A few weeks ago, I heard a sermon that challenged me to see our effort of tidying as a spiritual discipline. The preacher, Amy Moehnke, asked us each to think about our New Year’s resolutions within the context of our faith. How do the goals we set for ourselves bring us closer to God?
As I pondered her question, I began to remember our premarital counseling. We had been a couple for almost 4 years when we got engaged. During that time we had already discussed the usual premarital topics of kids, finances, and how to properly load the toilet paper roll (over the roll, not under). As such, the priest asked us to think about how we wanted our faith to be reflected in our union and our home. The idea that came to us over and over, was that we both wanted our home to be a sanctuary and a safe haven. We wished for our home to be a place to welcome others and show the hospitality that has been shown to us so often. We desired to share the abundance of what God has given us.
This vision of creating a sanctuary within our home has given me a new way of framing the work of tidying. It has added a necessary dimension to the work we are undertaking. We are not simply getting rid of excess stuff or organizing the stuff we cherish. We are establishing a space in which we can live into our calling as a couple and family.
Over the past several years, we have taken on the task of decluttering our home multiple times. Our methods have varied widely and we have been unsuccessful in maintaining the tidiness achieved for more than a few weeks without regular outside help. A few months back, a friend of our suggested we read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. Over our holiday break we finally began reading this together and are about to start our journey.
A few days before we began reading this book, we had hosted a meal at our home with another family. We got up that morning and began cleaning while a pot of red beans cooked on the stove. We finished the task of tidying the living/dining room of our apartment about an hour before our guests were planning to arrive. In the final moments of that tidying effort, a good amount of things just wound up piled on our bed rather than actually being put away.
Of the many methods we have tried previously, the KonMari method was the first one to start with asking “why.” As we discussed our individual answers to this, we found a common ground by looking back at the meal we had just hosted. We want to invite friends over to spend time in our home and share meals around our table. We want to welcome others into our space without having to spend the day before franticly cleaning. We want a tidy house so we can finally begin to feel like adults.
It is going to take us several months to get our home in order. As we move through this process, we’ll each be writing posts to catalog our effort.