really old ones that you should scan or fix, just leave them they way they are, crinkled and sticky and keep them in the same old box. Yah, one day it would be nice to organize them, but doesn’t every woman say that? Isn’t it funny that every woman says that but never gets around to it, keep the tradition of being too busy living alive.
These aren’t memories my sisters, they are remembrances. They are where you came from and who you used to be and what has changed forever. The t-shirt that is ratty from broken-hearted bawling and that mug that was my favourite when I was a lesbian for a summer.
I don’t give two half-shits how manicured your closets are or how neutral you feel- you childless, tidied-up-freak of nature- I’m piled high with trinkets from our first date and the glass from that beach and curtains that she sewed and a picture he framed and toys they loved and a rug I asked for.
And don’t even think about getting rid of the button collection.
So much holy history.
So many stories.
So much strength.
Surround yourself in all their olden-days love.
Don’t sanitize your ancestors. Their leftovers make you wise.
Let the mess of your life spill out your windows. Give yourself that.
Ps. The one thing I give you permission to throw out is your old nasty ass underpants. That’s some magical art you can get rid of stat.