The Magic of Tidying Up and Making Plans

Winter has settled in the valley and, like many of you, I’m focusing on indoor projects while waiting for warm weather to return.

IMG_0665I spent a recent productive Saturday morning cleaning kitchen cupboards, particularly the baking  and spice cupboard. Old spices and other ingredients were discarded, shelves were cleaned, containers labeled and everything was rearranged.

When my husband came indoors at lunch time, he couldn’t readily see how I’d spent the morning, so I proudly showed him the cupboard. He wasn’t impressed, but I can barely describe the satisfaction I derived from that one task.

My kitchen cleaning project is a start in what I hope will become a major effort at “tidying up.” I’ve been inspired in this mission by theThe-Life-Changing-Magic-of-Tidying-Up-718x1024 New York Times #1 Best Seller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. A friend brought it to my attention recently and I immediately dropped it into my Amazon cart. When I mentioned the book to my brood of Millenial Men, a couple of them knew exactly what I was talking about. It seems the book has developed a bit of a cult following. The author, Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo, has been referred to as a “guru of tidiness, a warrior princess in the war on clutter.” (The London Times)

Her method is to tidy by category, rather than room-by-room or little-by-little. My category for this recent cleaning binge was “food”. The fridge also got purged and other cupboards are now nearly bare (we do have food, just not old, unhealthy or unwanted food).

This endeavor is just the beginning because I seek a radical change in our home environment, and perhaps in our lives. From the chapter titled “The Magic of Tidying Dramatically Transforms Your Life”:

“…through this process, people come to know contentment. After tidying, many clients tell me that their worldly desires have decreased…..they felt that they had everything they needed.”

My next tidying up categories are “books” and “clothes”. Considering those are two prime obsessions, we’ll see how that goes.


“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

This anglicized quote from the Robert Burns poem “To a Mouse” came to mind this week as I sat with a dear friend making plans for a February trip.

My friend is living with ALS and each day presents a new challenge for her. She is a doer and a planner by nature, so it’s hard for her to admit that she’s not sure what, if anything, she can realistically plan to do in the coming year. But we agreed, planning to go with a few other friends to Founders Week at Moody Bible College in February is important. It’s been a long-standing tradition and a life-changing experience and one we don’t intend to miss.

The Moody choir performing at Founders' Week 2015

The Moody choir performing at Founders’ Week 2015

Our conversation turned to the reality that none of us holds a guarantee that we will see our plans come to fruition. At any moment, all our earthly plans can be halted by illness, circumstance, even the Farmer’s plough (poor mouse).

So, we plan because (so says Benjamin Franklin) “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. And because, just as in tidying up, planning begets its own life-changing magic. Making plans is choosing hope over despair, possibility over fear.

Making plans is choosing hope over despair, possibility over fear. Click To Tweet

My friend is a gardener, and she’s decided to make plans for the next growing season. When we return from Chicago, she’s going to plant some seeds, under lights in her house and in the little greenhouse she’s built near her gardens. In the spring, she’ll put her seedlings in the ground. I can already taste the harvest of heirloom peppers, tomatoes and beans that we’ll be enjoying come summer.




  1. Kathy Becze

    To me, gardening was always a solitary project… maybe thats why I’m so drawn to it. But, God is impressing on me that now, in my “new” normal it is to be a group endeavor! I hope you’ll be able to help me in the greenhouse this spring for an hour or 2. Tomorrow I start tidying up the greenhouse… getting ready.


      I would love to, Kathy!

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