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Tidying Up Your Marriage KonMari Style

Photo Credit: Jimmy Ofisia
MF:  One rainy spring weekend we came to a new insight about clutter and our marriage  as we set out to deep clean some closets and cabinets.  "A good weekend to KonMari," I told Tom.  To which he replied "Kon-what?"  "Time to tidy-up and de-clutter.  Bring on the Joy!"


We both like a clean house, but have very different attitudes about clutter.  I pitch and toss and sometimes live with regret.  I definitely have a superior attitude that I am not attached to things.  But there is a lot more to clutter than things  in an untidy state, especially things that are no longer useful.  We broke a Marie Kondo rule and kept some stuff that did not bring 'joy' now -- but might in the future.  A brief moment of indecision, one might say.  This whole project led us to to unexpected discoveries about mental and emotional clutter.

Orderliness is important to me.  But my frustration with Tom for things as simple as the way he loads the dishwasher, clothes left in the dryer, an un-wiped counter top, or not saving receipts is emotional clutter.   My nagging behaviors do not bring either of us joy, nor is it who I want to be.  Orderliness inside the dishwasher is not important to Tom.  Clean is clean.  I can nag, I can let it go, or I can rearrange dishes, close the door and move on.  I can make choices around emotional clutter.  I don't have to let my frustration and anger live rent-free in my brain and sabotage my relationship with Tom.  These choices aren't always easy, but they become easier with practice.

Tom:  Mental and emotional clutter is the 'baggage' we carry.  Like attitudes that say I'm lazy or not sexy enough, relationships that suck life out of us, and focusing on things we cannot change.  Fear of making a poor decision or fears that I will never be good enough can keep me from taking the leap to something truly great.  All of these things weigh me down and keep me from becoming the person I would like to be.  This mental clutter keeps me from experiencing joy.

My greatest mental clutter is procrastinated stuff.  Like indecision about finances, undone paperwork, starting a diet, resuming exercise, or talking about my health.  Procrastination is like bindweed  choking the life out of me or like opening a stuffed closet.  I don't know where to begin. Although I've never eaten an elephant, I've been told many times one bite at a time works best.  

Photo Credit: Eloise Ambursley

For me to de-clutter I simply need to start.  Either physically clean my share of the countertop in our bathroom, or the garage or the yard.  Same is true with finances, health or talking to that person I've been avoiding.  Start at the beginning.  Commit to finishing.  And if I get stuck, ask for help.  What a novel idea!

Clutter is clutter.  Whether it is cleaning a closet, completing a procrastinated project, or not thinking or saying offensive and hurtful comments.   Clean living gives our relationship room for joy. 


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