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The World-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I confess I’m reading the recent surprising best-selling book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” by Marie Condo. (Well, actually listening to it on Audible…) Who knew someone could actually write a whole book on tidying Up in the first place?! You’d think all was needed was “Clean up your junk! The end.” Well… she’s got more to say. Much more! And, not only have I learned new ways to throw out or get rid of my “kimono (miscellaneous… or Japanese for all the collected junk you have no use for,) fold my socks instead of bunching, get rid of endless paper and order things by kind and fold clothes instead of piling it, I’ve become convinced that tidying up is next to Godless. Actually, who am I kidding? It is Godliness. It creates Godliness. Tidying is a key to Godliness! And not only is tidying up “life-changing,” it’s “world changing.” In other words, the world changes when you and I order things.. starting with ordering our private world. You show up as a better you when you’re world’s not filled with disorganized, disordered and dissatisfying junk. 
Bringing order, cleanliness and freedom from clutter frees up real estate, opens brain space and brings the one thing God never tires of creating in the world: shalom. Shalom Translation: Peace, completeness, soundness, welfare, rhythm. Everything how it was supposed to line up the way it was meant to be. Things in order and a sense of calm. And, second confession This “tidying up thing” fights against so much I just thought was personality, personal style or signs no one could tell you what to do. You see, freedom meant no parental voice could say, “Clean up your room!” Or teacher, “Tidy your locker!” To be free meant you didn’t give a rip what others thought of your space. In fact, my wife was kind of shocked when she learned I was listening to a book on “Tidying up.” Pleasantly shocked. But nonetheless shocked! “Jeff pretty much does what Jeff wants to do” was almost something she had settled as the way things were and would be. Yet, I now realize my own lack of “tidy” impacted my ability to make an impact, starting with the affect of cluttered space on a cluttered and dis-ordered mind and soul. So… here are some thoughts on tidying to be inspired today... 1. God models tidying up from chaos from the very beginning of time as the first thing to be done. In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth … “the earth was formless and void. and darkness was on the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2) Elsewhere, this is translated as “chaos.” Did chaos bother God? It must have! And it still does. God is still at work making the world better and more free of chaos. Chaos and disorder drives God to take action. Why wouldn’t it drive us? And God’s creation itself pushed back darkness, ordered chaos and arranged things that were in disarray in a way God saw as “good.” Spiritual shalom involves freeing our souls and minds from the clutter and junk that accumulates throughout the day. 2. Constant clutter may reflect a disorganized soul and create a disorganized soul. Lets face it, we both impact and are impacted by our environment. When I recently walked into a home filled with junk strewn everywhere and flies buzzing in the doorway, I felt bad for the family. Don’t placed of junk and disorder disturb your peace? But, do we feel as bad when our own desk is piled with bills, books and “kimono” and our computer desktop is packed with unplaced files? Do we feel as bad when our sink holds yesterday’s peanut butter and scrambled egg remnants? 3. Clearing clutter creates space for others in our world. If hospitality involves “creating peaceful space for others,” then clearly a cluttered office, home or workspace that's chaotic and disorganized doesn’t feel free or harmonious to them. It's not safe. I vividly remember walking into the office of my new manager at Smith Barney in Chicago about ten years ago. Young and blond, he was definitely a go-getter and a rising stand out in the company. But as I walked into his corner office for each meeting, I was constantly taken back by something he had that no one else in the whole office of a few hundred high end advisors had: a perfectly neat office with NOTHING on any surface. “Why is your office like this?” I asked. “I want my office to be free from distractions,” he told me. “I want others to always feel welcome in here.” 4. When you want to create space in the world, start with creating space in your own world. Just start with a vision of clear and clean space. No, this isn’t easy at first. And trust me, slip backs happen, just like bad days. But as you begin your day by decluttering, you’ll find the trend moving into other areas, even relationships. 5. Learning how to declutter more effectively is wise! It’s definitely wise to learn from those who are great at their craft. That’s where I’ll simply turn you over to an expert. (As confessed, I’m pretty new to this!) When you want to become a better dancer, learn from a great dancer. When you want to become a better tidyer… And advice like these are from a woman paid big bucks to help other tidy!

  • Tidy by category, not by location.

  • Tidy all at once to start.. then keep it that way

  • Have a place for everything, and everything in its place.

  • If the object sparks joy, keep it. If not, discard it. )“If you don’t love me, let me go. Sincerely, Your Stuff.“

  • Complex storage systems won’t fix it… Keep it. Give it. Or throw it away

  • Tidying, when done right, can be life changing

Love to hear what you think and how it works for you! P.S. Now you can download a complimentary copy of my book, "Unleashing Your Convergence Point: 7 Keys to Freeing the Work You Were Born to Do" Be sure to download it.... CLICK HERE

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