Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Marie Kondo is a genius. First she writes a tiny book that inspires people to toss out their stuff, then she premiers a Netflix show based on her purging/tidying technique in January when everyone is thinking about a fresh start. Now people across the country are not only giving away their stuff but folding everything else into thirds.
I got half way through Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up last summer. As soon as I realized that I wasn’t actually going to pile every single piece of clothing I own on to my bed, I put it down. Then I spent January watching her show, Tidying Up, on Netflix and now I want to put her into my pocket and take her around with me. I still haven’t piled every last sock, underwear, and dress on to my bed to see what sparks joy and what doesn’t but Harry cleaned out his PJ drawer and pants drawer and folded (a-hem, I folded) everything so that they can be seen at a glance.
Coincidentally, I was reading Uncluttered: Free Your Space, Free Your Schedule, Free Your Soul by Courtney Ellis around the same time as watching Tidying Up. It was a match made in heaven.
Marie Kondo inspires you to look at your possessions and really evaluate what is worthy of your life journey; Courtney Ellis moves deeper to look at not only your possessions but your schedule, technology, kid’s activities, finances and finally your soul to see what clutter can be cleared away.
If uncluttering is something that speaks to you, this book might be for you. It is available for pre-order now and will be released on February 1. Reserve your copy of Uncluttered today. Then pass it along to a friend so it doesn’t clutter up your bookshelf.
Each section is a glimpse into Courtney’s year-long journey to try to unclutter her life. Starting with stuff she encourages the reader to trust God rather than our stuff. Stuff is temporary, stuff can be lost, stuff can be burned down or flooded. Stuff is just stuff and “God isn’t a God of stuff”. God is a God of us. God is interested in our hearts, not our possessions.
I have to admit, there were some times that I felt a little squirmy when Courtney described her paired down closet. I was uncomfortable with how she found freedom in monotone outfits and not having to think about what went with what because there really wasn’t that much to choose from.
I love clothes. Looking great makes me feel great. And as Anne Shirley-Cuthbert says, It’s so much easier to be good when your clothes are fashionable. But you don’t have to have an enormous closet to be fashionable. Slowly I’m taking the advice of both Courtney and Marie and not putting so much value on the clothes in my closet and keeping the things that spark joy and make me feel good when I wear them.
“In him and through him and because of him; we are enough. In him and through him and because of him: we have enough.” – Courtney Ellis, Uncluttered
For something that is supposed to make our lives so convenient, technology seems to add so much stress. I wonder what doctors and scientists will discover in fifty years about the way technology has effected human brain development, relationship development, emotional development. Something tells me it’s not going to be awesome. (Said as I write and deliver on a piece of technology I can’t live with out and these very words are being consumed on a big or little screen that I love to hate)
Whether we like it or not, technology is here and is only going to advance. The question is will we control it or will it control us. The answer lies in our own will power and ability to look up.
“The trouble with our buzzing wrists, dinging pockets, and vibrating purses is that each of these bells and whistles pushes us to respond in uncritical, unthinking, automatic ways.” – Courtney Ellis, Uncluttered
I’m as guilty as the next gal about checking my phone too often. I struggle with limiting my social media intake. I fight the daily battle of how much screen time is too much for my kids. One thing is for sure, technology and screens can’t replace human hearts and relationships.
I admit that I am busy. I have no one else to blame. But I like being busy. I like doing things that make me useful to others and giving back to my community and school. I admit that I struggle not to judge those who drop all commitments and say “no” to everything. What would happen to our little towns and big cities, to our relationships and those in need if everyone said Nope, can’t do it. Sorry, I don’t have time for you. Sounds like a good cause but I’m in the year of NO.
Here is where the balance of too much and just enough comes in. When the schedule becomes our god, then things have gone awry. When the schedule leaves no room for our soul to be still and listen for God, then our priorities are no longer a priority but rather a ruthless master.
“No must flow from a larger, central yes. Yes to Jesus. God first. All the uncluttering in the world will ultimately be unfulfilling without this clear yes.” – Courtney Ellis, Uncluttered
I have to admit this is the one section where I couldn’t totally relate. Her children are little bitty while mine are nine and fourteen. Her method of rules and restrictions seemed a little too sweet and precious to me. For mamas in that stage of life, yes, her advice is right on. Nip technology and screen time in the bud now. But don’t kid yourself. As much as you try to ban it, it will find your child. Unless you are willing to Grizzly Adams it in the wilderness with your family and not see another living soul for the rest of your or their days, then prepare yourself for the influence screens will have on your kids.
It’s coming for you and hell is coming with it.
That may sound really dire and apocalyptic but I’m just being realistic here. All kids will push away from their parents and want independence. It’s completely natural. When I was a teenager my escape was spending more time at friends houses than my own and sneaking MTV. Now the screen and a headset connected to their friends screens will be there to catch your child when they make the leap.
Often times, raising kids feels like a crap-shoot. Despite all of the books and advice heaped on parents, I feel like the best we can do is give them a foundation of love and structure, teach them that God loves them, point their moral compass in the right direction and then hope for the best.
Specifically, Sabbath. Our culture has become so obsessed with productivity that the concept of everyone slowing down for one day is gone.
The idea of taking an entire day to turn off the phone, the computer, the emails is like a unicorn. It seems like a wonderful fantasy but not something that is actually real. But finding quality time to rest our minds and busy schedules is imperative to our spiritual and emotional health. I don’t have the magic formula of how to juggle the soccer schedule and dance practice and homework and date night and girls night and work and piano lessons and doctor appointments and the three-hundred other things we do in a week. But I do know that we must take care of ourselves, slow down in order to hear God moving in our lives in order to know what is truly important.
“How many of our meltdowns might be prevented by accepting God’s gift of regular, repeated, weekly rest?” – Courtney Ellis, Uncluttered
There is more covered in the book than I have listed here, but hopefully you get an idea of what Courtney is trying to convey: We need to unclutter our lives in order to make room for the things that are really important. What area of your life needs a deep clean and good uncluttering?