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A few weeks ago, I read this book, The Life-Changing Make of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I’m not usually one to read books about cleaning/self-help/domesticity. My generally style of living is barely controlled chaos with loads of piles. Piles of clothes. Piles of books. Piles of dishes. I let things stack up until they tip over or I have to move them in order to get to something I want. I live alone, so the only one who has to deal with the mess is me, and I’ve been mostly fine with that.

My decision to go to Paris, however, had started to change the way I looked at things. I don’t actually like living with the clutter. I hate it. I’ve just never thought I could do much to change it. Enter this book, which I happened upon while reading a blog post on Psychology Today. As a book lover, I thought, “why not?” and picked it up on my Nook.

Let’s just say, since reading it, I’ve realized that I don’t just pile stuff. I pile emotions, problems, things I ought to do, etc., as well. One of the things I adored about this book is that it’s not just a revamping of your living space, but about revamping how you view the things filling your life. And best of all, it’s only has two simple rules: Number one, only keep the things that bring you joy. Number two, put everything in its place.

This is far easier said than done, of course, but the sentiment behind it was pretty much exactly what I needed to hear, a sort of spark to keep me going. It got me thinking not only about my literal clutter, but about the other clutter in my life.

What brings me joy? Where does it belong? Writing is one of those things that brings me joy. So are doodling and traveling and making music and a lot of other artsy things. Things that I hadn’t been pursuing all that much in the last year.

I’m not sure yet where to put the activities that bring me joy, but this book reiterated the fact that they do need a space in life. Right now, though, first things first. I have both material and mental decluttering to do.