How To Tidy Up Your Life

Claire Vane
May 3, 2017

Individuals often come to coaching because they do not like the way their lives are working at that moment.  It might be work; it might be domestic; it might be overload; it might be a lack of balance.

Although coaching is often seen as the acceptable face of therapy, the two are extremely different but clearly the individual wants to make something different. I’m always looking at ways that people can start a change process, which is made more difficult by the fact that change involves having to give something up and often people wish to make a change without giving something up.

The book on the block at the moment is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo and the theory is simple and in reading it, I found myself going through waves of enthusiasm and then disbelief. I have now come to realise that there is a lot to be said for clearing out the physical things in your life and actually discarding what doesn’t matter to you currently. If you can discard what is not appropriate in your life on a physical side, then it makes change easier mentally. Marie Kondo says that a proper tidying and discarding session in a house can take about six months, and once you have done your discarding properly, that 'the clutter' never returns.

Keep things that give you joy

The theory says that you should only keep things that give you joy, and this consideration of what brings joy is a very good way of looking at jobs and decision-making. I’m not saying for one minute that all of your job can give you joy, but if the overall effect isn’t uplifting, then there is something wrong.

Know your outcome

The writer promulgates the idea that you divide your possessions into five groups/areas:

1) Clothes

2) Books

3) Documents

4) Sundries

5) Those things to which you have an emotional attachment

At the beginning Kondo talks about visualising where you want to be. This is in line with Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – know your outcome. She suggests that you should touch absolutely everything you own and that if it doesn’t elicit a spark of joy, then you should discard it, saying goodbye to each item.

Trust your instincts

I have never been one to believe that inanimate objects have a spirit (apart from my piano to whom I talk regularly so maybe I am well down the route to a slight touch of insanity). However, Marie Kondo talks about rational judgment and says that emotional feelings of joy should be used for discarding those objects that we don’t really want to keep or we keep for bad reasons; these are connected to our insecurity about the future or belong in the past.

She suggests that all items of a category are put in a huge pile in one place in the house and that you go through them item by item. This is clearly time consuming and is perhaps why she said it can take up to six months but I can support her in her belief that it really works. Hoarding and holding on to the past blocks you from the future, both in terms of physical actions and mental space.

She also suggests that you categorise items and that all of one type are kept in one place, e.g. your clothes should be kept in one room and likewise other personal possessions in one place.

Start today

You can leave lots of things to your old age but you will have a better old age if you tackle them now and invest in the present. I have noticed that people who discard and give themselves mental space by discarding physically, also make better leaders. I recently heard a client telling me how much the sales process has changed and how he has had to discard his previous ideas of selling. The process of giving up long-held ideas is uncomfortable but worth it in the longer term. Far fetched? I don’t think so.

If you want to discuss tidying up your life, the team at Integrated Resources can help you with their expert coaching sessions. Get in touch today to find out more.

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Claire Vane

Claire is the Managing Director and Founder of Integrated Resources. She is passionate about releasing potential in individuals and organisations.

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