Archive | September 2016

The Quest to Tidy: Clothes Closet, Part 2

Clothes are the very first thing Ms. Kondo suggests one tackles in her KonMari method of tidying house. When I first started applying KonMari to my own household last summer, I started with clothes. And my goodness did we get rid of clothes… (You can read that post here.)

When I picked up the process of KonMari once again this summer, I began with clothes. My husband’s wardrobe hasn’t changed too drastically, so I left his alone, but mine had seen at least one more big thrift store sale as well as new purchases this spring before going on international vacation. It needed going through.

clothes on bedI will admit that this is all I bagged up to donate. Just 25 items. But it was so much easier going through my closet this time around. Not to mention I was also pulling from an already heavily reduced inventory. I couldn’t really expect to pull 100 or more items. There are a few pieces I almost pulled for the donation pile this time, but I’m not quite ready to let go and if I still don’t touch them for another six months it won’t be so difficult.

Doing this a second time I was able to more easily tell my feelings about the clothes I had. The skirts that were a little too short, the shirts that didn’t quite stretch long enough, the dresses that were worn less now that I had others I liked better to wear… all were so much easier to thank for once being mine and let go.

Yes, I do still thank things out loud, both when I keep them and when I let them go, as I go through the KonMari process. For some, this part of the method is more metaphorical. They use it to simply be conscious of their decisions and the reasoning behind them. For me I take it a bit more literally. It works for me. I talk to the objects in my house frequently, so why would I not talk to them when figuring out whether or not they will remain a part of my household?

I would like to be able to keep up the process of going through my clothes about once a year. It would keep my closet from getting out of hand, and also keep me aware of whether or not the things I’m keeping are actually being used. Not to mention, it just feels good to open your closet and see only things you love to wear.

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The Quest to Tidy: Having a Plan, Sort of

“No matter how messy your house may be, tidying deals with physical objects. No matter how much stuff you may own, the amount is always finite. If you can identify the things that bring you joy and decide where to keep them, the job of tidying must inevitably come to an end. The more you do it, the closer you get to a house full of joy. Therefore, nothing could be more wasteful than to give up in the middle.”
– Marie Kondo, “Spark Joy”

The KonMari method is very particular on the order in which you are supposed to go through your house as you tidy up. Me? I am not so particular. Honestly, if I can manage to use the KonMari method to break up the giant task of tidying, I’m calling it a win.

And yet KonMari has definitely taught me a few of things that I am employing as I tackle this project at my personal, slow pace.

  1. Thank everything. Be grateful. This is one of the things that is a bit too ‘silly’ for some, but I thank every item (often out loud) as I tidy ever since reading her first book. Sometimes it’s a thank you because the item is so wonderful I can’t part with it. Sometimes it is a thank you because the item taught me something about myself/my habits/my style and I am ready to move on from it. Sometimes it is a thank you even though I have no desire to hold onto the item because perhaps it was a gift or something else similar.
  2. Don’t tidy by room! (My personal exception being when you have company coming and you are doing a quick once-over.) If you’re going to tidy clothes, put them all in one spot before you start. If you are going to tidy jewelry, put it all in one spot before you start. Same with dishes, toiletries, books, instruction manuals… anything! Do all of one category at one time. It really does help put perspective on what you have and what you can let go.
  3. Tidying really is slowly changing my mindset. It isn’t just ‘throwing stuff out’. It’s creating, one tiny step at a time, a personal space where I feel happy and content. A space where I don’t have things that make me feel burdened or responsible. The more I clear away, the more clearly I can see for myself what is more important. Just because I have memories tied to nearly everything does not mean I need to keep everything. I’m still “over keeping”, I’m sure, but I’m evaluating my reasons for doing so more and more.

KonMari doesn’t work for me in the same way it does for the people in her books, but that’s okay. That doesn’t make me a failure nor does it make her process a failure. And one day, if I don’t give up, this finite project will have an end. Now, on toward tidying!

For the Love of Writing Letters

Most people like receiving mail. Not bills or credit card offers or sale ads, but the kind of mail that means something. Birthday cards. Christmas cards. Just thinking of you cards. A brief note saying hello. An announcement of good news. The old-fashioned sort of letter catching a friend up on one’s life.

Most people like receiving that sort of mail, but most people don’t seem to want to take the time to write it, and that’s the problem. It’s not that we want less snail mail in our lives, it’s that no one believes they have the time to send it.

Colorful Mailboxes - from Morguefile (cropped)

This last month I’ve been on a bit of a mailing binge. I’ve sent out 15 postcards and 4 letters. It would have been more if my postcards had registered faster or I’d received more replies. I suspect September’s numbers on those fronts will grow now that it seems I may have some new pen pals as well. Continue reading