Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How to Get Over Heartbreak by Decluttering (I'm Serious!)

A few months ago my heart was ripped out of my chest as my then-boyfriend and I decided to call it quits. It was really hard, but it was the right thing for us at the time.

I know that now, but in December, I would have told you a different story, as I had a huge void in my life and I didn't know how to fill it. I wasn't, and still am not, ready to just find someone new. I have never been able to do that.

I started looking into traveling the world or living abroad for a year. I needed a change of scenery and this book was just the thing.

In mid-January, Snowpocalypse Jonas came to Tennessee and I had a few days off from school. I had bought a few books to keep myself busy and I decided to start reading them. One was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Now, I am no domesticated diva so I don't even know what inspired me to buy this one, except for the rave review from one particular friend of mine. I guess it was meant to be, whatever that means.

I started reading the book and was surprised to read that there really was something behind this philosophy. Before starting the "de-cluttering" process you are supposed to "vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space." It's not enough to just say you want your house tidy, you have to also decide what kind of life you want from your newly-tidied house. An example she uses in the book is of a client that wanted a more feminine lifestyle.

I thought on this for a few days. Deciding what kind of life one wants is not to be taken lightly and "feminine", per se, wasn't my end goal.

After some reflection I decided that my word (and world) should be free considering the traveling that I wanted to do. I wanted to be free, unencumbered by this world and this life that I am in. I wanted to be brave and free, like a bird without a cage (even though I am paralyzingly afraid of birds, I wanted to be one, to spread my wings and fly.)

After getting my "word" I began my journey. I followed the specific order that Marie laid out in the book. This specific order guarantees you you will have results that will stick. According to Kondo, once you have been through the process in this specific order, you will NOT relapse. Ever. Pretty cool, huh? Even I can tidy up once, especially if it is going to be for life.

The first category you go through is shirts. So I got out every shirt I owned and laid it on my bed. I picked up each and every one of them individually. I held it in my hands to feel its energy. I had to decide, "does this spark joy?" for each. (That's the key component of the method.) I have to admit it was pretty rough going. I don't think we realize how much energy is held in material things.

I picked up one shirt and was hurt all over again by a previous ex because it reminded me of him.

I picked up clothes that didn't fit right. They didn't spark joy because I didn't feel joyful in them.

I picked up pieces that made me smile just by looking at them.

The biggest "aha" moment I had was when I was going through some suits I had in the back of my closet. In a former life, I was an accountant and a bank teller. I had to wear not-so fancy suits to these professional jobs, and when I first graduated college and was ready to start interviewing, I didn't have any appropriate clothing, even for an interview. I was a poor college student living off of an Outback server's wages.

But I digress, I picked up this Banana Republic suit. I smiled and teared up knowing that this suit was one that my parents had bought for me on eBay over 10 years ago. I was filled with memories of  my parents making sacrifices for my sister and I growing up without ever letting us know about it. That suit filled me with joy and happiness and gratitude. I felt all of those things and I let it go. I knew that I would never wear it again so I thanked it for its service and put it in the donate pile. It had fulfilled its purpose in my life and it was time for it to be of service for someone else. This may sound harsh to you but the memories are what are important here, NOT the clothes.

After I finished de-cluttering my closet, the most amazing thing happened; I could finally breathe again. It had been months since that fateful day when my world had fallen apart and I could see the other side of it, at last. I can't begin to tell you how good it felt. I don't know if it was the act of getting rid of things or the meditative process of it, but it worked for me; I highly recommend it for you too. No matter what kind of heartbreak you are facing, try clearing out the the things in your life and only keep what sparks joy.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! It seems like you really had an amazing experience with this - so inspiring for me to read! Thanks!