Y’all, this has been the absolute best start to a new year that I’ve had in many years! I know some of you are wondering when the fun projects are going to start, and I promise that they’re coming. I plan to start in the guest bedroom with building the closets. Then I’ll move on to repairing and refinishing the flooring in the guest bedroom, hallway, and home gym. Then I’ll turn my attention back to the guest bedroom and get that finished up so that Matt and I can move into that room, which will give us our breakfast room back.
But for now, I’m doing life-changing stuff, y’all! And I say that half joking, but also half serious.
Last Friday, I wrote a post about my “word of the year.” You can click that link to read about it, or just get the CliffsNotes version here. My word is C.O.P., which stands for cleaning, organizing, and purging.
I hit “publish” on that post, and was fully determined to get started immediately on that goal. But as I always do when a task or project overwhelms me, I procrastinated. I don’t think I got anything done that day in any category of cleaning, organizing, or purging.
But I did do one significant thing that day. I purchased and started listening to an audio book that several of you recommended to me — Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff by Dana K. White.
Y’all, this book has been life-changing for me!!!
And there’s nothing really deep about it. It’s really quite simple and straightforward, but it’s just what I needed. Fellow slobs, pack rats, and procrastinators, this book is for you!!
I’ve read other books, blogs, and articles about cleaning and organizing. I’ve watched a few episodes of Marie Kondo on Netflix. None of that resonated with me. I’m not sure why the others didn’t resonate with me, but I know for sure why Marie Kondo didn’t. She is cute, adorable, cheerful, and kind. She seems like the kind of person who would be fun to chat with over a cup of coffee. But she’s not the person to help me with my clutter and pack rat issues for several reasons.
- She doesn’t come across to me as a person who has ever had a clutter problem in her entire life. And because of that, I don’t think she can relate to a person who thinks like I do. Our brains work and process information differently. We see clutter differently. We see “stuff” differently. We see time management differently. I need someone who thinks like me to help me.
- I will never determine what needs to stay and what needs to go based on what “sparks joy” in my life. We got our property tax statement in the mail, and I can assure you that doesn’t “spark joy” in my life. The plates, cups, bowls, and flatware in my kitchen don’t “spark joy” but we use it every day. My Instant Pot, pots, pans, and skillets don’t “spark joy” for me at all, because I hate cooking, but I need that in my life. (Yes, I’m joking. I know she doesn’t actually suggest to throw out bills and dinnerware that is being used.) But the point is that I simply don’t associate joy with material items. I can’t think of a single thing on my house that brings me joy. The “spark joy” thing in relation to material possessions just doesn’t resonate with me.
- I will never, ever, ever in my life thank an inanimate object for its service to me. I’m thankful for my house, but I’m not thankful to my house. Thanking inanimate objects for their service to me simply doesn’t resonate with me in the least.
- On her show, I see Marie going into people’s homes and pulling EVERYTHING out of closets and piling them onto the bed. When you declutter and organize in that way, that means you have to finish that job 100% at that moment or you’ll be living with even more clutter until its finished. What if something comes up and you have to leave half way through the project and can’t get back to it for two days (or a week, or a month)? I can tell you exactly what happens with a person like myself. Every bit of that clothing that was pulled out of the closet and left on the bed will be pushed off of the bed and onto the floor when it’s time to go to bed. So that creates an even bigger mess than what I started with.
- I don’t see Marie really pushing back and asking the hard questions of pack rats. If a person has an entire room filled from floor to ceiling with Christmas decorations, and Marie asks, “Do you really need this much”? and the person says,”Yes, I need all of it,” she doesn’t push back. A person with a pack rat mentality will always say they need all if it, when clearly they don’t. So she helps them “tidy” their stuff into neatly labeled boxes rather than GETTING RID OF IT. When pack rats say they need ALL of the stuff, they need someone to push back (gently), not take their word for it and help them organize all of their stuff into boxes that will get piled into the corner of the room or the garage.
Anyway, I don’t mean to pick on Marie Kondo at all. Again, I think she seems like a perfectly lovely person, and I’m thrilled that she’s helping so many people deal with their clutter. I just use her as an example because these days, her name is recognized by pretty much everyone. And obviously her methods resonate with many people. I’m just not on of them.
But I found my person — Dana K. White. Why did she resonate with me so much? Because she’s a fellow slob and pack rat!! When she speaks about the emotional side of being a pack rat, and how it affects day-to-day life, that resonates with me. I can totally relate. When she talks about how she became a slob and a pack rat, she’s speaking my language. Her brain works just like mine.
So when she explains how a person like me (like her…like us) can actually deal with the clutter and mess, I get excited. I get excited and encouraged that a person just like me, who thinks just like me, has actually dealt with the problem (and explains that it will be an ongoing battle, but will get easier to deal with after the initial purge is done), and has come out the other side victorious.
That resonates with me. That excites me. That encourages me.
So after listening to about half of the audio book on Friday night, I got up Saturday morning with a different perspective, and like a totally different person. I put my earbuds in and listened to the rest of the audio book while I started cleaning and purging. I worked all day Saturday until 10:30pm, and only stopped because Matt was ready to go to bed. I was so excited and energized that I could have worked through the night. On Sunday, I did the same thing, working until 11:00pm. On Monday, I repeated that. My mom came over and helped me with one project that day, and after she left, I worked until 10:30pm again. Yesterday, I worked until 10:00pm.
The more I do, the more I want to do. The more I do, the more my house and my mind feel completely different, and that feeling is addictive.
Anyway, I know that some of you said that you wanted to join me on my C.O.P. journey this year, so I wanted to suggest this book. You can click here to find it on Amazon…
I feel like this is an audio book that I’ll listen to several times until these things become habit for me. For now, I need her constant motivation in my ears to stay excited about this process. But at the same time, my clean house is becoming a motivation on its own.
So for my fellow slobs, pack rats, and procrastinators, I encourage you to see if Dana’s message and plan of action resonate with you also. And for the foreseeable future, I’ll be doing a weekly update (probably on Saturday) on how my C.O.P. journey is going. If you’d like to join me, then please do so! You can check in on Saturdays and let us know how your C.O.P. journey is going as well!
I’m so unbelievably excited about this year. We’re only eight days in, and I already feel like a new person.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.