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20 combs: That is the number of combs I found when organizing my bathrooms.  Seems a bit excessive, I know.

To say I’m not a very organized person would be an understatement.  Throughout my home there are stacks of paper, books on every horizontal space and empty cups left whereever is convenient at the time.

I’ve always attributed my lack of organization to whimsical brilliance.  Aren’t brilliant people supposed to be disorganized and messy?  Or was that just something I made up to make me feel better?

How did I end up with 20 combs?  Simple.  I have a tendency to misplace things, so I bought a box of combs.  I figured that way I would be able to find a comb when I needed one.  Wrong!  After I went through the box, I still couldn’t find a comb.

About a year ago a friend told me she was reading Maria Kondo’s book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  She explained how helpful it was to her and how she was decluttering her whole house.  

I listened with feigned enthusiasm and thought how decluttering my house sounded about as fun as ripping the nails off of my fingers.  Why would anyone want to do that to themselves?

Fast forward a year, I was sitting in my house.  Everywhere I looked there were books strewn about, papers here and there, legos on the floor (NO!!!) and bits and pieces of randomness all about.  I felt irritated and stressed and started one of my, infrequent, organizing rampages.  I get into these states every few months where I go into a trance-like state and try to organize junk drawers, kids toy areas, papers, etc.

The problem with these rampages is I organize a few drawers, closets and then a few weeks later they are back to how they were.  Maria Kondo refers to this as “rebound.”  She states that very few of her clients experience rebound.  Instead of simply organizing all the stuff they have, they discard a lot, if not, most of what they have.

They go through their stuff, not asking “When was the last time I used this?” but “Does this bring me joy?”  I have to say this concept completely rocked my world.  I don’t consider myself to have a lot of clothes (especially in comparison to my husband), but using this criteria, I got rid of about half of my wardrobe.

Maria Kondo wants people to have a home filled with things that give them joy, rather than cluttered with a bunch of mediocre stuff that frustrates.

This has helped me so much, because it forces me to be super selective about what I buy and what I bring into my house.  In my past, if it was “cheap” or a “good deal,” I wanted to acquire it.  Now, the idea of bringing new stuff into my home that could clutter and steal my joy makes me cringe.  This mindset also forces me to truly live out my mantra, which is: Buy experiences v. stuff.

Recently, a new Target was opened near our house.  I went there with the kids to check it out.  There were household goods, toys and craft supplies laid out in an attractive way like sirens lulling female shoppers.  When I saw these things, I felt viscerally that I needed to protect my home and family from them.

It also means when I buy something I ask “Does this give me joy?”  It’s amazing how this phrase seriously limits what I buy.

What do you have that truly gives you joy?