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  • Writer's pictureEric Burton

Life Changing Book - Reducing Stress in the Home

Why did I read this book? I honestly have no Idea, but it changed my life.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

I enjoy reading. When I’ve read everything suggested by friends or colleges, I randomly search the web for “trendy” books. Honestly, the first time I did this was around 2005 or 2006 and found the teen vampire book Twilight. A few years back I found this title about being “tidy”. It was long before she came up with the Netflix series that plays today. I saw a short piece of it on Netflix and truly wouldn’t give it a second glance, but the book changed my life.

After I finished the book, I called my wife and said, “You have to read this!” (By the way, this was the same thing I did/said when I finished Twilight LOL!). She had reservations at first, but I didn’t stop talking about it for weeks, so she dove into it. She blasted through it and called me at work saying we can get started this weekend! We talked about it constantly and I couldn’t wait!

We went through every item, in every room and asked, “Does this item bring me joy?”. We set out to finish over one weekend, but it wasn’t possible and took a few. After going through our entire house, we threw away about 18 large garbage bags worth of “junk” and donated 10 more to Goodwill. In total, we removed old furniture and 28 huge lawn and leaf garbage bags of stuff and we had no idea how much “lighter” we felt emotionally as stress levels reduced and we pressed forward with clarity.

Our house was remarkably calmer and more soothing. It was easier to clean and harder to dirty. My Wife folded cloths differently and had fun doing it again. Our cloths took up less space, and we got rid of the old cloths from high school (we held on to these hoping to fit in them again one day which looking back seems really odd to have a goal to be the size of a teenager again). The best part was the lessons my children learned about appreciating what they have. They both exercised the process of going through each item they owned and asking, “Does this bring me joy?”, “Will it bring someone else joy?”, or “Is this junk - should I throw it away?”. Recently my daughter had her 10th birthday (double digits!), so she was ready to get rid of all her toys. I was ecstatic, but my wife was devastated. Tears were everywhere as my daughter emptied her room and I was anxiously ready to throw, haul off, or donate. I love the feeling of lightening the “stuff” in the house. My wife was the opposite. She cherishes the nostalgia of “things” and connects them with memories. The only thing that brought her comfort was the text response from my daughter when I found someone that wanted to take her old toys.

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