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From Reading to Cleaning: An Unexpected Path to Mental Peace

by Pallavi D. Patel
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The wind blowing from the window makes my skin shrink in pain. Winters aren’t morning-friendly.

I juggle various chores, struggling, groggy and lazy. The routine yet moves at a slow pace and then it gets a speed boost.

I turn all the vessels upside down, frantically searching for my lunch box. After countless search attempts,I give up. I can always buy a huge burger.

I open my bag to check if I have enough change to avoid the condescending looks of the auto drivers. Forget change, I can’t even find my purse in the bag.

After emptying all the contents thrice, cursing Monday, and my luck, I find my purse right next to the book I was reading last night.

I take hurried steps out, still running on time. I have an uneasy feeling of forgetting something.

By the time I reach the ground floor, the world went dim, unclear and foggy.

“Oh God my specs” I shout, running back to the stairs.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Do you go through this constant stress of losing and searching things?

Incidents like these were daily occurrences with me.

And maybe I am weird, but these small, seemingly unimportant things tired me down even before my working day began.

All that stress was killing me.

Things turned a different way only after I read the book “The life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.

I always read Self-help books with a grain of salt.

Not all things work for everyone. Nor do I have the discipline to follow various advice on a constant basis.

This is where this book is different.

It didn’t ask me to start an elaborate morning routine, or begin a 365 day Gratitude journal or save 30% of my earnings.

This book asked just one thing from me: Tidy your home.

Now most of us are used to cleaning and tyding our home on a daily basis. It isn’t difficult to do something which you are already expected to do.

No sweat. I was up for tidying my house the way this book wanted me to.

Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first.

Because tidying isn’t a subject at school, I was stunned to learn that discarding is a part of tyding.

Before this book, tidying only meant arranging stuff in an order. That is all.

Discarding seemed too new age… suitable for the minimalists out there.

The step seemed simple enough. Just choose between things you want to keep, throw away the rest.

I thought I won’t have much to throw. I actually wanted to keep everything.

I began by discarding things that I don’t need. Expired products, worn out clothes, empty bottles. So far, so good.

It was difficult discarding new stuff, a face wash that didn’t suit my skin, a top which looked great in the store, clothes that I keep in hope that I will wear them someday.

It was the after-effect of reading. I was inspired. Inspite of various doubts, I discarded them.

Now in those moments, I didn’t think that discarding will change my life.

( Infact it took me two months to notice the subtle, yet impactful difference it brought in my life. )

But the immediate result was that I had lots of extra space.

Be it my mobile phone, house or drawers, the idea of extra space is like 50% off deal to me.

My love for discarding was very short-sighted and materlistic- I just loved the extra space.

To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.

There is one interesting observation in this book about how we treat our coins. Yes coins.

I hate to admit this, but isn’t it true?

I guess we respect 5 rupees coins. They represent some value to us. But our 2 rupees and one rupee coins have absolutely no importance to us ( Unless the auto driver doesn’t charge in round figures.)

Our coins might just be lying there, on the sofa, in that left drawer, in the rice container…anywhere. We don’t care.

I didn’t as well, till I followed this book and decided to collect all my coins in one place.

I found coins worth 437 rupees from my home.

Now I keep my coins right in my purse, with respect.

Discarding allows us to live in the present. It allows us to a create space for the wonderful new things that are coming our way.

The next part of my tidying journey was dealing with storing things.

When I thought about storage, I only thought about the stuff that we use for long terms, food grains for instance.

But the book wanted me to have storage space for the stuff I use daily…like my purse and my wristwatch. Crazy, isn’t it?

The book asked me to designate a place for each and everything I owned.

Crazy, Weird and time-consuming.But I did it.

I wasn’t inspired this time.

Then I thought of making it fun. I thought of it like a process of searching a home for my belongings. A place which is their own.

Result: I know exactly where my wristwatch is, or where I will find the scissor in my drawer. Without GPS trackers.

The fact that it takes away all the “treasure-hunt” stress in the morning is an added bonus.

I find it exactly where I keep it. It is so simple and easy. It is amost magic.

And I am a fan of making small decisions.

One of the major challenges I faced with tidying up with the KonMari technique was that I couldn’t decide what to do with my books.

Just like every reader, I have unused journals, unread books,colorful writing papers, a horde of pens and other things that readers collect.

I felt guilty for not being able to let go of books I read ages ago, or books that are unread since last few month.

They are such bundles of joy!

There was no way I could part with my books, my stationary or my Pooh stickers.

If you can say without a doubt, “I really like this!” no matter what anyone else says, and if you like yourself for having it, then ignore what other people think.

So I still have all my books. Happily hoarding them.

It would be an understatement to say that I love this book.

It has helped me adopt some positively dramatic habits.

It is at the top of my “To gift list ” and “To Recommend list”

Apart from the applicable and result-generating techniques for tidying, the thing that shines through out every page of this book is the author’s passion.

Marie Kondo is contagiously passionate about what she does.

Tidying isn’t a college’s major. But this remarkable woman has made a career out of it.

In some of the reviews I went through of this book, people made fun of her, her ideas and her career.

Many decided that she has an OCD and needs help.

Everyone is entitled to have an opinion.

But if you ask me, I will tell you, here’s a passionate woman, she loves what she does, unabashedly.

Her passion is different, agreed. I have never heard anyone list “Tidying” as a hobby.

But she has made it work for herself.

Because how many other people do you know who are “International Experts” on tidying?

This was my journey with the book “The life-changing Magic of Tyding up”.

Would you like to read this book any time soon?

Do you think discarding helps to keep our rooms tidier?

Do you struggle with misplacing thing?

What do you think about my book journey?

Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

Let’s talk.

(Thanks Francis Gradient for all the lovely images!)

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8 comments

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Swapnil Shimpi January 7, 2019 - 10:11 am

Awesome

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Pallavi D. Patel
Pallavi D. Patel January 7, 2019 - 6:55 pm

Thanks Swapnil! I am glad you liked it.๐Ÿ˜‡

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Francis Gradient January 7, 2019 - 11:59 am

What a Wonderful Post ๐Ÿ˜‡……… I totally loved it…….๐Ÿ˜Š.

It takes great efforts to track down those things I misplaced…… Concentrating on the recent events and visualizing the last seen of the object and then the process to figure out the location…. and deducting the correct memory from all those pseudo memories the brain offers me……. And I never succeed finding those things… And its just bcoz I am not a famous character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

I guess reading this Book will help me to escape the intense scoldings from mom, when I misplace keys, clothes, TV Remote, Documents and my phone charger.

It’s an awesome and a helpful post for me ……….. ๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡

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Pallavi D. Patel
Pallavi D. Patel January 7, 2019 - 6:58 pm

I guess the “Mind Palace” technique requires practice.

Thanks anyways! Just add the book to your reading list soon.๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“ƒ

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Miss Sunshine January 7, 2019 - 8:59 pm

Good oneโ€ฆ I have this tendency of discarding the thing which I donโ€™t use anymore or other way round If I have to accomodate new stuff then I look for the most eligible things to dispose off and make room for new one. Same goes with the life, we should dipose off the people/feelings/relationships that does not seems to do anything better in our lives and not letting the new stuff to come in either. But โ€˜Tidyingโ€™ up a life is not an easy job๐Ÿ˜‡

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Pallavi D. Patel
Pallavi D. Patel January 18, 2019 - 8:05 pm

Thanks!๐Ÿ˜‡ You are so right! *Tidying* up a life is not at all an easy job. And honestly, even parting with material things has been so difficult for me, I didn’t even think about “cleaning” my relationships or feelings.
But that’s a good point. Thanks for taking time to comment.๐Ÿ˜‡

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Aejal Patel
Aejal Patel January 9, 2019 - 8:11 pm

It is at the top of my โ€œTo gift list โ€ and โ€œTo Recommend listโ€

You put that up so perfectly. I have read this book and cannot stop talking about it even though people get surprised on hearing that one might need a book for tidying up.
My idea of a neat and tidy home is such that ‘when I come home after a tiring day, even the empty home should feel welcoming’ and this book have helped me a lot to achive that. Otherwise I returned home and the first thing I told myself was ‘goodness,I need a Monica in here’.๐Ÿ˜…
The best things I learned from the book along with the points you mentioned are
-the technique of folding clothes such that they stand upright.
-the fact that socks also require breathing space.
-always sort by category not by place.
-the right time to read any book is the time when you first come across it.
My fauvorite line from the book is “Tidying is not the purpose of life” and “Pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy,your mission in life’.
This was a great post to begin the year with. Like you say, I would also recommend it to everyone I know and to all age groups.

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Pallavi D. Patel
Pallavi D. Patel January 18, 2019 - 8:02 pm

Oh those techniques need a separate post!๐Ÿ˜‡

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