Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cleaning, Tidying, and Decluttering

I'm trying to focus on positive things and working on me these days.  Every time I open up my twitter account it just seems that there's animosity and anger.  Some of it is legitimate anger (like saving unborn babies) and the rest is just confusing and misdirected.  All in all I find it's getting to be toxic, and this is coming from someone who ordinarily likes a good meeting of the minds.

Rather than throwing up my hands I've decided to be pro-active with me.  As we sing "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me," I take that to heart.  So let the peace and improvement begin with me.

I went and checked out a plethora of cleaning books.  It's not because I don't know how to clean.  I'm not a spring chicken and I've been a stay at home for seven years.  I can clean things.  I checked out the books for motivation.  I checked out the books for getting into good habits.

Here's something interesting that I did learn.  I knew it, but I don't think it really registered. Cleaning, tidying, and decluttering are all different things even though we use them often synonymously.

I checked out the book Spark Joy by Marie Kondo which is the follow up to her popular book.  I reviewed her Magic of Tidying Up and found it to be okay.  Spark Joy is better because it focuses on organizing.  It also does a better job of explaining what she means by keeping things that spark joy.  I was skeptical that Spark Joy would be a better book because I had so much trouble slogging through her Shinto/Buddhist beliefs that covered several chapters in Magic.  Spark Joy is a little bit more practical and less spiritual.  You do however have to read Magic because it explains how to discard whereas Spark Joy is more about how to organize.

Well in Spark Joy she explains a couple of things: tyding is not the same as cleaning and clutter is different.

I think there's a cultural or translation difference going on here because I don't think she's defining the words correctly.  However I get the point and she is right.

Decluttering is getting rid of the excess.  Kondo uses the word tidy, but I think that's not synonymous.  If you have clutter, you typically don't have stuff put in a place and often you don't have a place for the stuff anyway.

Tidy means putting back things that are out of place. Several dictionaries define it as having order. Kondo doesn't call it that.  In fact she calls this clutter.  This is why I think there's a word usage problem going on here.  So really her first book should be titled the Magic of Decluttering.  As I said when she discusses tidying she really means go through your stuff and get rid of some it and organize or tidy the rest. 

The last is cleaning.  Cleaning isn't picking up stuff and putting it away.  Cleaning is removing dirt and grime that we often accumulate because we are human and go outside. 

Kondo claims that if you follow her method you will never have to declutter (or tidy to use her words) again.  I disagree.  Maybe not excessively declutter but you will declutter as you go through changes in life like children get older, following new hobbies, change size of home, ect.  Plus things that may have "sparked joy" at one time may not years later.  If her criteria is items have to spark joy, then you will declutter at some point.  She did say that you would have to put away things (tidying) and you would have to clean.

So if you looking for books about decluttering, or tidying (or organizing), or cleaning, I suggest looking up those particular topics, but realize people often discuss all of them within the same book while focusing the majority of the book on one of those three.  And all three are ultimately what you need to manage your house and to teach your children. 

It's also a great starting point for growth. I find that I'm great at decluttering, but not so good with tidying (at least the putting things back where they belong part).  This is where I want to focus and also focus on having a cleaning schedule that I can live with.  It helps though to tidy things as you go so you spend more time simply wiping things down instead. 

So dear reader, what's your struggle?  Is it decluttering, tidying, or cleaning or all three?


1 comment:

  1. Trying to find a happy place lately and not doing such a great job...

    First two. Cleaning is the least issue. I actually really enjoy that. Stress relief. Tidying up with small kids ends up undoing itself in minutes some days.. And decluttering can be a fight. I usually do that when they're gone somewhere.

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