Simply Get Started

By Sarah Jenkins

See if this sounds familiar: You're having people over. They'll start arriving any minute now. You're feeling a little frazzled, and also a little sweaty, as you take one last look around.

You breathe a sigh of relief, knowing your guests have no idea what's lurking just beneath the surface of your home...

...the drawers filled to the brim with junk mail, desk gadgets, random purse contents, and anything else you shoved off the counter top.

...your closet stuffed so full that it could spring open like a can of party-gag snakes if you tapped on the door.

...whatever else is hidden under your couch. I won't ask; you don't have to tell me.

Some of you have never known the rush of this last-minute scramble. And to you I say: I do not understand your life.

I am not a good house keeper. I'm a thing keeper. An accumulator. A high-functioning semi-hoarder with some skeletons in the closet. My skeletons are hidden beneath piles and inside bins and between stacks. They're back there behind some free T-shirts, sentimental knickknacks, books I never plan to read, and a pair of pre-Obama administration khakis.


My relationship with my stuff is a problem I've been trying to solve for a long time, but I finally got serious about it this year after I discovered The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Now, when any book promises life-changing magic and Harry Potter is nowhere to be found, there's some major heavy lifting to be done in the "Prove it!" department for me. But I tell you what: I'm a believer.

A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming.
— Marie Kondo

Have you heard of #konmari?

If not, here's a 2-minute introduction to tidying expert Marie Kondo, which touches on both the helpful and hilarious aspects of her so-hot-right-now decluttering method.

I know, I know. Greeting your house? Thanking your trash?! Some of this sounds bonkers at first. But something can be bonkers and also true. (Lookin' at you, 2016 election.) And it's true that The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has in fact changed my life.

It's okay to roll your eyes; I get it.

Surely it will help to know this wasn't an instantaneous burst of magic. It's been a months-long endeavor, which has required me to unlearn years-long habits, so I can't do the process justice in just one blog post. (I will dig a little deeper Saturday. Come hang out!

I do have one idea I'd like to share, which I think can be helpful to anyone--no matter where you land on the minimalist-to-pack rat spectrum. No matter which skeletons live in your closet.

Simply Get Started.

Everybody has their own "stuff," mine just happens to be STUFF.

Not everyone needs to KonMari their clutter away, but I think we all have our Big Scary Thing (BST). BSTs can show up anywhere: Your health? Your job? Your relationships? Your dreams? (Ummm brb. Going to go stress eat some Cheez-Its after making that list.)

We all have the thing we wish we could change or improve about ourselves.

Probably more than one thing, if we're honest. Facing those things is scary. It's easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed.

But one thing this process has shown me is that you (yes, you!) have the power to change your life.

This surely sounds too good (or too simple) to be true. If you hear a voice in the back of your head saying, "Sure. Easy for you to say, Miss Mystery Hour. Miss Internet Fad. Miss Doesn't-Know-My-Life," you can kindly tell that voice to shut straight up. I have that voice in my head too, and that voice is a dummy. That voice is fear.

Fear doesn't want to change--not even for the better. So it's going to find every way it can to keep you exactly as you are. One of fear's sharpest tactics is giving you reasons not to go beyond the maybe-someday-I'll-do-it place.

If you're facing a Big Scary Thing of your own, as I was before starting my KonMari project in November, I want to challenge you to take one small step toward doing something about it. Do the one thing that takes power away from your fear:

SImply get started.

Whatever that means for you: Read a book. Ask for help. Make a list. Call a friend.

Take just one step. Then tomorrow take another one. Try it. Bonkers as it sounds, I think you'll find there's some unexplainable magic lurking just around the corner from the place where you need to start.

Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open.
— Rumi