Updated: Aug 29, 2019
If you have been breathing, walking, eating the past few years, you have probably heard of the book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and the corresponding show Tidying Up. The book was written by Marie Kondo, tidying extraordinaire, and the show follows her into the homes of some of her American clients as she teaches them how to be tidy.
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Maybe you have watched the show and thought that you should follow the methods presented there. Maybe you have the book on your shelf, having a desire to read it but never quite getting there.
I believe it was a few years ago for Christmas that my mom gave me The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It sat on a shelf, then a drawer until a few weeks ago when I was going through a drawer and spotted the book in my nightstand. I know, what a helpful place to have a tidying up book. Just buried in my messy nightstand, waiting for me to realize it was there.
I kept thinking that maybe someday I would read it. Admittedly, I am a pile person. I leave piles in my wake all around my house. They are not big piles necessarily, but they are piles of things that really should just be put away.
When I was digging through my nightstand drawer a few weeks ago and found the book, there was something that clicked and I decided to give this book a try. Maybe I would learn something, maybe I would end up being neater. I was not expecting the reaction that I had.
As I started reading, I felt like it might be helpful to watch an episode of the show to give me a better idea visually of what happens when you decide to use the KonMari method on your home. As I then proceeded to watch multiple episodes because I could not stop, I impulse decided that this needed to happen in our home.
We moved into this house a little over three years ago. It was Aaron's late grandfather's house and it came fully stocked with all of his belongings that we then had to sort through and decide what was to keep for family to go through and what needed to be thrown away.
It was a daunting task trying to decide what items should stay to be looked at and what could just be tossed. We still have multiple boxes in our basement of his belongings waiting to be gone through and they take up space in our home.
We also have a few boxes of our things that we never really unpacked because we did not want to overpack a kitchen and bathroom that we wanted to renovate. Therefore, there are boxes of kitchen items that we have not touched because we have honestly forgotten about them.
I have boxes of craft supplies that I have not been able to use because there is no craft station set up for me to put those things. Some of my craft supplies are in my daughter's closet, some are in my bedroom, and some are in the basement, making getting anything crafty done a well-planned mission. It makes doing a craft not as enjoyable because I have to make sure I have everything before I put her down for a nap. It is usually the tape that I forget.
As I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it sounded more and more like something we needed to do and it did not take very long to make that decision. We have accumulated too much stuff over the years that we just need to be rid of. To think about having a house that I can look around at without worrying about tidying up all the time would be a literal dream.
This past weekend, we got started with the first step, which is clothing. And man-oh-man! After watching the show, I thought to myself, "I know I have a lot of clothes, but there is no way I have that many clothes." Well, boy was I wrong. My bed was covered with my clothes and there was a section of the carpet covered with my coats. I was instantly overwhelmed with the amount that I was staring at, and that was after I had mailed three boxes to ThredUp a few weeks prior!
In the book, Marie states that even if you live in a climate with multiple seasons, you should have all of your clothes in your closet or dresser. Living in New England, there are four seasons and I was sure that there would be no way I could store all of my clothes in my dresser and closet! After looking at my clothes mountain, I was getting pretty anxious about the task ahead of me.
But as I started sorting through my clothes and discarding my items that did not spark joy, I noticed that my pile of clothes to be sold/donated was bigger than my pile to keep. Some of my clothes were stuffed at the bottom of storage bins that I knew there was no way I was keeping, which made it easier to discard. When I was done discarding and sorting shirts, I realized I had more than enough room in my dresser and closet for all of my tops for all seasons.
As I continued, every section of my closet felt neat and tidy with the clothes that do bring me joy. My dresser was sectioned off with plastic shoe boxes I had in my closet so that my things were separated nicely. I even have room in one of my drawers that I plan on not putting anything in! My closet has about the same amount of clothing in it as it did before, but with all of my clothes for all seasons. It felt like a huge accomplishment to be able to see every one of my clothing items, especially with them folded so neatly!
I also was able to go through my scarves and discarded many of those that no longer brought joy, as well as properly fold the ones that did and store them in a closet organizer. It felt amazing to place them in shoe boxes that fit in my closet organizer, making my closet space feel even more joyful.
After scarves, it was time to tackle shoes. I used to be a shoe girl and would buy shoes more than I really needed to. Over the years, I rarely buy shoes and honestly wear the same ones for years until they are destroyed. I have two pairs of different styled brown boots that I have had for about 5 years, since both pairs have been used by me since before I got married in 2014.
So I diligently took all of my shoes out of my closet and brought some up from my basement since we were storing them there as well (our garage is underneath our bedroom since we own a ranch, so the shoes were in the basement to put on there before getting in our cars). I had way more shoes that I expected and was embarrassed with how many shoes immediately without touching them did not spark joy for me. Why was I holding on to these shoes? What was I gaining from having them?
As I put pair after pair into a garbage bag to sell or donate, I shrunk my "collection" to about 60% of the shoes I owned before. I cleaned up my shoe area and placed all of my shoes into my closet in a place that felt like a happy home for each pair.
After shoes was jewelry and boy oh boy... do I have a lot of jewelry. Many of my pieces would also fall under the sentimental category since a few of my items have been passed down through multiple generations of my family. But all of those items spark joy for me because they remind me of my family and what the generations before me did to get me to where I am.
For my birthday this year my parents got me a beautiful jewelry box, which is something I have wanted for a while. I decided that I wanted to be able to fit all of my jewelry into my jewelry box so that I would not have copious amounts of things all around.
Surprisingly, I had a lot less attachment to many of my items than I thought and filled up an old jewelry case with pieces that no longer sparked joy. I felt a weight lifted off of me to see all the items I was letting go of. There were so many items that I had since college or even high school but had not worn so long or no longer had a place to wear them.
I have jewelry sets that I used to wear when I worked at more business casual workplaces to look more dressed up. My last job was at a tech company and the dress code was extremely lax so my daily jewelry selection morphed into being more simple and dainty. I also started teaching yoga and was selecting more earthy looking pieces, so having big shiny things was no longer appealing.
Now that the clothing section is complete, we are on to books. Books might be a tough category for me, but I will let you all know how that process goes and show you my before and after collection!