Tag Archive | Marie Kondo

The Quest to Tidy: Stationery, Round 2

The first things I am tidying as I once again pick up the KonMari process are the things I have already tidied. The things whose categories are already in pretty good shape, but need some re-tidying to make sure they stay that way. Clothes came first. Next up? Stationery.

I’ve talked about postcrossing and letter writing a little on this blog. I’ll be talking about it much more in the future. But for the purpose of this post… let’s just say I have a lot of stationery. I prefer letter sets over note cards, but I have both, in addition to stacks of loose envelopes, extra holiday/birthday cards, and even some old personalized post-it sized sheets.

In fact, perhaps a picture will demonstrate better.

stationery letter sets

See? Lots and lots of stationery. I’m always looking for more, but perhaps I shouldn’t look so hard for at least a little while. Continue reading

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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.

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!

Putting My ‘Tidying’ Hat Back On

Has it really been 10 months since I went on a tidying hiatus and 8 months since I had a small post about the whole process? My goodness! Time to dust off the tidying hat and get back on the train.

A little over a year ago I read Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. It completely changed how I look at tidying and keeping house. I have not, however, ‘completed’ her course in getting my own house in order. After making great progress last year, I hit burn out in addition to simply too many other things going on in my life that demanded attention. (That’s only partially an excuse. It’s also at least somewhat true.) You can click on the “Quest to Tidy” link to the right, listed under “Recurring Segments,” if you want to catch up on all of the posts written so far.

woman with hat reading a book

How I imagine I’ll spend time when my life is tidied up…

To get myself back in the mindset for this summer project (and probably fall and winter too…) I have been rereading Marie Kondo’s first book as well as starting in on her second: “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up”.

“So, let me ask you point-blank: Are you committed to completing the once-in-a-lifetime special event of tidying up?”
– Marie Kondo, “Spark Joy”

Probably not quite as committed as she’d like me to be were I one of her clients, and I already know from reading her first book that there are a few things she does I simply will not do (such as pare my book collection down to a single shelf or two of favorites), but I saw the progress I made last year and I know that if I’m a little bit hard on myself and don’t completely give up, I can certainly make a lot more.

Expect many more posts to come (including a spin-off mini-series on organizing your digital life, something Marie Kondo also inspired me to do), but for now I’ll leave you with this very important quote from the brilliant lady herself. It’s good to think on before you roll up your sleeves and take on the seemingly-giant task of tidying.

“The responsibility for mess and clutter lies 100 percent with the individual. Things do not multiply of their own accord, but only if you buy them or receive them from someone else. Clutter accumulates when you fail to return objects to their designated place. If a room becomes cluttered “before you know it,” it is entirely your own doing. In other words, tidying up means confronting yourself. 

In contrast, dirt does accumulate of its own accord. It is a law of nature that dust and dirt pile up. Therefore, cleaning means confronting nature.”
– Marie Kondo, “Spark Joy”

 

*Image taken from Pixabay, creative commons license, user Pezibear

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