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

Why "Tidying" is Life changing. . .

For those of you who know me personally the last year, many got a chance to actually witness the process of 'tidying' in my life.    Clients saw piles of boxes, neighbors saw bags of trash, strangers saw hauls to the recycling bins, and loved ones saw my physical place transform. 

I can't say enough about the entire process.  As a mental health professional I have to speak up about how it is truly a process that can help in very obvious ways to reduce stress, improve daily life routines, add time into your day for the more important activities, determine new directions, edit out 'noise' that is really in the way of success and is so visual that most can't help but say something positive.   For these many reasons it is 'life changing'.   

I will encourage every reader to start the new year by starting this 'program' or 'process' - then worry about weight, exercise, career changes, romance, and all those other goals and resolutions.   This process will help all the others work more effectively.  Believe me.  

The core element of Marie Kondo's book is JOY.  Sounds ridiculously simple and life does that to us.   My own 'mantra' has been "to thine own self be true".  Both are combined in the process.   I see hundreds of clients - thousands over the years who had no idea what was 'true' to themselves.  They were too buried in people-pleasing, scripts written by their loved ones, drowning in past memories, lost in their way due to non-stop chaos of others.   I experienced it myself - that's probably why I'm so excited about this process - because it got me to a place in life that I'm finally comfortable in.   

Everyone can read through her book differently - and process their own path through it differently - that's the 'magic' part.   It is very personal.   It is by far one of the most inspiring, motivating, insightful, retrospective process I have ever done.  

Although she focuses on the experience of joy - when you create an environment where you feel confident that you can find something, that your 'view' from every perspective gives you a sense of pleasure, when you surround yourself with objects that invoke a sense of self, happiness, success, creativeness, and accomplishment -it triggers positive feedback to yourself all day long.   

Just think about the frustration or negative feeling you can elicit right now if I asked you to locate a specific object you haven't used lately in your home or office?   If I asked you to find a specific tool could you locate it easily or have to check several different locations? Rooms? Drawers?  How about a specific document?  A remarkable holiday object? A book? Hardly used garments?  Sporting equipment?  Craft supplies?   
 
That moment, minute, hour or even day of stress -wonder where is it??  IS STRESS.  Our homes are cluttered with it!   Do you put things where its 'convenient' yet forget where that is?   Do you have multiple places for same types of items to avoid the stairs, looking for it, or if its right in front of you -you will be able to find it?    Yet it gets buried anyway - and then you have to do a search and rescue to find it or just buy another one??

That STRESS is what shakes up your day - distracts you - throws you off from accomplishment.   That same stress is why you're irritable, snapping, and give up or in and ignore the pile, mess, clutter, heap, shelves, closets and drawers - because you don't want to open the Pandora's Box of even attempting to straighten it all out.   It's easier to not touch it.  

In the meantime, you're also wasting time that could be spent on activities you really enjoy.  Activities that you have put off, avoid or ignore because you're too busy dealing with 'the mess' that has to be reigned in every day!   

This is what to start realizing with her process - you complete it by category.  That is one of the most unique but effective elements of her program - you do not 'organize' or 'minimize'  you edit by 'joy' - and only ONE category at a time.    This helps to maintain the required focus to get through the thousands of decisions you will need to make as you plow through them all.    For each category you will have more specific questions to determine what to keep and what to give away - that are unique and relevant to each category.  That it why her system works - you STAY FOCUSED.  If you have any issues with attention deficit, procrastination, or distraction - doing it by category is the secret.    Do not try to do more than one major category in one day - pace yourself.   It is also important to give time to reflect.   Remember her title is 'life changing magic' - giving yourself time to process the progress is just as important as assigning what you keep a 'place'.   

Assigning a specific space or place for each category is a requirement.  Once you get how important it is to have ONE place - not 3 for 'convenience' - but just one - you will begin to experience the obviously reduced stress of her design.   You will only have to LOOK IN ONE SPECIFIC PLACE for whatever object, document, item, book, article, utensil, or tool.   ONE PLACE.   It sounds absurdly simple but once you incorporate it you will never go back - and when you read it in her book - you probably doubt its' validity.  You have to do it to know it.   

You will want to keep your home and office maintained by using the 'one place' method.  I found that I loved it immediately, incorporated it daily and now finding myself editing even more carefully to make sure everything continues to be placed using this theory.   Personally, you may resist some items - where you want a second one in an 'easy to grab' place - but try not to - it is still easier to walk the longer distance than reach for the 'wrong one' instead!    
You will value containers, drawers and shelves more than ever -as they hold the category safely - and become the one site to look.    As you get through the numerous categories you will see how your entire home transforms.  Wait until you get to the final categories and you're spending minutes instead of hours maintaining your home's cleanliness!    When everything is always in its place - returned to its place - you're reducing STRESS.  

I can't emphasize it enough - that too often mental health comes from managing stressful situations with confidence and competence.  If you feel like the world is controlling you rather than you being in charge of it - you quickly question your own abilities, worth, self and competencies.   When you feel lost in chaos you can't gain a sense of stability that is necessity to make concise decisions that work best for yourself.  You end up becoming fragile and dependent on what others think, say, advise or demand.  You lose yourself.  Decades can pass by.   When you have your environmental stress well managed -so much of life's issues become much smaller, easier to handle.  You have clarity to think introspectively.  With that you can decide more concisely what to do - say - act on next. . . 

So I will be sharing the process one step at a time.  You can review my other blog shares that I wrote as I went through it initially.  I'm writing this 4 months after finishing - and still  feel the same enthusiasm every morning!    

My next question and share will ask:  Does your environment reflect your "NOW" you?  

Believe it!
Karen 


1 Comment to Why "Tidying" is Life changing. . . :

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Eddie on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 8:18 AM
Your first comment struck a real chord with me. There is nothing more relaxing to me than cleaning up stacks of mess particularly to do with my business I find the whole process very cleansing.
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