Unless you’ve been living in an off-grid bunker somewhere, you’ve likely heard of Marie Kondo and her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Marie Kondo is a Japanese professional organizer who helps clients declutter their belongings and by doing so, increase their happiness, reduce stress and live their ideal lives.
She has a rather radical approach to tidying, as she calls it. She wants people to discard anything in their homes that does not spark joy. A lot of North Americans were taken aback at this notion, and it is possible that there is a cultural difference in our understanding of joy. I, for one, would have very few possessions indeed if they all had to pass a test of whether they sparked joy within me. I do have a few pairs of socks that are pretty awesome.
I don’t think that Marie Kondo is insisting that we keep only those things that bring us some kind of giddy euphoria, rather contentment or even delight. Stuff you’d marry, rather than have a one-night stand with.
I have to admit that as appealing as the promise of a more perfect life in perfectly uncluttered surroundings is, I haven’t gone through my entire house and Kondo-ized it. But by changing to a plant-based diet, I have certainly uncluttered my way of eating. By eliminating all of those foods that are not directly health promoting, I am left with only those foods that spark joy and wellbeing. I am experiencing some of the same benefits as Marie Kondo promises in her book – namely that releasing yourself from clutter makes you feel lighter – psychologically, spiritually and otherwise.
I haven’t decluttered my whole house yet, but there are a few places I have. The first is my closet. By losing 40 pounds, I dropped a couple of sizes and found that most of my clothes didn’t fit. I donated almost everything and have been trying to be more mindful when I shop for replacements. My closet is much less cluttered now, and easier to navigate.
My health has improved dramatically since changing to a whole foods, plant-based (wfpb) diet. I no longer require any medications, prescription or not, and I have a bag of unused pills, patches and puffers that are waiting to be returned to the pharmacy for disposal. That certainly feels lighter!
One of the first things I did when I decided to start eating wfpb was clean out my food cupboards and fridge of all animal products, oils, refined flours and sugars and processed foods. My kitchen is a safe space, but it also has more space. My next project is to declutter kitchen gadgets that are not used and are taking up room.
I feel like we can get burdened by excess belongings in the same way we get weighed down by poor food choices. Having decluttered my diet, I’m ready to clear space in my home as the next step in my midlife rejuvenation project.
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