Ever since the beautiful girl who would become my daughter-in-law gave me the #1 NY Times best-seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I’ve been a Marie Kondo fan.
Okay, I don’t buy into every element; I’ve never thanked my socks (who seem bent on sending one member per pair into hiding every chance they get—the little ruffians). Nor have I said ‘hello, house!’ because I’d be sure to add, ‘you really need a good vacuuming’ which would cancel out the nice greeting.
But I love the concept of being aware of what sparks joy while letting go of mountains of stuff I don’t need, all with a sense of gratitude. And I think being good stewards of our goods is…well, good. Beyond that, I’m kind of obsessed with books and shows about organizing and minimizing. Yep, I’ve even watched the complete Hoarders series. (Wince, shudder.) Apparently, “I like mess.”
So as I sat with five amazing women for dessert and conversation around my dining room table a few nights ago, I smiled when someone mentioned the popular new Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
“I don’t get it…what’s the big deal about her? It’s all just common sense,” said our super-organized, almost-minimalist friend. Some of those in our friend-group that night had never heard of Marie or Tidying Up. The rest of us who had, declared, “But she’s adorable!!” and gushed about the things we’d found helpful in her Kondo method of decluttering and organizing. “And she’s just adorable!” we insisted again.
Later, I thought about the friends who sat around my table and valiantly pretended the flourless chocolate cake I’d labored over wasn’t the consistency of dried, crumbled play-dough. (Why, oh why, did I attempt a new recipe for company?! On the other hand, the homemade marionberry pie I’ve made zillions of times was pretty yummy. Slight culinary redemption.)
They are all amazing women who invest heavily in others. They intentionally open their lives, hearts, and homes freely. Hospitality seems to ooze from their pores. Among them, they host hurting souls and festive gatherings, lead neighborhood block parties and church services, work with leadership teams and serve orphans. (I’m not even kidding.)
Then there’s me. (Certain family members may or may not have used the words neat freak to describe me.) When it comes to hospitality, I’m overly fussy. I tidy up. I make huge lists detailing all that needs to be done, what I want to serve, the atmosphere I want to create and…sigh.
• • • To be honest, sometimes I’ve TIDIED UP so much that I’ve missed TURNING UP for opportunities to create connection with others, especially in my home. • • •
But I’m learning from life’s UN-tidy experiences. It was one of those busy-with-deadlines looming days. So when caller ID revealed one of my dearest friends (who lives hours away) was dialing, I almost didn’t answer. “My sister and I are headed home after visiting family. We’ll be driving by your exit in a few minutes and wondered if we can come by for a quick chat. Does that work for you?”
YIKES. I was still in sweats, no makeup, and hadn’t done anything with my should’ve-been-washed-yesterday hair. My house needed a good dusting and vacuuming, and those hardwood floors were begging to be mopped. To top it off, we were having plumbing issues with the downstairs guest bathroom that had–ummm…backed up.
All my NOOO–YOU HAVEN’T TIDIED UP alarm bells went off. But I thought about how much I love this precious friend so the words “Sure, come on over!” rushed out before I could stop them.
I pulled some of my famous ginger cookies out of the freezer and popped them in the microwave while I fired up the Keurig and put the kettle on. The three of us settled around my little kitchen pub table and were soon talking honestly about our lives—the painful ‘mom-struggles’ we were dealing with, and how God was helping us through. We laughed, we commiserated, we prayed. We nibbled our cookies, wiped away tears, and blew our noses on the crumpled paper napkins. All too soon I hugged them good-bye at the door with a heart lighter than the one I’d carried around earlier that day.
Then it hit me. I don’t think either of those kind friends even glanced at my dusty furniture or un-mopped floors. I had opened up my un-tidy home and we had exposed our un-tidied up lives to each other—for the win. It was exactly as it needed to be, with nary a dust-cloth or feather duster in sight.
Okay, fellow Kondo fans, don’t worry. There’s still time to learn all the fancy folds and tackle that cluttered closet. But maybe someone needs a friend now, BEFORE all the tidying up happens. So put the coffee on and open the door. And let me know if you need my recipe for flourless chocolate crumble cake (the playdough-ish version).
By the way, I’m glad Jesus “likes mess” too. (Whew.) For me, that sparks joy.
I’d love to hear from you!
What helps you open your heart and home to others, even when you haven’t tidied up? What’s your best hospitality tip?
Have you tried the KonMari method of decluttering—what do you think? What’s your favorite resource for organizing and decluttering?
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