The Quest to Tidy (Week Two): On Pots and Pans and Wedding Gifts

So I broke a rule. A couple of them.

Rule #1: I’ve skipped a category. Two even!

Rule #2: I totally spent this weekend tidying by room.

tidyingIn “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”, Marie Kondo creates a very specific way in which one should tidy their home. Mostly, I agree with her.

This week, however, I broke rank. (I know, I know, it only took me two weeks to do so.)

Last week was clothes and I feel like I did a great job in tidying. Just as a reminder, I dumped 43% of my wardrobe in one day using her methods. And I have more than enough left over to keep me clothed for all occasions and extremely happy.

Next up, according to the KonMari method, is books.

If you didn’t know, I’m a writer. I am also a HUGE book lover. I collect books, I love books, and I rarely get rid of books. I have every intention of having a personal library to leave to children and grandchildren one day.

Marie discusses how to only keep a shelf or two of the books you love most. For those with small spaces, those who don’t read frequently, or those who do read but have no real interest in the book once read… this is a brilliant idea. She has some very good comments and methods on this subject.

For me… this will never work. Last year I went through my books and got rid of maybe 100 of them in a garage sale. This year I have already set aside a few more and I will do one final comb-through before our garage sale for the summer, but I don’t anticipate finding more than maybe… 20 or 30 to discard. I keep my books.

Yes there are hundreds I have not yet read. The thing is I still truly want to read them. (And now that money is a bit tight and I can’t buy books right and left, I find myself going through my shelves and tackling those books I haven’t read yet anyway.) And for the hundreds I have not read, there are a thousand, maybe two, maybe more that I have.

There is no sense in me handling every book I own until I am ready to finally truly organize and record every title and edition I own. This will take weeks at best, most likely months. No time now. Doing this will create the number one thing the KonMari method tells us to avoid: DISTRACTION.

So on to the next category…“Papers”

Skipped this too. Not because I won’t do it (my heavens do I need to), but because there are papers scattered throughout the entire house. How I am going to efficiently sort by category if they are not all together in one spot? I will gather papers in a single location as I tidy the rest of my home and return to this step when I am able to do so properly.

By now you’re probably asking, “Lissa, what did you actually do this week?”

I tackled the kitchen. Yes that means tidying by room, but for the most part everything that is in the kitchen is ONLY ever in the kitchen, so in reality I only partially broke the ‘no tidying by room’ rule. Right? We’ll go with it.

‘Kitchen goods/food supplies’ is actually part of Category Four: Komono (or miscellaneous items). Of course ‘kitchen’ is 9th on the list when reviewed in order, but it’s a rather large project and one I felt up to doing, so there we have it.

Having been married and on my own for just 5 years, I really do not have an absurd amount of kitchen clutter. Most of what I have is out of necessity. Yet I had no place in my cabinets for mixing bowls (they lived on the counter) and I could think of at least one dish that really needed to go so… time to tidy.

Cabinet by cabinet I pulled out pots, pans, and wedding gifts. Yes wedding gifts. Because everyone loves to give kitchen things for wedding gifts. Some of those gifts are well-used. Some are used infrequently, but still definitely called for on certain occasions. And others, well…. they have lived shoved in the back corners of cabinets while I have no idea what to do with them. They are nice, but I, personally, will not use them. Either I have other dishes that will serve the same function, they are difficult and time-consuming to clean, or I simply do not like them. It is time for these things to move on to someone who WILL use them. Off to the sale pile they go.

There weren’t too many dishes discarded, but I no longer feel the guilt of not using them hanging over my head, and that’s what this whole project is about. Being happy with my house and the things it contains.

I tackled tupperware and tossed in the trash all the bits and bobs that were old, missing pieces, or didn’t seal properly. No more fussing through junk to find something leftovers can be left in.

And yes…. the junk drawer too. I emptied it entirely, to the tune of some personal hazard as both boxes of thumbtacks (when did I end up with two whole boxes?) had emptied themselves at some point in the process of being shuffled around. I have a clean junk drawer now. Who could dream of that? In fact, let’s call it my Drawer of Assorted Uses. Sounds official and fancy.

bowls in kitchen cabinetWhen I was done, my mixing bowls had even found a home.

I took the time to sort through food in the cabinets as well, making sure to throw out anything expired. Having found a new home for my cookbooks by moving them to the cabinet that isn’t suited for food (unpredictable temperature as it is next to the dishwasher) and too tight for dishes, I now had another full cabinet available in which to organize food. spice cabinetNo more hunting through a pile of spices for me! I know where everything is.

But a kitchen is a huge project, and after two days of working in here I had pushed myself too hard to go on. There are still the upper cabinets to sort (which only have a few things in them), the junk utensil drawer, the tea/medicine cabinet, and the countertops to deal with. In addition, I need to go through the food hiding in the freezer.


Another success. Even if this project isn’t completely done, my kitchen is far more manageable than it was before. There may have been a limited number of things that needed to be thrown out or put in the sale pile, but the reorganization has been long overdue.


Other ‘Quest to Tidy’ posts:
– Week One: Diving Into the Mountain



2 thoughts on “The Quest to Tidy (Week Two): On Pots and Pans and Wedding Gifts

  1. I’m with you on the book category. I frequently go through my books and even get rid of some, but I’m not happy unless an entire wall in my house is made up of a full bookshelf (from floor to ceiling). I keep my books, too, and I don’t think that will ever change.

    I cleared out my kitchen a few months ago and it felt great. I cleaned out the pantry and cabinets to make room for some inherited items. It’s kind of amazing how much we accumulate without even realizing it. I had wedding gifts we’ve never used (and I got married 11 years ago). I pitched it all.

    The master bedroom closet is next. I use that closet for way too many things. This is going to be a big job!

    • You are so very right when you say, “It’s kind of amazing how much we accumulate without even realizing it.” I am constantly amazed at how much stuff I keep encountering!! Well done on all of the work you’ve accomplished so far!

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