Life-Changing Magic: Part Two


Though the The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up calls for getting rid of clothes first, I decided books first. Whatever, dude. It's my life.

It's important that I mention, I got rid of my journals first... like, six months ago. Back then, I was planning to write a piece called, "How to Lose Four Pounds in 2 Minutes", by throwing away journals (and the dead-weight, tear-stained pages of memories that were smashed and suffocated inside them). But I never got around to it and now I see why; my discarded journals were waiting to be discussed in a better, more dramatic and impactful post. (Such spiral-bound little attention whores.) Nevertheless, I threw them away, which was really hard for me because, again, I'm super attached to my past. I gave a brief overview of this in last week's post.

It's obvious to me, my soul was gearing up to let go, even six months ago. It was gently nudging me, preparing me for a giant purge that would hopefully and probably lighten my load and help me move forward in many, many ways.


So, on to the books-- the ones I didn't write. Remember, the criteria is very simple; Only keep the things that spark joy. You know as well as I do that if you try hard enough, you can find joy in anything. Everything. All the things that keep you from throwing sh*t away. But that's not what this book is here for. From the get-go, the author of the book, Marie Kondo, made it clear she's not interested in my bullsh*t. She did not develop this tidying up system to coddle me and comfort me into parting ways with gems such as Through the Storm, written by Britney Spears' mother in 2008. *(Not only do I have an unhealthy attachment to my past, I'm attached to Britney's, too. In my defense, though, she has a pretty fun past. One of my faves.)


As for deciding what to keep and what to toss, I assumed that the "joy-spark" would be just that; a spark-- an immediate signal from the Universe, guiding me in my quest to tidyLike, maybe the warmth of seventeen angels would descend upon my chest, meaning, keep. And a cold, dark, looming, creepy-asss spirit would wash over me which would mean, discard that horrid word-cemetary, Erica. But, no. Nope, I was on my own. And if you do this program, you'll be on your own, too; left to your own intuition. I'm just warning you, cuz I love you.

Start here:

photo 3-16

Just pull sh*t off the shelves and hear them fall to the floor, like bricks. Then, look down at your pile and feel free to take a trendy pic of them, just laying there, like complex pieces of a dresser from IKEA. Then, it's time to get to work.

My strategy was simple:

  • If I've had it for over six months and hadn't read it, I tossed it.
  • If I DID read it and definitely got what I needed from it, buh-bye.
  • If it was a "work/career" book, (like, I have a lot of books on Eating Psychology and Intuitive Eating that I have not read all the way through, but I use them as reference guides in my work), I kept it.
  • If it was a book that I read, and it was dear to my heart...I actually gave it a hug, thanked it for allowing me to escape in it for a time and placed it gently in the Hefty bag. (The book below is one of them) Those ones are tricky because they still *technically* spark joy for me. BUT since I've already read them, I'm not going to read them again. Therefore, they're just sitting. Being sad and lonely. I must give them a new home :-)
  •      photo 4-12

Then there were books that stirred up a lot of old stories of my own. Two books in particular, about the ethics of In Vitro Fertilization, from the period of time I was "passionately" opposed to the process. I struggled and suffered over it for a long time (having NEVER experienced this in my life, of course). But I ended up discovering my issues with it stemmed from beliefs I had about my Mother not having enjoyed motherhood, herself, and she didn't even have to try very hard to get pregnant. I was resentful of women who would do anything and pay anything to have a child. Surely they'd thoroughly enjoy motherhood, never taking it for granted, like I believed my Mother did.


I don't share this to be dramatic, I share it because A) it was my truth and B) I no longer hold this belief or anger toward IVF, therefore, I don't need books about it. Sometimes, the mere existence of a book in our space can represent old beliefs and outdated stories from our psyche...regardless of what the book is actually about. It's important to acknowledge this, say a prayer for yourself and be done with the item.

Okay, so, what DOES spark joy on my book shelf?

  • Yearbooks
  • Childhood photo albums
  • Framed Photos
  • Just a few tchotchkes
  • My Dad's original copies of The Catcher in the RyeBrave New World, and a poetry book passed down from my Great-Grandfather
  • My collection of Children's Books; many from my own childhood and many that speak to me and I want to be able to share them with my imaginary future children.


photo 2-14    photo 1-16


The book doesn't suggest this, but I think it's important to have what I like to call a "'Magic' Sponsor"; someone to hold you accountable for getting rid of your sh*t. Sound good?

So get your donation bags ready. Where would you like to start?


*And for my next trick, I'll make almost all my clothes disappear! Tune in next time :D

Life-Changing Magic: Part One

photo 1-14 If "I've always been tidy" means, "I've been shoving things under the bed, into the closet, behind the dresser, between the book shelves, into a trash can and, just, on the floor since I was a little girl", then yes, I've been a very tidy person my whole life. I have my Dad to thank for this. From the time I was five, he'd give me thirty minutes to clean my room in exchange for a "special prize"; (usually that prize was lunch at a sushi buffet and that's a WHOLE other blog post for another day.) But I'd pride myself on my amazing ability to jam everything I own into tight spaces, giving the illusion my space is well-kept.

At the thirty-minute mark, my Dad would tap into his "Camp Counselor" alter-ego, knock on my door and shout, "BUNK INSPECTION!", at which point I'd take him by the hand and give a "tour" of my room, showcasing how spruce and organized I had made everything. I'd "escort" him over to my dresser, saying, "and here we have a VCR and television set, resting comforbly (comfortably) on it's shelf."  But when he got to my closet, just as he was about to open it, I would say, "I'm still working on that, Daddy. It's not ready yet. He let go of the knob and chuckled, knowing the contents of my entire room was behind that door. Nevertheless, he congratulated me on a cleaning job well done and off to the buffet we went. And THAT is my basic blueprint for tidying up...

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

A couple of weeks ago my BFF, Hailey, told me to read a book called, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. Since it has been Hailey's job in our friendship for the last twenty-two years to read, seek and search the best ways of being good at life, I bought the book on Audible right away.

The book provides detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy”, and which don’t. The author believes in "tidying" once and for all, not once in a while, or in pieces. The system is pretty cut and dry, written specifically for people like me; people who are attached to possessions, no matter what they are, because they contain memories and carry my story, (even if they spend their precious life under my bed or wedged between the fridge and the bookshelf, collecting bugs and dust. They're still sacred, okay?)

Now, to be fair, I haven't listened to the whole book, as I accidentally napped through the important parts. But judging from what I have "read", perhaps it should really be called, Clean Your House Once and for All by Tearing Your Life House Apart and Shoving Everything You Thought Mattered to You and Ought to be Kept into Hefty Garbage Bags and Drop Them off at GoodWill Like Nothing Ever Happened. I don't feel that way entirely, but a little. And I've found myself in mini debates with Hailey over it. My feeling is: how can you legitimately ask your readers, followers and customers to just do away with things that matter to them, all in one swoop? That's like asking a binge eater to just stop binge eating, or worse, just stop buying food. Maybe that's a bit dramatic but as a mostly-recovered binge eater, it's not.

Speaking of disordered eating, some people who've read this book and adhered to the system have reported actual weight loss (or at least a big bought of diarrhea, which is almost just as good.) And as an Eating Psychology Counselor, who studies the ways in which food and weight issues often have very little to do with food, I'm curious about this; can getting rid of my physical stuff help me feel physically lighter? (That was a total Carrie Bradshaw-type question. WOW. I AM a writer!)


The truth is, despite my Dad's desire for me to have a tidy room in our tidy-looking house, I didn't realize just how messy and untidy his life was until it was over. When he died, it was up to me to decide what got kept and what got tossed, what "sparked joy" and what had left me (and probably him) feeling empty and helpless and sad. My Dad had kept everything; Velcro shoes from the 80's, golf clubs from the 70's, papers and documents from the 60's. He kept receipts and old apartment rental agreements. He kept his divorce papers and the teeth I lost as a child. My Dad made photocopies of every letter he ever sent to someone and saved every letter and card he ever received. I think my Dad spent the majority of his adult life trying to hold on to joy that had long since passed. And I know I do the same.

So what's my point? Why should you care? What do I really want you--my friend, my reader, my confidant-- to hear from this post?

I want you to hear that I'm gonna try this thing, this only keep things in my possession that 'spark joy' thing. I want you to hear that this is hard, out-of-character and scary for me and I'm going to do it anyway and maybe you wanna do it, too? Maybe you're looking to clear out your space, your life, your world? Maybe you wanna do it but not alone? Maybe you want to find a way to do it that works for YOU and not *exactly* as written in the book? I dunno. I just like you. I wanna help.

As you know, I'm not at all a "How-To" blogger, but I'm documenting my experience with this method so at the very least, it might be entertaining.

Over five million copies of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up have been sold, which means at least five million people are ready to make a change for the better, or they're ready for their neighbor or neice to. Five million people are more willing to consider that the things, the trinkets, the clothes, the pictures, the books and the Tupperware they would never dream of discarding are, in fact, what's keeping them from living their best life, in and out of their best home. Five million people are being nudged to take things out of the closet and drawers, out from behind the couch, away from the outdoor shed, (if not the entire shed) quickly evaluated and then tossed away. As much as I've resisted, I'm ready to do the same.

Over the next 3-4 posts, I'll be walking you through my experience of throwing my current life non-joy-sparking stuff away. Lord knows I'm gonna need a lot of decent tunes, energy drinks and drugs Essential Oils to get me through this process and I'll keep you in the loop of what those are, since I'm into that stuff.

I mean, I do like things that are life-changing...and I also like what's the harm in learning to love tidying up? If the least tidy, most nostalgic, deeply sentimental and super-attached-to-her-stuff girl can do this, maybe you can, too.

Want to?





Photo Credit: Tidying Up Pic