Three Messy Lessons of Tidying Revealed

By Help Person|March 15, 2019|Main Blog|

Part 3 of My Tidy Experiment

This is the third part in a series of posts. Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2.

Marie Kondo’s tidy little book on tidying packs a powerful punch and I’m taking the hit. It’s been several weeks, maybe even a month since I first started my tidy experiment. As I dig deeper into this whole process, I realize there are several reasons I’m doing it.

I’m doing this to better my coaching. I’m a believer of not asking of others what you’re not willing to do yourself. When I coach my clients on environmental design, I want to know all aspects of the process so we can create a winnable game.

I’m also ready for some big changes in my life and what better place to start than in my own home? I’ve set some big goals for myself and my life coaching practice in 2019. In order to achieve those dreams, I need to set myself up for success. As I look around my home, it doesn’t reflect Leanne the Life Coach as much as it reflects Leanne in Transition. Partly because I never unpacked when I moved into this home, and partly because I’m surrounded by various elements and reminders of past personal and professional relationships/careers mixed in with the new. When I see these things I’m filled with anxiety, overwhelm, and even some confusion. Who am I? The answer it sends me is “In transition!” I hear the message loud and clear. So, I’m asking myself, “Who do I want to become?” And I’m setting my home up for that person - the person I want to be. I’m ready to eliminate things that no longer serve me, rearrange other things so I can be more productive and efficient, and add the things that I will need as I grow into Leanne version 2.0.

While I’m exploring this concept, I’m learning three important and messy lessons about the tidy process.

  1. Tidying takes time.

This is not just a normal spring cleaning. This is a thorough inventory and assessment on each and every tangible thing I own. I feel a dire sense of urgency to get it done. In fact, the tick-tock of the tidy clock is much louder than my biological clock ever was. Ironically enough, beating the clock in either situation is accomplished easier with a willing partner - more on that later (see #3). It’s been nearly a month on the tidy clock, and I’ve only completed my closet, kitchen, and half the bathroom.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent an entire day just sorting, organizing, and finding a place for books. I stopped when I realized this was going to be a much larger undertaking and then shoved all the books on the bookcase for later.

But every time I walked by the bookcase, I’d find myself asking, “Does this spark joy?” No. It does not spark joy. In fact, it was driving me nuts. I can’t stand clutter or knowing that I have an unfinished project.

I finally set aside the time, unpacked every book we have and put them all in a giant pile in our living room. It turns out, The Boyfriend and I have several hundred books combined. How am I going to whittle this pile down to thirty books? Thirty each? It’s just not going to happen….or is it?

I believe it is. It’s just not going to happen overnight. As I mentioned in my last post, I have about fifty books that I haven’t read yet. I’ve done zero reading in the last couple of weeks since I was a little busy avoiding my books. However, I’ve created a complete reading list for the year, and I intend to begin reading this weekend. Apparently, there is more to tidying than meets the eye.

  1. Tidying is so much more than cleaning and organizing a home.

Ask yourself, “Who do I want to become?” Now take a look around your home. Does your home reflect this person?

Our environment typically reflects who we were yesterday rather than who we want to be in the future. As I look around my own home, I see that this is still true for me, too. So here I am creating part of that change with this tidy process. It’s all about creating a better version of me.

I’m still in the book section of this process, so I’ll pick it up here. Following the Marie Kondo method, I start by eliminating the books that no longer bring me joy. Knowing I have a bigger purpose in this process, I’m also eliminating the books that don’t reflect the future me.

For instance, I know I don’t want to be a villain, so that book How to be a Villain is going in the donate pile. It is a little funny that someone gifted me this book. Thanks, but I’d rather not join the overcrowded ranks of evildoers.

I probably don’t need the outdated acting business books either. Also, how good are these acting biz books, really? I’m a life coach now. Think about that. Bye-bye acting business books.

I’m also letting go of some very old books on Runes. I don’t even have any runes. Look at me! I’m leaving no stone unturned. #ancientrunes #RuiningRuneJokes #KeepAtLeastOneComedyBookAndLearnHowToWriteBetterJokes

Cue cheesy 80’s love song…I’m having some tender tidy moments.


I kid around about this process, but as I look through my books, I do feel a real attachment to many of them. I have so many books that represent specific times in my life and as I sit and look at them, I’m flooded with memories.

This is where tidying gets tricky. Who knew I’d feel emotional over books? Marie Kondo suggests tidying books, then paperwork, and highly recommends leaving the sentimental things to the end. Uh-oh, my books are turning out to be sentimental belongings. Sound the alarms!

These books are sentimental because they represent Leanne version 1.0 and all of her interests and passions. I suddenly feel that by letting them go, I’m giving up. This is a constant reminder that it’s time to reframe my story.  #bookpun They are just books and they served their purpose. I’ve benefited (or not) from the knowledge they shared with me. I can always find them again if I need them thanks to libraries, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or Google.

It’s time to make space for new information and resources. By doing so I can easily focus on the books I want to read as I grow and evolve into future me.

See! It’s not you, Books. It’s me. I need to begin the next chapter of my life, and it’s time we see other people. #morebookpuns

Speaking of other people...

  1. Tidying is a very personal experience and not everyone is going to be onboard.

Just because I’m ready to make changes doesn’t mean everyone in my household is. The Boyfriend has been pretty patient and even participated by Marie Kondo’ing his closet. However, that doesn’t mean he’s ready to dive in and go through everything he owns to see what sparks joy. Nor does it mean I have an open invitation to go through his belongings for him. Both of which, I completely understand and respect.

That also doesn’t mean that what I’m doing with my own belongings doesn’t affect him. It most certainly does. I’ve unpacked nearly half of our bins. I’ve created giveaway piles in different parts of our home. It’s beginning to drive The Boyfriend bananas - especially when I moved the toothpaste...and the rice cooker, spices, and toaster oven. #Ooops. In my mind, it was a very small change, but from his perspective, it was big enough to affect his everyday routine and ultimately annoy him. I totally get it.

Similar to the butterfly effect, my moving the toothpaste can stir up quite a ruckus. But who knows, it just may be the beginning of the life transformations that Marie Kondo promised.

Next up: Let’s get personal. Part 4 coming soon!

Click here to read Part 1. Is Your Life Messy? Everyone's discovering the secret of tidying up with Tidy Expert & Author, Marie Kondo

Click here to read Part 2. My Tidy Experiment Part 2. Everyone's discovering the secret of tidying up with Tidy Expert & Author, Marie Kondo.

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