If you aren’t one of the three million people who bought this book, or one of the 17 million people I’ve talked to about it, then you might not have thought about a possible link between being an Au Pair Host Parent and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
If you are one of those folks who’s gone past all the jokes about how to fold your tired socks so they get some rest and discovered the deep insights of Marie Kondo’s approach to life, well then WELCOME to this post.
I want to know how The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is changing your approach to being a host parent.
Over at my house, I’m in month 7 of a transformation sparked by The Life Changing Magic.
My journey started when my neighbor Jody gave me The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up as a Christmas gift. She’d heard me say “Thank you for all your hard work and loveliness” to some faded cut flowers I was putting into the kitchen trash bin, and she thought I’d read about doing this in The Life-Changing Magic.
(Marie Kondo tells readers to say thank you to things they are discarding as a way to release guilt, engender gratitude, and send positive energy out into the world. Which is exactly why I do this with faded flowers, spoiled plums, and any carbon-based thing that’s past its due date. )
When Jody realized that I hadn’t read the book and that I do this kooky thing with flowers all on my own accord, she knew I’d find a guiding spirit in Marie Kondo. First with clothes, then books, then gardening tools, I’ve been enjoying the process of sorting through to find what sparks joy for me.
I’ve been delighted and oddly relieved by the lightness that remains after letting go of so many things that no longer or never will work for me. I’ve rediscovered clothes and jewelry that are helping me ‘dress for the day I want to have‘.
I’m using my favorite stickers and post-its now instead of waiting for some perfect event that needs one of my fancy folders. I’m not buying (as many) things I don’t really need.
I can see the top of my desk. Our garage has been relieved of old paint cans, flower bulbs from Costco that I never planted, and riding gear I’ll never fit my butt back into. Friends visiting my house have been treated to a tour of our basement storage room, where I’ve pointed out the empty spaces on the shelves in between the emergency lantern and the extra vacuum cleaner bags. There’s even a rug on the storage room floor. Why not? It’s really clean in there!
I’m tidying my way into a freaking miracle.
And I’m not alone.
I ran into Host Mom DMP in the “Kon Mari Adventures” Facebook group. (Yes, I actually joined the Facebook group. …. I know… ). Host Mom DMP is having the same kind of fun on her own KMing adventure. She and I have been wondering —
How we might apply the wisdom of The Life Changing Magic to our Au Pair Host Mom experience?
We suspect that some of the parents, au pairs, and agency folk on AuPairMom might also be KMing their homes, since they are always looking for ways to do better, be better, and make a positive difference in their family lives.
Where to begin
Marie Kondo asks you to take an item in your hands, look at it closely and ask “Does this spark joy?”
If it does, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you set it free.
(Just like that Jonathan Livingston Seagull poster your older sister left in her room when she went to college.)
I’m not suggesting that you should set your Au Pair free if s/he’s bugging you right now– but I would like to know:
As you consider different parts of the experience of being a Host Parent, what — for you — sparks joy?