So much for the ‘Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’


By Melanie Yingst



It’s amazing how stuff tends to accumulate so quickly, especially here at my home.

Going from a one bedroom apartment to a four bedroom farm house has been both a blessing and a curse. For one thing there is more room here which is, of course, a blessing.

Then again, there’s more room here which is, of course, a curse.

Somehow along the way I’ve managed to become the “Twin’s Store and More” hub. My oldest sister recently downsized their home last fall. And most of that stuff is now in my attic, my barn and in my living room.

This is in additional to my own stuff in my attic, my barn and in my living room. I’ve been here for four years. I already have a “junk room.” How does that even happen?

So last weekend I downloaded the audio version of the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.” Hey, it’s on the New York Times Bestseller list for a reason and it has been getting a lot of press. I was curious to hear what all the fuss was about and I like to listen to audiobooks as I clean.

Two dirty birds, one clean stone.

So the first part of the book suggests you clean up by category, not location. The books suggests starting with with clothes. Oh boy, I have four dressers (yes, one in my dining room and another in my living room) and a closet full of clothes.

Yet, I still have nothing to wear. First world problems.

I’ll be honest, I hate getting rid of clothes. In fact, I still dream about my absolute favorite Gap jeans I had in college. Note: I donated those jeans 10 year ago. I should be over it, but I’m not. I should have never gotten rid of them. Then again, I shouldn’t be so attached to such soft, broken into, fit like a glove, material things.

Confession: I sometimes find myself combing through the jeans at Goodwill hoping that they’ll show up on the rack some day.

So I decided to tackle Evan’s clothes instead. It’s much easier to rid of his stuff for some reason. Yet, as he watched me bag up T-shirts he could no longer fit in, he got mad at me for trying to sneak his favorite Star Wars shirt in the donation bag.

“What! I love this shirt! It’s my all-time favorite and you are just tossing it out like a used tissue!” Obviously he has inherited my hoarding genes.

Yes. Yes I was and then I explained how this pre-teen growth spurt rendered his tiny T-shirt unwearable.

I told him to thank his favorite T-shirt (like the book suggests) and let it go. My 11 year-old looked at me like I was nuts. Understandable.

And then I bought him a new Star Wars shirt. Darn this vicious cycle!

My closet wasn’t as easy. I piled my clothes up on the bed and mentally prepared myself. Yes, I got rid of a few sweaters I haven’t worn in years, but I could not let go of a brown cable knit sweater my dad bought me for Christmas when I was in high school — almost 20 years ago. So I folded it and put it back in the box next to a few other things.

Yet, at the end of the process, I had three full trash bags of clothes to donate to someone else who may find joy within their threads. That felt good. Kind of.

And then the audio book suggested to move on to other categories such as books.

Stop. Right. There.

If you thought I was attached to an old pair of jeans, I’m more attached to my book collection. Each night, I’m surrounded by dozens of books either on my bedside table, under the table, and a few at the foot of my bed.

I took a break and loaded up Mr. Obvious’ SUV to the ceiling and drove to Goodwill and let go of a few hundred pounds of possessions.

Then I went back inside to my clean house and deleted that audiobook.

I didn’t want it cluttering up my collection on my I-Pad.

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By Melanie Yingst

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. Don’t touch her books, man.

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. Don’t touch her books, man.

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