Karen L. Kehler, MA,  MSHA - Private- Professional- Affordable Counseling Services
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Kehler Counseling Blog

Tidying 4 Months Later . . .




Like most reading about Marie Kondo's process - I was skeptical about how it would be 'life changing magic' - I was thinking it was going to be 'good enough' if I just reduced, simplified and created a home and office that I wasn't hating!     
Seriously, my 'place' was ugly.  No one ever said it out loud or directly but my place is probably one of the original buildings built on the 'Main Street' of my town.  The deed is for the 1850's.  It was not 'charming' thanks to a remodel in the 70's that did what was what 'everyone' did - paneling, carpet, fluorescent lighting, electric heat, and replacement windows.  I recall those days - everyone panicked about the price of oil and how the Middle East held us hostage - so shifting away from oil and saving money was what drove the 'style'.    Thankfully there was no avocado or harvest gold - and my office area was redone in the late 90's so it reflected the rage of that time: forest green, burgundy, mahogany and brass. . .  and I was SICK of it.   Getting to stare at it 8-16 hours a day didn't help.  

Once I completed all but the final category of Marie's process I was really ready to transform my building into what -as she encourages - one that reflects my NOW life.  

This is the most crucial element to remember or use as a foundation as you discard and select every single item following her program.   You're aiming at creating a home that reflects YOU in your NOW life.   

That simple goal is what makes and keeps it true and interesting.   Keeping that in mind through every category kept me focused and determined.   It was very easy to discard - pass on - give away - anything and everything that no longer reflected me or MY NOW life.   

As I encouraged from the beginning - this process is perfect for anyone who has gone through a major life change whether its empty nesting, parents or spouse passing, divorcing, or surviving a major life trauma.  This process breaks down into very manageable steps - a journey - that will get you to a real 'place' -  a new place that is definitely better than anything left behind.    You have to do it to experience it.    

Just ask yourself - how many items do you have, see, own, store, hang, and yes hide - that are NOT 'you' - but instead kept because of sentiment (that's stored in brain /heart memory not the 'thing'), people gave it to you, you spent a lot on it so you have to keep it, or it was really wonderful at the time . . . but now it reminds you how things are not what they were, dredges up old or sad memories, makes you feel sad, sorry, frustrated, old, empty or depressed?     By the time you are done with this life changing process you will feel like your life is well lived and you're now ready for what's ahead.  

Four months later I am amazed daily by how differently I think about my home.    Four months later my home is remaining tidy.    It is really is EASY to keep it maintained - that's the 'magic' part - how simple and easy it is.  The stress reduction is notable.   

Once I completed the categories I was then ready to redo the foundation elements of my home: walls - carpet - remodel - refresh every room.   By this time you really know what you want - and how you want to feel in it.    Again, focused on the NOW - not the life I had - that was incredibly different from now - I could see how that might have been great  then - I don't want that 'life' or lifestyle again.  I have so much more to offer now -  the experiences that I went through got me here  now I want to enjoy the 'now' - not wallow in what I lost, miss or gave up.  For those who really know me - they know that is significant!     

Once I was 'done' I then turned to home improvement sources and decided to paint every room -carpet and install new flooring - redo the bathroom - all on a very restricted budget with a very skilled boyfriend. . .  I spent every weekend this summer checking off the list of what got painted, fixed, replaced and even covered.   I will say that there were times when I thought that 'tidying' first was a dumb idea - because when you paint and carpet you have to remove EVERYTHING from the rooms!   BUT the reality is that since I had assigned places for every category already and had eliminated so much 'noise' of items I no longer wanted - emptying rooms and then putting them back was much simpler and less stressful than if I had waited.    I recommend it in that order to anyone!   

Now my home reflects the more sophisticated, classic, calm, well read self.   The objects are more meaningful to me and my now place in life.   I have fabrics, books, decorative items, and soon -furniture that reflects my current lifestyle and loves.   Sure some of it is from magazine inspirations but the singular items mirror my life at this time - this chapter.    It is so different from when I started that I can't even recall what it used to look like!     That's the other magic!     Once we painted over all the paneling, replaced all the flooring and redid the bathroom I realized how stressed I really was being surrounded by elements that disturbed me - non stop - all day long!    If I can encourage anyone to get through this - that in itself has been the real life changer - I now ENJOY my home - something that I had always valued - in every single location that I have lived in over time.   Having a sense of comfort and serenity in my own home space has always been crucial to my well-being.   Now its finally in place again.  For those of you wondering when and how long - my divorce process took 6 years - and my financial life changed overnight - my career had to become my focus and with it came increased stress.  It took all those years to re-adjust - to get confident again in all arenas of my life - and I can end this entry today thinking I really 'did it' - I've got my 'game' back and my place reflects the NEW chapter of 'seizing the day' and having the privilege of helping others.   

Marie Kondo - you have my highest regards!   
If you are interested in photos - send me an email and I will share a slide show! 

Enjoy!
Karen 

 

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