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What Happened When I Tried to Use the 'Tidying Up' Method as a Medical Mama

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It seems like a lot of people have been tuning in to Marie Kondo’s “Tidying Up” on Netflix. I recently watched it too.

As a medical mama, I have a lot of stuff in my home. What was once nice, clean and organized now has stuff everywhere. My kitchen, living room, office, closets, storage spaces, porch and cars all have medical supplies and equipment inside of them.

The premise of Kondo’s tidying up method calls people to find things that “spark joy” in their life. Kondo urges people to hold and appreciate those items that bring joy, and she advises people to thank and discard any items that do not spark joy in their life.

Marie Kondo holding two boxes

So I looked around and had a lot of feelings. Sadness, fear, anxiety — but not one drop of joy. Instead I remember each new diagnosis and the equipment that came with it. When my son came home on oxygen, and the heartbreak of not seeing his cheeks free of tape. The 21 medications and each conversation with the doctors prior to prescribing them. The boxes and boxes of feeding tube supplies and the sorrow of not being able to nurse my son.

I thought:

“What if I followed this tidying up method? Would we have anything left? How would my son stay alive?”

Then I realized while each item didn’t necessarily spark joy, their purpose did. Each of these medical items in my home help him stay alive. The oxygen concentrator that hums all day long provides my son with the oxygen he needs. It gives him the ability to run, play and laugh; that brings me joy.

The boxes of feeding tube formula provide my son with nutrients to help his body heal and grow. The endless syringes help us administer our son his life-sustaining medications. It brings me joy each time my son is able to receive the relief the medications give.

While the tidying up method may not necessarily work in my home because of the medical items my son needs, I can still use the method on my attitude. So I have decided to focus on the joy these items provide, instead of on the sorrow I feel for why they are needed.

Photo credit: Facebook/Tidying Up With Marie Kondo-Netflix

Originally published: February 9, 2019
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