Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

IMG_4502I was mainly intrigued by this book because it kept showing up on Amazon under best-selling lists.  I love books about organizing but was unsure of what the Japanese art of it would be.  It’s a small book with very concise directions.  I related to Marie Kondo as her organizing/cleaning passion manifested itself at an early age as it did with me.  When I was around 6, I would only sleep on top of my bed so that I would not mess up the covers.  A little neurotic I know but in later life I backed off that and found other organizing shortcuts.  Her main focus is on living with less stuff.  She is definitely more of a purger than an organizer.  There are a couple of quirky and weird things mentioned in the book such as ways to talk to your stuff after you put it away or how she thinks you should completely empty out your purse every night and put everything away.  Nah.  However, overall it was a good quick read.  I gleaned a few good ideas and it’s inspired me to look at my office at work lately and purge some duplicates.  She wants her readers to ask if the item brings you joy.  If it doesn’t, throw it out.  I get what she’s driving at, keep only what you love but the reality is that my tweezers don’t bring me joy but they are a necessity.  I do agree that we are becoming a society of storing stuff in pretty boxes or storage units so that we can make room for more stuff.  I’m making room for room’s sake.  For a peaceful place that I don’t have to work so hard on to keep it clean.  Keeping things out and in use so that I know what I have.  I don’t keep clothes anymore that I don’t love.  I stopped keeping clothes that I might fit into one day and decide I will reward myself with new clothes when I do fit into that size.  I don’t keep manuals or boxes to anything anymore.  That’s what the internet is for.  I donate books after I read them and scan recipes my family likes into Evernote and donate the hardcopy of the book.  Cutting clutter is life-changing.  That I knew before I read the book.

 

Breaking up is hard to do.

I finally did it! It has taken me a long time but I finally broke up with my satellite TV.  I didn’t just argue with it, I kicked it to the curb, sealed up the receivers and sent them back to HQ.  I don’t know why I agonized over this decision so much.  I have rarely watched it in the last year.  Mainly I would turn on CNN for thirty minutes while I got ready in the morning, but other than that, my limited TV watching mostly belongs to Netflix or Amazon Prime.  I kept saying $60 per month wasn’t so much but magically when you do that x 12 math, it is a lot.  $720 smackers.  You can do a lot with that.  Letting go of my landline was also difficult but I haven’t missed it one second.  My life belongs to Audible now.  I can absorb so much inspirational and informative content while I fold laundry or vacuum.  I won’t miss Robin Meade on CNN telling me what’s trending on Twitter, or what the weather is in a state more than a thousand miles away from me.  I am really starting to see TV for what it is….a time sucker.  There is some good content out there but that’s not usually what you land on while skimming channels.  TV still will have a place in my life but I’ll be more intentional about watching it.

Mountain Biking

Caloosahatchee Mountain Bike Park Alva, Florida

So for Christmas, my husband, an avid and skilled mountain biker, got me my very own Trek mountain bike.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about this gift.  He saw it as a way to go be together but the way my husband rides, I really didn’t think that was possible.  I’m an obliger, a member of the safety committee, self-help book lover, keeper of a self-help blog, speed limit or under driver, writer of grocery lists by aisle number, taxes paid before January 30th kind of girl.

A mountain biker…..not so much.  Other than wearing a helmet it goes against all of my safety protocols.  My husband assures me that the reason the bike was so expensive is that is can roll over anything.  Just hold on.  I too am telling myself that as I look down a rocky, root-laden hill and begin the descent.  Only recently have I even been able to descend.  Up until today, I mostly walked the bike down.  I hold the handle bars in a death grip.  My hands hurt worse than my legs or butt at the end of a day.

For me, it’s all mental.  I know the bike can go over the rocks, I know I have the skill level, I know I have the physical fitness but  it’s still scary to be in so little control of your life, I mean bike.  I think that is the crux of the problem.  I am the scheduler, planner, doer,etc.  Mountain biking is just letting go and finding a way to enjoy the ride.  I normally map out or plan out the way, not let a bike take me there.

Today, I started enjoying the ride and time with my husband.  I was able to look out and enjoy the pretty Caloosahatchee Park.   I even noticed things others than my own fear and the trail below me.  There might just be a mountain biker in me yet but it will take a few hundred more times until I’m confident.  I’ll keep honing my skills on those green trails.  I really do need those 10,000 to be proficient.

As scared as I am of new things, I’m always the better for it when I’m done.  There was a time in my life when the thought of running 26.2 miles was crazy.  I can remember finishing my first 5K and thinking how could anyone go another step. Yet three years after my first 5K I did run 26.2 miles.  I swore I’d never do it again and then did it three more times.  I’m not done yet.  Got my eye on one in December. It’s funny how after you do something you swore you couldn’t you do you start thinking of more.   I’m thinking for now that I’ll keep practicing and roll with it.  I’m sure my big tires will roll right over it.  I hope I always want to be a little more in everything I do and keep doing things outside my comfort zone.