I realize this probably isn’t a new idea for you but it’s one worth talking about.

Marie Kondo is an internationally known expert on tidying up, with her books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy. I have read her Life-Changing book and I definitely admit that the title is true to its effect. If you follow along, ask and answer her questions, things change and things happen!

But what about those of us (myself included) who don’t want to clean the entire house in one-full swoop. What about those of us (myself included) who thinks that sometimes a messy desk is the sign of some work well done…?

Let me share a story with you, which I hope can help you shorten your learning curve on this subject (if it’s not short already). I was listening to an episode of the Deep Dive Podcast, hosted by Brett Campbell and Jeff Moore (learn more about them here) a couple of weeks ago [highly recommend this Podcast…they are real people and I learn a lot!] and they were talking about Consumption vs. Constipation – and how we can get stuck consuming a lot of information or buying a lot of “stuff” and then not using it and feeling overwhelm. I know I have been there so I was happy to hear their advice.

And while there were a lot of take-aways from that particular episode, one of them really stuck out at me. You see, I’m a veracious reader. I am known to read more than one book at time – in fact, right now I am reading Originals, Power of Broke and Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck…but I digress as that is a challenge I will address in a future Blog post…

I also have a lot of books that I have purchased on my book shelves and my Kindle. I see a book or hear about a book that’s good and I want to read it. Yet, there are only so many hours in the day and over the years I have purchased a number of books I haven’t read. And to make matters a bit more complex, there are a number of books that I have read many times because they resonate with me and I learn something new from them each time. And here is where the great advice comes in:

Clear off your bookshelves! Make piles of keep and donate and throw away. For those you are keeping, separate into two more piles: read and haven’t read yet. Those in the read pile, put them back on your book shelves. Those you haven’t read, put them in a place that is not in your direct vision (a closet is one place) and when so inclined, take a book from the pile, read it and then place it on your bookshelf.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 10.32.28 AMSuch simple advice yet brilliant! Here’s why.

When I was looking at my bookshelves, I would see some books I had read and thought about what I learned, what I remembered, etc. and felt good. Then I would see all of the books I hadn’t read yet and my mind went to negative space:

I should really read that book.

I can’t believe I haven’t read that book yet.

Ughhh, I should have read that book a long time ago.

You get the picture.

The brilliant piece – once I took the unread books off my bookshelf and only saw the ones I had read, I felt good, like I had accomplished something. And I actually had because I had read the books! And I was more likely to pick up one of the other books to read to add to my collection.

Now, you may not have as many books as I do, but chances are you have piles on your desk, a gazillion pictures from family holidays you have been meaning to put in albums, recipe books you want to cook from, workouts you have been meaning to do, etc. No matter what “it” is, you most likely have something.

Clean up your piles, put your pictures away or organize them – but they key is to do “something” with them. Don’t let them just sit there anymore, taking up physical space and your own mental space (the time you spend thinking about them).

Trust me, I learned the hard way because last week some un-read books found their way on my bookshelf – and those negative thoughts came rushing back. It took me a couple of days to realize what was happening but I put them in my reading pile and I felt much better.

As I have said before, be kinder and gentler to yourself – and help you help yourself but putting things in their place!