A Life After Tidying Up

I’m sitting in a clean living room, a basket of folded laundry pushed aside, cutting up an old sweater I’ve been planning on upcycling since I put it in a storage bin about 5 years ago.
See, I said to myself, I knew I’d  do this project someday.

Becoming a minimalist isn’t my end game. No tiny house plans. I’m just really sick of spending unnecessary time conquering laundry mountains and meltdowns of not being able to find matching shoes. Hopping on this lifestyle trend has been one of the most needed changes I’ve made. I binged through all the new shows, read the books, listened to the podcasts, participated in the challenges, and began my journey to tidy up. I held each item and debated its joy. I’ve cut out duplicates, decreased the clutter and managed (most of) the mess. I’ve kept the resolutions. I’ve hygeed, folded underwear into some sort of origami, and donated an embarrassing amount of stuff.


Beginning this process was something I put off and made excuses for as I continually moved boxes and bins from one space to the next. Rationalizing that a lifetime of being Messy Jessie, having three kids, moving and renovating, or being too busy was actually the problem. Not too much stuff. When starting a new medication your body needs time to adjust, this process also takes time to take effect. Boring, emotionally frustrating, and ongoing. It’s easy to give up, but your cortisol levels and new found free time will thank you for sticking with it.

Now that the initial purge of our house is done and the dust of what remains settles I am starting to feel the positive impacts in our daily routines. Keeping only the good stuff, the joy sparking stuff, has made daily clean ups a breeze and our house more homey. Less stuff, less mess. Routines are simplified. Laundry isn’t a fight. The guilt I felt while taking time for myself has eased. 

There isn’t one specific method I strictly followed. I took pieces of advice that worked for our family. First, focusing my energy on the main problem areas. Seeing the positive effects there motivated me to keep going. I stuck to a routine during the bigger projects to stay on track and maintained the work I completed when moving to the next. Adjusting as needed to accommodate our lives and schedules. I involved my kids, and didn’t push my husband (he did move a lot of boxes though). I let go of a lot of someday dreams, might need these supplies, and enforced boundaries for what comes in our house.

My 5 favorite resources and motivators have been:

  1. The Minimalists Podcast
    I enjoy their clever writing, and appreciate a different perspective on a lifestyle beyond just getting rid of the physical items. Their words have been most beneficial for my mental declutter. 
  2. All things Marie Kondo
    Kon Mari books, methods, and shows. Most helpful for clothing and laundry management which was my biggest struggle.  An approach to be gentle, and not feel like you failed. Her ways are realistic, and kind.
  3. The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker.
    I liked listening to this one as I worked. A family friendly perspective to guide your process. 
  4. Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White.
    This book was the most relatable and gives realistic advice on the actual steps to take. Her process was the best fit for our lifestyle, and made the biggest impact on my second round through my house, and on going maintenance routines.  
  5. Apartment Therapy’s January Cure.
    This social media challenge was such a motivational way to kick off this long process. Their daily prompts eased you in and set the tone to keep going with an active community and aesthetically pleasing inspiration. 

I am still a messy (lazy) person. I have curious and creative kids, a crafty husband,  and collections of interesting things. Removing items from our home that did not enhance our lives and fuel our passions has made it much easier to actually enjoy them and each other. The cleaning tasks are easily completed each day, or not overwhelming to catch up on if ignored. Getting everyone dressed, packed up, and ready to chase adventures is calm and simple. Working on creative projects is just a matter of grabbing a basket of curated supplies. Weekends and evenings are spent guilt free playing, snuggling, or finally sewing elbow patches onto an old sweater. 

I’m Jessica! Married to my best friend and mother to some pretty wonderful little people. My family makes this life pretty exciting and I strive to do my best to make this world better for them. I grew up in rural Colorado but decided to trade it all in for a life changing move to the Caribbean islands. After 3.5 years of world traveling and beach bumming, I decided to plant roots in Kansas City. We now call the charming city of Lee’s Summit home and couldn’t be happier with this amazing community. I am the owner of Lee's Summit PLAY and work hard to promote learning and adventure in youth. I love to shop small and support all of our wonderful local business owners. My favorite parts of this area of Missouri are the fantastic local breweries, beautiful parks and outdoor spaces, and the passion behind all of the welcoming people. You can usually find me sipping a local brew, working on a community project to spread love and kindness, and experiencing all the Lee’s Summit and the Kansas City area have to offer.