Tag Archive | life-changing magic of tidying up

The Quest to Tidy (Week Four): The Importance of Things

Week 4 of this project fell on the weekend of my 5th wedding anniversary. I decided not to tackle anything resembling cleaning or organizing.

Instead, I’d like to talk about perhaps the biggest point of this project.

tidyingWhen I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo, I was hoping to find a few tips and tricks I could apply to having a more organized household. Anything to give me a shove and a bit of motivation.

But aside from a well-thought-out plan for creating organization in one’s home, this book taught me to truly evaluate whether or not an item gives me joy. That is one of Marie’s key points. If it doesn’t make you happy… why do you have it?

This has helped me evaluate the things in my closet and in my kitchen. It has helped me clean out makeup I don’t like and personal toiletries I didn’t ever use. I expect this change in thinking will help me as I continue to tackle the remainder of my house.

But I feel like something else needs saying.

Sometimes the things you love have absolutely no practical use… and that’s okay.

This whole project is about finding happiness within your home, and learning how to align the physical aspects of its contents with an atmosphere that creates joy in your heart.

So for fun, I took a few pictures of things in my house that I love that have positively no ‘use’ to them, but I treasure them and keep them anyway. Continue reading

The Quest to Tidy (Week Three): Hitting a Low

(Oops! This was meant to go up two days ago! Silly me for not scheduling….)

Well, I knew that was inevitable.

This week I hit that horrible, ugly stage known as “Overwhelmed”.

I glimpsed at it the first week when I went through the entirety of my clothes in a single day. There was simply so much to sort. And handling each item carefully, individually, made that feeling both better and worse.

Last week was the kitchen (or most of it) and I did too much at one time. I wore myself out and typical to being me, I kept pushing past that worn feeling when I should have stopped at first warning sign.

This weekend all I can think about is how much I need to rest and how much there is in the house I haven’t even glimpsed at. How long is this insane project going to take me? I had no illusions I’d have it done in just a couple of weeks, but I’m hitting the dark place where it seems like too much to accomplish.

tidyingOne of the things that stuck with me in reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” was the sense of not giving up. You may not be able to tackle the project with consistent intensity, but you can not give up. I just imagine Marie standing in my house telling me “Ganbatte!” You can do it. Continue reading

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… Continue reading

The Quest to Tidy (Week One): Diving Into the Mountain

The KonMari method has a lot to say about cleaning house, but there are two things that struck me the most when reading:

1) Stop tidying room to room. It’s endless. Tidy by category.

2) If it doesn’t spark joy, throw it out.
— I would add in that those things which are absolutely necessary and frequently used that do not spark joy are allowable, because I feel confident that is what Marie meant anyway. My toothbrush does not particularly spark joy, but it does give me nice clean teeth, which… kind of… does… so I suppose at least the result sparks joy? Now that I think about it, all of my ‘necessaries’ that don’t spark joy DO something that DOES. So. Well. Darn. Spark joy. Period.

tidyingIn “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, Marie Kondo talks a lot about joy (and all the ways we clean in which joy is never even considered). This completely changed the way I looked at tidying my house. I will talk about this more throughout these posts.

The KonMari method also gives specific categories to tidy, and the order in which to do them. There are a few times I haven’t (and probably won’t, seeing as how I’m still in the middle of this project) follow this… but I will give my personal reasons for doing so when we hit those points.

I’ll be honest. After I read this book, I was surprisingly jazzed up to clean house. I figured it would encourage me a little. I had no idea how much. So I spent the better part of a week waiting for the weekend so I could tackle step one. (I don’t have as much time in the evenings, so my ‘weeks’ in this project are, for the most part, weekends.)

So why is week one titled “Diving Into the Mountain”? Continue reading

The Quest to Tidy: Introduction

The most difficult thing about writing for me is time. It isn’t so much about finding time at this stage in life (no kiddos around the house yet), it’s about allowing myself time.

You see, I have this horrid little voice in my brain that tells me every day I should absolutely, positively NOT take any time for my hobbies and creative pursuits when there is work to be done. This is a problem. There is always work to be done.

I am not a terribly messy person when it comes to the type of “Ew, gross, I don’t want to be barefoot or eat in your house” type of messes, but I am a very cluttered person. I have held onto things for memory’s sake, for “maybe I’ll someday use this” sake, for “but it was a gift” sake, for “it’s a waste to throw that out” sake… and because of that my house – which has ample enough room for two people by far – feels like a disaster to me.

Disclaimer: I’m nowhere near hoarding levels, but it’s driving ME crazy, and isn’t that bad enough?

I admit our third bedroom is the “I don’t know what to do with this” room. I want to have the room back, especially since next year we plan on several interior house fixer-upper projects. Difficult to do with mess around.

My mind does not want to allow me anything that causes joy when things are not in their place. I have gotten better about this in stages, but the truth of the matter is it still hangs over my head like a Catholic school nun with a ruler.

Solution: Don’t worry about not writing or not doing other creative things for a time and focus, once and for all, on putting my house together just once. Continue reading