Konmari all the things.
In the past two days I have gone through sweaters, shirts, pants, skirts, scarves, socks, bracelets, shorts, necklaces, rings, bags, books, notebooks, binders, magazines, and pictures.
We made one massive trip to Goodwill with another planned. I recycled three paper grocery bags full of papers. I condensed over three boxes of photographs into one. I freed up my half of the guest room dresser, half of my daughter’s closet and two under-the-bed storage bins from clothes. I took two banker boxes and one under-the-bed bin’s worth of memorabilia down to a 14x11x6.5″ box.
I don’t feel incredibly changed at this point. I thought I would. I don’t feel less frantic or more put together. I don’t feel tidy. I do feel disbelief over how much space we devote to things that have outlived their purpose. And even after focusing on those items that give me joy, I feel disbelief over how much stuff we have in general. I feel guilt over items I purchased to purchased. And a bit of shame over having gotten rid of so much stuff and not really noticing a difference.
Fred told me yesterday that everything looked the same after two days of reducing. I don’t think it was meant to be a judgement but I walked him around the house to point out all of the nooks and crannies that were once full and are now free. Boxes. Bins. Baskets. Shelves. Drawers. Closets.
Clothes from high school. Binders from college. Jewelry from weddings. Blurry pictures. Things from Target. Past joys turned into burdens. Irrational fears of letting go and devaluing a relationship.
Now you’ve heard my idea of a future tidy life but Kondo doesn’t stop there. “Why?” she asks.
Why? Why? Why? Why? 3-5 times she asks for each desire.
Why do I have clothes out the night before?
- To take a decision out of my morning.
- To get ready earlier.
- To be on time.
- To start the day with less stress.
- To be peaceful.
Why do I read a devotion?
- To be in the Word.
- To center my heart.
- To be open to God’s plan.
- To be obedient.
Why have lunches prepped for the week?
- To control content.
- To be healthier.
- To have more energy.
- To be an active mother and wife.
- To have a happy family.
Why? To be happy.
Kondo believes that the core of our desire to be tidy comes from our desire to be happy. Let it sink in.
The outcome of this project is happiness rather than tidiness.
This Christmas, I asked for Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
If you’ve read any articles on Kondo’s method of tidying you may feel that she’s slightly batty. Or entirely batty. But you may also feel that she is onto something worth learning.
Kondo begins her book by exposing the lack of training we receive in tidying at a young age. We’re told to clean our rooms, certainly, but not instructed how to eliminate unnecessary items or evaluate our things. After that, she begins to flesh out her method of letting go first and then putting away. Tidying is to occur by category rather than room. And it must happen all at once rather than over an extended period of time.
It’s not that my house is terribly messy. It’s average. Maybe in some areas better and in others (paperwork) worse. But I do find myself researching storage option after storage option, seeking out the next organizing trick that will leave me feeling ahead in my day. Put together. In control.
Before starting the act of purging and placing, Kondo challenges her readers to visualize what they want out of the project. What does the tidy future life look like?
So here it is, the beginning of my journey to tidy:
I wake up to a quiet, clean house. My clothes are set out from the night before as are Miss Emma’s. On some mornings, I wake before the family and go the gym but today, the coffee maker is set to autostart and I wait for it to finish before getting out of bed to grab a cup of coffee. I read a short devotion before getting in the shower. Lunches have been packed for the week and Emma enjoys an unrushed breakfast before we head off to work and play.