I don’t need to have Netflix anymore to know that the new show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has surged a whole new wave of excitement over the KonMarie stuff cleanse & its “life-changing magic”.
On Instagram stories, in my neighborhood, and blogs across the internet, women and men (though, let’s be frank, the latter are mostly of the indulging-their-significant-other variety) are purging books, refolding clothes, and asking the question, “Does this spark joy?” (a fancy version of: do I still want this thing?)
The desire to simplify & subtract seems like a natural reaction response to the rampant materialism & consumption that mark our current cultural era. A counterswing to the flurry of Black Friday, the holidays, and 2-day free shipping.
So, I think it it’s a good thing, unequivocally.
What's not to love about reorienting your surroundings to only reflect what you love, what brings life, what lasts, and what has meaning? I have hitched my horse, professionally, 100% to the idea of products that are a bigger investment, but imbue meaning, are well-loved, and, well... spark joy! (I'm talking kantha quilts: see!)
But, I know that when we create a void, when we remove something, the space doesn’t stay empty. Another thing moves to fill it. I don’t mean literally, physically… this isn’t a comment on how the junk drawer will be mysteriously bursting again by March!
If I stop a bad habit, like checking my phone a zillion times a day, what will I do with my time, my hands, my antsy-ness, instead? This is why many smokers who decide to quit start chewing gum, or go for a 5 minute walk during what used to be their smoke break at work.
Even more abstractly, if I want to be less impatient, or think fewer judgmental thoughts, I need to create a positive resolution to focus on, too: maybe I start a mental bucket list of fun activities to think about when I am stuck in a line or otherwise trying to be patient; maybe decide to say a prayer of gratitude when I am feeling down or frustrated.
When we're motivated to simplify, to minimize, to clutter-bust... what do we want to fill that gap? If we don't consider the answer we envision to that question, I guarantee that the space will be filled... just maybe not with the life-giving, joy-sparking stuff we want in it.
So, what are some ideas to think through in refilling the space?
What else? Have you successfully decluttered and remained decluttered, in space and/or mind? Thoughts on the list above, or on all the recent KonMarie love?
Share your thoughts & stories in the comments below.
Our production partner, Basha, began in one little office in Dhaka, Bangladesh — the most densely populated city in the world. Over the many years they have been in business, creating kantha textiles & jewelry, they have expanded: both in number of staff, and also locations.
It was helpful for some women to leave the norm of their old life environment, to get away, to start fresh in a new city. So, Basha created different offices in varied locations. They established a girls' home to safely house daughters & other vulnerable young women as they come of age.
As Basha has continued to identify the great need of women in Bangladesh, there is another area they have expanded: actively seeking women in brothels & whispering the potential of a new life.
As I was packing for our first family international flight (to London UK), I wanted to make sure that we had everything we needed to make our overnight journey the most comfortable. As you know, those flights can be a little chilly - so I wanted to bring blankets for all of us. Naturally, I wondered...
Can I bring a blanket onto a plane?
In short: YES! According to the TSA you are allowed to both check a blanket in your luggage and to bring a blanket on a plane within a carry-on (and this also includes electric blankets). You can even bring your own blanket in your arms as you would a jacket or hat, without it counting towards your carry-on or personal item limits or paying any extra fees.
When I got married as a baby (4 days over 21), I was still a student. Then, we both worked for a bit, then we had babies, and then my husband was a student. For almost all of those years, our "budget" was: try to not spend money.
This head-in-the-sand tactic has served us... ok... BUT, now that I'm pretending to be a real grownup (at age 35 — youngest children tend to be late to the responsibility party), I'm taking a new approach!
After Christmas, I started using You Need a Budget (YNAB) to track every expense & plan for future spending. Two months in, here’s what I think.
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