Tidying Up!

Monday, February 18, 2019
Surprisingly enough, “Tidying Up” is an oil painting by American artist Isabel Bishop. The original work hangs in the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The artist focused most of her creativity on women going about their everyday lives.

The painting, however, claims no credit for the donation deluge thrift stores across the nation experience as folks “tidy up” their homes. Rather, the Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has inspired devotees through stories and changes that take place as Marie guides people through the life-changing process of releasing attachments to possessions. She reminds us that “memories live in the mind, not in the closet.” I must admit Dale and I watched a few episodes ourselves.

Marie isn’t the first person to extol the benefits of being tidy. Others have told us, “Tidy Room, Tidy Mind”; “Twinkle, twinkle little star, time to clean up where you are.” You can find YouTube songs to sing with children (or grandchildren) about the fun of being tidy.

When Dale and I moved our family from Brazil to the U.S. after 17 years, we were faced with a drastic need to tidy up. Reducing our possessions to a mere 100 pounds seemed an impossible feat — especially for a family of four! Moving to Friendsview Continuing Care Retirement Community in Oregon presented another opportunity to tidy up. In the process, I came to realize that what I own reflects my identity and my values. How do I want to live my life going forward?

Jason Wright, popular speaker and bestselling author, asks the question: “What is the point of organizing and cleaning our physical worlds without doing the same in our spiritual worlds? Storing anger at a family member? Throw it out! Stashing regret for the job not taken? Toss it! Clutching guilt for the words you spoke? Apologize to God and the offended. Then forgive yourself and chuck the memory forever. What’s good for your closet is good for your soul!”

Mark Twain summed it up, “Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.”