Tidy Up

At the beginning of each New Year, my goal is “clean up your office. “2016 was no different.  So, I started tidying up, getting rid of clutter from as far back as 2006 and in a few days there was a garbage bag full of stuff to purge.

garbage bag

I get such joy from purging these piles of paper, converting them to trash. But this year my joy was interrupted by my reflection, realization that in a few months I’ll be right back where I started – clutter-stuffed.  January’s clean desk becomes June’s cluttered desk.

So to break this clean-to-clutter cycle, I turned to an expert, Marie Kondo, author of the book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” where Kondo provides instructions on purging piles, organization and life. One of Kondo’s cures for clutter is what I’m calling the “joy” test – if you put something in your hands and that “thing,” whatever it is, doesn’t spark joy, thank the “thing,” and then, get rid of it. There are more steps to this process including what and how to organize what’s left, but one key first step is get rid of stuff that doesn’t bring you joy.     So, I became an archaeologist of what was left in my filing cabinets – excavating artifacts that revealed a historical preoccupation with “things” collected from prior employers.  Chart below summarizes the paperwork, documents, “things” that were in my piles:

Piles of Stuff

So, when you think “performance review,” or “resume,” would that bring you joy?  How ’bout “work products?” Probably not.


And some things just provoked straight up fear – why  am I keeping medical insurance elections from 2010?


How bout two hard copies of that nasty email someone sent in 2012?


PURGE things that are harmful – I’m especially dealing with holding on to destructive stuff – physical and especially emotional things that the Bible calls “weights.” Don’t let these pile up!  Weights can be things holding you back – fear, anger, sadness, guilt, unforgivingness, destructive relationships.

Going forward, don’t even let these “things” in.

Physical clutter is a manifestation of mind and heart clutter.

KEEP things that are useful  – things that make you happy, stuff that brings joy, fulfillment or improves your productivity.

Looking at all of my piles, “Keepsakes” was the smallest pile and gave me the most joy because this pile was of pictures of friends, family, letters of encouragement, cards of appreciation and even jokes.

So, for 2016, here’s my high-level “To Do” list:

FAITH (1).jpg


And SHAKE OFF those “weights” that bog down mind and spirit.

Let’s tidy up.

Philippians 3:12-14 The Message I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 

But I keep cruising, can't stop, won't stop groovingIt's like I've got this music in my MIND saying, -it's gonna be alright.- Taylor Swift, -Shake it Off-



6 thoughts on “Tidy Up

  1. Love this post. I tend to hold on to things thinking I may need them in the future. But really, it’s just putting off the decision of whether to keep it or toss it. I love the thought that if I don’t let stuff accumulate, I won’t have to purge later.

    • Tracy, thank you. I hold on to stuff as well and I think you are right about putting off a decision. Sometimes, I’m afraid but I’m learning to be aware of what’s happening inside of me so I can ask the Lord for help.

  2. I also believe that we need to regroup and reorganize our minds and bodies to prevent getting stuck in a rut and operating at our God given maximum potential. Your message makes me think if there is any clutter holding me back, because the longer you hang on to it the more toxic it becomes. Thanks.

    • Donna, thank you for the insight. I think sometimes we need a complete overhaul or reorganization of thought patterns. It begins with just thinking about what you’re thinking about, which is sometimes fear-based vs. faith-based. And we know that the Lord said, “Be anxious for nothing.”

  3. Hi Gwennie–

    If you walked into my house . . . well suffice to say, THIS APPLIES. The sentence about clutter being the physical manifestation of what is in your mind and heart, oh boy! Yes! I am making a commitment to myself to declutter . . . and to use the principles of what brings joy to let go of what does not. I intrinsically know that this physical process will bring much healing and happiness (and I would guess closure and forgiveness in some cases) to my heart and soul. I am going to try to verbalize these affirmations as I go through the process. THANK YOU! PS. I love that you quote both Phillippians and Taylor Swift in the same message. YOU ROCK!!

    Thank you and please keep blogging,

    • Cheryl, thank you for your comments and your insights. Your comment reminds me of two of the best heart and mind declutterers, “forgiveness,” and “healing.”

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