Tidying up with Marie Kondo

After Watching Marie Kondo's Netflix Series, I Can Finally Let Go Of The Clutter In My Life

People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking." Marie Kondo

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Have you ever had the feeling of total distress when you walked into your personal space? Ever feel like your closet is just a giant collection of things you'll never wear/haven't worn in years? Do you have a drawer of things that have been piling up for years? Do you ever get the strong feeling of being judged by others for your space being messy/disorganized? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions then you are in serious need of the KonMari method.

If you haven't already heard of the Konmari method or even know who Marie Kondo is, then let me catch you up to speed. Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and is the author to four books on organizing which collectively have sold millions of copies all over the world. Recently Netflix released a series called, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo," obviously featuring Kondo as the host of the show entering the homes of those who need better guidance over their cluttered problems in the home. As you progress through the episodes, Kondo walks you through the steps of the KonMari method which are as follows.

  1. Commit yourself to tidy up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
  4. Tidy by category, not location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself if it "sparks joy."

Once you have the steps these steps in order and understood, it's time for you to start decluttering your items in this specific order.

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (a.k.a. Miscellaneous Items)
  5. Sentimental Items

According to Mrs. Kondo, this order is the best transition from "easiest" items, your clothing to your most difficult pile, being your sentimental life items. What you are supposed to do when encountering each section, is to take every item and gently put it all in a pile in the room. While making these mountains, it is supposed to be a visual representation of all of the clutter and baggage both literally and figuratively you have been collecting over the years.

Now, when you are going through each and every item, as mentioned before in the steps to work through the KonMari method you are supposed to really evaluate the item and figure out if it "sparks joy" in your life. If it does, you gently put it in your keeping pile, and if the item does not, you thank the item for its service in your life and then place it in your, well "not" keeping pile. So, now that you get the gist of how MK method works, can we talk about how this actually can help declutter not only our spaces but also our lives in general.

Once our spaces are all cleared of the clutter it is really easy for us to see who we want to be going forward in our daily lives. So, shouldn't that also affect how we also run our own personal lives and relationships? Now I am not saying to literally categorize your friends and families from easiest to hardest but I more so using the question of if "it sparks joy". As someone who recently has gone through not only a clutter purge (and currently still working on the clothes portion of my list, wish me luck) but also a social purge. I started thinking of how Marie's ideology of taking one specific thing in your hands and really asking yourself if it brings you joy could be used in relationships in your life. The answer is yes, by the way.

In my own life, I have gone back and actually started practicing this method as a kinder way of saying goodbye. I envision the people that have been in my life over the years and I sort through it all and ask the question. When I came across those who did not spark joy, I sent out a thankful message into the universe and then gently cast them out of my mind. Not going to lie, it was extremely difficult rehashing old memories of people who affected me in such a negative way, but it also brought me an overall feeling of peace knowing I had cast them all away with goodwill in mind.

At the end of the day, however, you decide to use the KonMari method remember that this process is supposed to lift not only a physical weight off of your life but also a metaphorical weight off of your life. Keeping your place and mind clutter free will absolutely guide you on to a happier path in life, or at least an easier road to self-discovery.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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