Rev and I began decluttering our home in January.
I bought Marie Kondo’s book – The Magic Art of Tidying Up and jumped right in…
The summary says:
The Magic Are of Tidying up gives detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
We approached the process with joy anticipating enthusiasm and in five months have removed more than 60 bags of “stuff” from our home. Which is pretty impressive for a couple of people who were already mostly organized non-hoarders.
Of course, a decluttered house is even more enjoyable when it’s clean. So, I set aside my normal, I hate to get dirty self, put on my work gloves and started scrubbing.
And then I started thinking…
I wondered if a little deep cleaning and clutter removal in my heart and mind could improve my joy level the way my tidy home was bringing a sense of calm and happiness.
Here’s what I found.
How to Declutter Your Heart and Mind and Experience Joy
Clutter is a problem. Sometimes it’s just an external symptom of an internal burden.
So, my friend, it’s time to toss your burdens and declutter your heart and mind.
Get rid of the stuff that hurts your soul.
- Angry Outbursts
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1–2
Why is this so hard?
Like house clutter, we have a tendency to want to organize it and store it for a later time just in case we might need it again in the future.
I had one of those nights recently. Something I’d just packed away because . . . well, in all honesty, it’s painful to let it go. It all started with an innocent question from a new friend and that packed away stuff came jumping out of storage and the tears flowed.
The Enemy of my soul loved reminding me of my weaknesses and failures, bringing up memories that rob my joy and defeat me.
A painful past is like that, isn’t it?
You think you’ve moved on or as Elsa would say, that you’ve “let it go.”
But something happens or something is said and all the memories and emotions come rushing back. You know you’re better than you used to be but not yet where you want to be.
Dear one, it’s important to know some wounds leave scars. It’s okay. Those painful memories are lasting reminders that you’ve lived through some tough stuff. But the operative word here is “through.”
Think about it.
Remember how you were when it first happened? How the grief, guilt, anger, shame, or fear were your constant companion? Slowly you started thinking about other things and living your life again. You went through and little by little you got stronger and felt better.
And yes, occasionally, the memory returns and it hurts, but it doesn’t last as long as it used to because you’ve learned to give the pain to God and replace it with something better.
Keep the things that give you joy.
Back to The Magic Art of Tidying Up…
“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.” ~Marie Kondo
That’s a great question when you want to declutter your heart and mind, too.
Keep things in your heart and mind like…
- Things for which you are thankful.
- Music that lifts your spirit.
- Activities that energize you.
- People you love and who love you.
- Experiences that teach you something new.
- God’s Word
Keep your minds thinking about whatever is true, whatever is respected, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever can be loved, and whatever is well thought of. If there is anything good and worth giving thanks for, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
It’s easier to let go of the clutter when you remember that it’s freeing you to savor the things that give you joy.
There will always be times when we will have heart clutter to lay at the foot of the cross. By God’s grace, we will do so quickly and focus on the countless blessings God pours into our lives each day. Blessings like love, joy, peace, hope, forgiveness, faith, and the courage and strength to walk through life’s messes.
Because tidying up isn’t a once and done kind of project. It’s something you do anytime you need to clear out some clutter.
A few more Marie Kondo quotes to inspire you…
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”
“But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”
“People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.”
“Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”
Finally, I want to add that I’m not advocating for every idea in Kondo’s book but I love the idea of only keeping the things that “spark joy” and found it interesting that I could apply the same principle to my heart and mind I was putting into practice in my home.
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