My “Magic” Book

Once upon a time, my house was a disaster.

Things were stacked everywhere.
Kids’ toys were heaped about.
Laundry sat in baskets for weeks on end.
We couldn’t find anything we were looking for quickly.
Mornings were hectic and chaotic.
Counters were unusable.
Pictures could not be shared publicly.

I tried everything. Marathon cleaning. Room-by-room cleaning. Buying storage containers. 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there. One-in, one-out. Burning down the house and starting from scratch… ok, so I didn’t do that last one, but I thought about it on more than on occasion. I even thought about tackling it “TLC Clean Sweep” style where everything gets removed from the house and placed under a large tent in the front yard and sorted as either Keep, Sell or Donate. But that seemed a bit overwhelming so I scratched that idea pretty quickly.

One thing was for certain: I was absolutely desperate for change in our home. I didn’t enjoy my life. I seriously felt like I was constantly cleaning and never getting anywhere – like a hamster on a wheel. I shared all the housekeeping memes on Facebook that blamed my kids for the mess.

Like this one:

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Or this one:

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The truth is, the kids weren’t solely to blame.

I grew up in a house that was perpetually neat. We had a couple “lived in” messes here and there, but they were short-lived messes. My husband grew up in a house very similar. But my bedroom was always a mess growing up. My parents used to joke that they could pull the carpet up and sell it as brand new b/c it had never been walked on thanks to all the clothes that blanketed my floor. My mom would send me to clean my room and it would take an entire weekend – to clean one room! Why?

My husband’s room, conversely, was always clean. I remember staying at his parents’ house with him before we moved in together and he’d clean his room every morning. He’d put things away and pick up laundry. Everyday.

Both of our houses growing up were always ready for company. However, our house together was anything but. At first it was, but over time it got messier and messier. I couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t get our house decent like our parents’ houses. Were were just lazy? Yeah, probably a little bit, but this was more than just laziness.

And it only got worse once we had kids, and even worse yet when the kids became mobile.

I felt like I was drowning every day. I could not keep the house clean. I finally gave up. Our house wasn’t filthy. It was just messy. And it really bothered me. I came home everyday dreading the pending workload. I felt anxious just thinking about coming home from work. I preferred being at work b/c it was less work – and the work I did have to do had an end point – unlike the work at home.

The years went on and I honestly kept trying. I’d go in spurts where cleaning was my passion and I’d feel like I’d made headway, but then life would get busy and it would go right back to the way it was.

As with the start of every year, I vowed to make this year different. 2015 was no exception. Except, it was. 2015 was the year I discovered my “Magic” book.

I was a posting member of the forums over at Mark’s Daily Apple, a health, wellness and nutrition website, and accidentally stumbled upon a post by a friend about her Magic book. At first, I wasn’t all that interested until she kept talking about it and much better her home felt. I inquired. She shared the title and mentioned another poster having introduced her to it. So I checked out the blog of this other gal. She kept talking about her Magic book and how it transformed her life and how easy her house was to keep clean now. I was in. Hook, line and sinker!

What is this “Magic” book, you ask? Well, if you know me on Facebook, you already know. If we aren’t friends on Facebook, here it is.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

As cliché as it might sound, this book changed. my. life. Serious as a heart attack, here, folks. This book was my game changer. This little $10 200 page book was all it took.

This book told me what the problem was. I wasn’t lazy. I was overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed because I had too much stuff! I already knew this but for some reason having this book tell me this was eye-opening, as silly as that sounds. This book taught me how to declutter the proper way. Not room by room, but category by category. It taught me not to just throw things away like every other book on the planet did; rather this book told me to keep only those things that make me happy. What a great idea: keeping things we love, that make us happy. Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit into that “I really like this; it brings me joy” category. It taught me how to set aside the “I spent so much money on this I can’t just get rid of it” and the “But so-and-so got me that as a gift. I can’t get rid of it” excuses. It seriously changed how I looked at the things in our house – I was seeing things with new eyes, if you will.

Since reading the book and implementing Marie’s suggestions, my house is literally only 5 minutes away from being “company ready”. Clear the coffee table of our drinks, empty the recycling and maybe run a load of dishes through the dishwasher and we’re completely ready for company. On any given day. No more marathon cleaning sessions for birthday parties! No more telling people “let’s meet at your house”. No more telling my kids their friends can’t come over for fear the kids will go home and tell their parents what a mess our place was. No more. We’re free of that embarrassment! Finally! And the effects of the book are spilling over into every aspect of our lives. There are far too many positive impacts to discuss in this post – we’ll touch on them later.

Suffice it to say this book has changed my life and the lives of those around me. And I’m so grateful!

Have you read the “Magic” book yet? If you haven’t, I highly recommend you get it on order. You can check your local library, but from what I’ve seen on social media, the wait list for this book at libraries is so long people are waiting upwards of 9 months for it to come available. Just spend the $10. I promise you won’t regret it. I’ll check in again in a few days, give you some time to read my “Magic” book and then we’ll discuss it further.

Happy reading!

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