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My May Day Challenge

By Jennie LaFortune

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You know you’ve made it big when people turn your name into a verb. As in, “I’ve been Marie Kondoedor, “I see you’re going all Kondo in your house”. Like many of you, I jumped on the Marie Kondo bandwagon and read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to see what all the fuss was about.  My wannabe minimalist Zen self hoped to find motivation to whip the materialistic and cluttered part of me into shape.

I listened to the book as I drove to work, put away laundry, and while starring at my small closet gorging at the seems. But somewhere along the way I checked out. Probably between the talk about giving books away and how to fold socks. I know I have a problem – I have old clothes galore and random piles of shoes I can’t part with. I’m not to hoarder status, but it bothers me and gives me guilt at the threads of materialism running through my life. When I’m stressed or worried or feeling not enough I’m pulled to the sweet intoxicating lure of TJ Maxx, Target, and Nordstrom. So much for being Kondoed I thought.

I can appreciate Kondo’s concept, and boy do I admire those who don’t have attachment to crap and the highs of shopping, but I knew I had to take it down to a more realistic level than what Kondo suggested. I needed a larger why- a bit more personal introspection as to how to apply some of these concepts realistically. As I sat on my bed eyeing the mix of books and sweatshirts, I grabbed my phone and watched Brooke White, blogger and social media maven, take me on a Snapchat tour (yes, Snapchat can be used for more than teens snapping questionable pics of themselves) of her closets and piles of clothes and have a heart to heart ala social media about buying things she doesn’t need. I wanted to reach into the phone and say, me too! I especially liked how she likened the discipline she sought to fasting in our church. Something clicked. She mused on how we fast not to just resist for the sake of it, or to be extreme, but to find clarity and peace. To meditate and be still with a desire that the temporary elimination of x,y,z brings new insights. As Brooke took viewers around her house, she told us her spending fast plan. With her permission, I’m sharing her action strategy for the month:

  1. Get in touch with what you have
  2. Take inventory
  3. Shop the closet (use / reinvent what you have)
  4. Stay outta the bar (mall/target/social media)
  5. Be accountable to someone / commit
  6. Groceries and necessities only
  7. Be honest
  8. When feeling bored / sad / discouraged work it out and have a backup plan
  9. FOCUS ON GRATITUDE
  10. *my addition: Journal / write about the frustrations and insights along the way

I’m taking the spending fast challenge using her 9 rules, but these could easily extend to other applications. What in your life could use a little fast-perspective to reconnect you with your values? Will you join us?

About Jennie LaFortune

(Prose Board) is from Salt Lake. Figuring life out one book, beach, road trip, museum, and front porch conversation at a time. Perpetually on the search for the best dark chocolate, finest pen, and greenest field. When she's not teaching high school, she loves to spend time with friends and family, the shore of any ocean, holding her friends' babies, or taking long neighborhood walks.

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