Just like two million other people around the world, I've recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. (On my Kindle. Oh, how I love my Kindle Paperwhite. Future post coming on my conversion to e-readers.) And just like so many other people, I read it and wanted to throw everything away. Not really, but kind of. I'd sneak a chapter during a car nap, or ten chapters before bed, and find myself getting twitchy from wanting to jump in, pull everything out from under my bed, unearth hideous packed-away clothes from under the stairs, throw out half my kids' toys, finally get rid of that print hung downstairs that we all hate but never take down. It's strange to think we know we don't like something, and every time we see it, it bothers us, or doesn't work for us, and yet we still use it. Whether it seems unnecessary (a doodad on the mantel) or necessary (specific architecture in the apartment you're renting that you can't change).
Marie (KonMari) Kondo is an organization guru. She's Japanese and lovely and cute. Seriously. I want to be her. I mean LOOk!) Marie's argument for "tidying" in her prescribed manner is like a "whole" cleaning process. Instead of a certain brand of organizer in your bathroom, or a placing things according to flow in your house, or focusing on only owning three things, she's all about methodically, mindfully holding each thing you own in your hands and asking yourself whether it sparks joy. She believes that the easiest way to keep your house tidy, is to only keep the things you love. (You also group things according to categories.)
It's minimalist living that allows the things you love. You start the sorting process with your clothes, bags, shoes, and accessories and end with mementos and miscellany. Not only is it a time investment (I've invested 20 hours in 3 days), it's an emotional and mental practice in centering yourself and confidently saying what you want. "Yes" I love this green t-shirt from high school track, or "No", I always hated this stupid book but I felt like I could never get rid of it because stupid abc gave it to me. Totally unemotional stuff like that. It feels really good if you get off on being all bossy and confident to inanimate objects by your lonesome.
But honestly, the process has been fun(!), exhilarating, freeing, fun(!!), budget-friendly as I've sold stuff, and stressless. The more I give away, sell, or throw away what I know I don't use or need, the more I want to give away exactly what I don't love and cherish. All around. Throwing away, giving away, and gifting your belongings is fulfilling. When I see someone pull up and grab that lamp I put on the sidewalk with a FREE! sign, I feel so good. Use that lamp! Love that lamp! I'm free of that lamp forever! Now you don't have to go to Ikea with your kids and feel like you need three days to recover! Yay!
As an overly sentimental, oft frugal, admittedly picky, and quite vain person, it's hard to get rid of things but it gets easier. I also admit I've tried to get rid of a few things that were not mine (ahem) and realized that's not how this goes. No one can force you. If you read the book, you're already interested in decluttering and simplifying your life. You can't force anyone else to do that. However, you can totally force your kids to do it, especially if they're 3 and 1 and have no idea. They have so much less now! Clean drawers, clean closet, 1/4 the toys. It feels so good and their room is infinitely easier to clean.
A few thoughts:
1) If you have kids, there's deep organizing you can do with them around and some you just can't. Think about what you'll need to be focused on, and the stuff you can do where you can hear screaming, crying, I'm thirsty, etc. and be cool. I was cool with noise when I organized half the bathroom, all the linen closets, and the kitchen cupboards. Not cool with any part of my room or the lower kitchen cupboards. (Too many chemicals and hazards.) I had a babysitter take the boys to the playground for a long stretch, or I worked in the early morning, evening, or during Sondre's nap while Si is at preschool. I was 100% motivated. I'd also add that she says you should do the clean as intensely as possible, consecutively. I couldn't do that because of the boys but I made it work for me. I honestly wish she would have written more about what to do about the kid's situation. Kids are the opposite of tidy, but we don't want to get of them. What do we do?
2) Get ready for the day. Get up, get dressed, then start cleaning. I love in the book that Kona says that when she goes to a client's house, when she first enters, she bows to the house. She feels what it's energy is like and respects the house. She also dresses up as a way to respect the process. I got so much more done when I showered, put on make-up, popped in the ol' contacts, got dressed in my favorite clothes, and ate a really good breakfast. It was an event and the whole family knew it was serious business. Respect THE CLEAN, y'all.
3) I'm only 75% done with my purge. I still have to sort through my books, jewelry, office desk drawers, all our food and pantry, and go through two boxes that house everything from my childhood that I brought back with me at Christmas. I already threw away five trash bags in Utah, but I think I'll be throwing a little more away. As a treat for myself in the process, and because unearthing so much stuff made such a huge mess, I hired cleaners to deep clean our house. It feels amazing. It's helped me realize how much I have accomplished so far and how wonderful the process has really been, without completely exhausting myself. It was worth every penny. (You could use the money you make from selling unused items to pay for the cleaning?!)
4) Apparently Ms. Kondo has a Japanese reality show surrounding her method?! My mind is blown.
5) I'm scared to fold everything like she suggests. Up and down, not flat like we all do. Anybody do it and have success? Even socks and underwear?!
6) There's Reddit with Marie if you want to know more.
7) How did we make it through a one bedroom apartment with four people and STILL have stuff to throw out? I do not understand. But here we are.
Anybody else read the book? Want to geek out about it with me? I'd love to hear your experiences. Comment below or tweet at me. I think I want to be a professional organizer now and just throw junk out.
P.S. Two Bachelorettes?!?!?! Yes, I watch it. The shame has simmered and past.