By Lavern Nissley
One of Ronda's goals for 2019 is to become more minimalistic. What that 5 syllable word means is that she is "on a mission" to do a lot of household item purging so that clutter is reduced and only the essentials are available to us. Scary. I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out.
Just under two months into this crusade for simplicity, I don't want to go back. It's had an amazing effect upon us!
Ronda began in our living room/dining room/kitchen great room. I remember the first time I saw the fruits of her labors. Wow! Where is everything? The formerly cluttered kitchen counter was virtually bare.
"Where is the toaster?" I asked. "In this drawer," she responded with pride.
"So every time we want toast we have to pull it out, put it on the counter, plug it in and then put it away when we're finished?" You can hear my joyful enthusiasm, can't you?
She took me on a tour of the kitchen cabinets, all of which had been purged and organized nicely. We could actually find things! Although I was beginning to appreciate her investment of time and energy, I didn't want to appear too excited. You know, stay strong and silent. My very own Marie Kondo!
We're now almost two months in, and I'm amazed at the sense of well-being we both have walking in to this space that we've kept remarkably clean and picked up. Believe it or not it has brought us closer and helped us stay uncluttered. It's a teamwork dance for us now to keep things uncluttered, to empty the dishwasher and not allow dirty dishes to pile up in the sink or counter.
Ronda came across some research that corroborates what we've already begun experiencing. In Ashley McGuire's 1/31/19 post, The Case for Decluttering as a Form of Marriage Therapy, she cited two interesting studies: "Researchers at UCLA discovered a link between a 'high density of household objects' and cortisol levels, the hormone that regulates stress, in women. And a Cornell study found that clutter-induced stress can result in unhealthy coping strategies like overeating and binging on television."
So, for now, and hopefully for the rest of our lives, we'll keep experiencing marriage magic in minimalizing. I'll admit that I was a reluctant and skeptical convert!
"Sorry, Ronda, I should have trusted you!"
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.