Y’all. This book. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The title is not hyperbole. It has actually changed my life.
Unexpectedly, it all started with the movie War Room. (Have you seen it? If not, watch it as soon as it comes out on DVD. Seriously.) I came home from that movie and proceeded to pray – out loud – through all the rooms of my house. (That was a bit uncomfortable for this undemonstrative Southern Baptist, but it got easier as I went along.) Either that afternoon or the next day, I began the process of creating my own War Room.
There’s a small room under the stairs that had only been used to store boxes of things that didn’t seem to belong anywhere. I had spent most of our two years in this house trying my best to ignore both its presence and its contents, but I knew this would be the best place to create an actual prayer closet, so I dove in and cleared it out. Then, I needed to add some things back in. A table and a chair. A cheerful table cloth that I had stashed away. A few books to use for Bible study. A lamp. (The harsh, buzzing fluorescent light simply wouldn’t be conducive to any sort of focus.) Eventually I added a pleasant-smelling candle. Over time, the bare walls began to have papers attached to them containing Bible verses, prayers, and prayer requests.
It quickly became my favorite room in the house. Not only did I love it for the spiritual growth that was happening inside, but I loved it as a physical space as well. It had a designated purpose and contained everything I needed at arm’s reach. It was clutter-free. It reflected my personal taste. I wanted the rest of my house to feel that same way.
While I’ve been blessed with relatively easy success in many areas of my life, two areas always seemed to mock me as a failure – my body and my house. I couldn’t seem to maintain control or order in either one, and the thought of even trying left me anxious and overwhelmed. Besides, I had tried before, had brief periods of success, and then fell into failure again. I was at my highest-ever non-pregnant weight, and keeping up the with housework felt next to impossible.
Now, the logical side of my brain knows that neither situation was ridiculously out of control. I wasn’t about to end up on an episode of Hoarders or The Biggest Loser. But nevertheless, I felt out of control and rather hopeless.
I’d heard about this book for a while as it had popped up in Amazon searches and was discussed on podcasts, but I was skeptical. I had tried and failed with FlyLady. I had tried and failed with the Sidetracked Home Executives. I had tried and failed at creating my own systems and routines. How could this book possibly be any different?
Reluctant to spend money on yet another organizing book, I discovered that I could get the audio version for free by signing up for a 30-day trial of Audible through Amazon. At the end of the 30 days, I could cancel the membership and still have the audiobook forever. Free is my favorite price, so I signed up and downloaded the book. I often listen to podcasts in the shower and while getting ready in the mornings, so I started listening to the book. You can do the same by clicking here.
I started out scoffing at the ridiculousness. I ended up fully embracing the simple genius of it all.
To be continued…