The Life Changing Magic of Letting Go

Anyone who knows me knows I love to binge TV shows. There aren’t many shows I haven’t watched. (But if you have any good recs, let me know!!)

This week, the new Marie Kondo series on Netflix, “Tidying Up” has been all over a big topic of converstaion. So, today, I started to watch it. I put it on with the kids in the living room, thinking I could subconsciously share some tidying up knowledge with them and jokes on me because Oh hi, Netflix, those new little previews of shows on your home screen are cute and all, until you have one mentioning masturbating with my super inquisitive 5 year old in the room.

Anyways, I have incorporated a few aspects of The KonMari Method in the years since her book came out. Her method for folding clothes is a huge time saver in our morning madness of getting everyone ready and out of the house on time! And there are a lot of other parts that I love. It sounds funny to take each item and question whether it sparks joy in your life, but it actually does work.

The part that concerns me is whether things are sparking joy (or not) for the right reasons.

My grandmother made a comment the other day after I turned down her offer to take her old Crystal and China. She mentioned how “back in the day” everyone wanted so much stuff and now we want as little stuff as possible.

She’s right! So much stuff! It was a sign of wealth when someone had a lot of stuff, and the right stuff. Stuff was displayed. They literally bought stuff just to display their stuff. They bought bigger houses to fit all of their stuff. Now, its the total opposite. How minimalistic can you be? Can you keep an all white kitchen with nothing on the countertops? (BTW, what is the point of having big kitchens with lots of countertops if we aim to keep literally nothing on them?) How creatively can you hide your children’s toys in baskets and shelves? Why are we hiding our kids toys?? Why this change??

I was watching the show and in the first few minutes of the first episode, they brought the camera into the family’s kitchen. The mom was so embarrassed that she had dishes in her sink. Dishes. In her sink. Imagine that? This was a mom who works part time, has two babies under four - one still nursing which takes up a lot of a mother’s time - and a husband who works 50-60 hours a week. This mom felt bad, GUILTY, for having dishes in her sink. The husband gets mad that she pays to have their laundry done. Hello? Thats genius. She is choosing to spend time with her babies rather than do the laundry. If you can afford to outsource ANYTHING, do it!

So, why? Why do we feel this way? Why do we feel the need to keep a spotless sink and not ever be behind on laundry?

I say this a lot and I feel its true here, too. I think social media is a whole new, worse version of “Keeping up with the Joneses.” We take 100 photos a day in our homes. We post them to social media. Imagine these photos shows piles of paperwork in the background? Imagine there were piles of laundry to be folded on the couch? Imagine we had a countertop full of stuff? Imagine our kids toys were spread all around? All of a sudden there is this pressure to make sure we look like spotless, robotic, humans with children who always follow the “one toy in, one toy out” rule. It used to be that it didn’t matter what your house looked like until you host a holiday and go on a cleaning spree, ceilings to baseboards. Maybe its the documentary photographer in me searching for more real life and less fake social media life. Its so much pressure to keep things tidy on a daily basis that we are now getting rid of stuff we love. Even sentimental stuff. If your kids aren’t reading some of their books? Get rid of them. Not playing with a toy? Donate it. Your box of your old preschool drawings not sparking joy? Trash it.

I get it. Stuff can bring anxiety for some. If that is the case for you, of course do whatever you want to do with your stuff to help you feel healthy! I know that having less clothes means having to do less laundry and having more time to play with your kids. I am all for the changes that bring simplicity and allow more time in our lives. I am all for the things that bring health and happiness. I just hope everyone is donating half of their stuff this week for the own reasons and not because they feel like they need a perfect, clean, minimalistic home to display on social media.

In a world where the biggest goal is to have a perfect feed, or the most cohesive Instagram page, try letting go of the pressure, collect moments over things, and enjoy your babies.


south shore documentary photographer