Have you read ‘the life-changing magic of tidying up‘ by Marie Kondo yet? It’s a best seller, and for good reason. Ms. Kondo has been tidying since she was 5. In her book, she writes clearly about all of the systems she has tried over the years and the insights that she has had. It’s a small and tidy book—a quick read. She does repeat herself a little but that’s OK. By the time I was finished I was motivated to tidy.
I have always considered myself to be a tidy person and in the past several years I have weeded out my possessions several times. But I still was aware of an underlying sensation that there was just too much stuff around me. I read this book and realized that I have always gone about the weeding out process the wrong way. Rather than deciding what to make go away, it works better to consciously decide what to keep.
She recommends starting with your clothes. Take everything out of the closet, out of your drawers. Pile them on the floor or bed. Don’t do this room by room. If you can’t tackle all of your clothes at once, work in categories: pants, shirts, dresses, etc. I decided to tidy all of my clothes at once. I share a small-ish closet with Steve (who was not remotely interested in tidying his clothes). You can see my empty shelves…
And the empty rod. There’s another empty rod on the other side of the closet. I get/need more closet space than Steve**.
Here’s almost everything on the bed. I emptied drawers from the dresser onto the bed after I took this photo.
One of the best parts of the book is the way the author makes you understand that you really only want to keep what gives you joy. Those clothes that I bought and maybe only wore once gave me joy back in the day, but not any more. Holding onto them is not doing me (or the clothes) any good at all. Once you accept that and get the hang of deciding, it actually goes very quickly.
She also explains the logic of how to fold and place your clothes in drawers. I was skeptical until I tried it. I am now a true believer and will never fold and stack clothes in a pile again. I promise.
Ms. Kondo likes storing things, standing up (not stacked) in simple boxes on shelves.
I have a lot fewer clothes in my closet. No more hanging t-shirts, they are all folded now. I realized that what remains is truly what I was wearing all the time. The rest was just in the way.
It took me about 6 hours to tidy my clothes, fewer hours than I thought it would take. Everything was touched and either bagged to go away, folded neatly to go into a drawer, or rehung and placed in the closet. After the clothes I moved on to purses and bags, shoes, books, and bathroom stuff. As I said earlier, I have been un-cluttering for the last few years and that helped this process go faster.
I still have categories of things to tidy but I’m taking a short break. What I can tell you is that I feel mentally lighter. I am finding it easier to concentrate. If you are feeling a similar urge to tidy, I strongly recommend this book. Everyone I know who has read it, has the same feelings about it.
**I did try to encourage Steve to read the book. He is beyond not interested—and he gave me a look that make me think that I was perhaps going overboard with the tidying ideas. That got me to thinking.
I realized (again) that our house is full of my stuff (that his salary helped to buy). Steve has never been a shopper, or a collector of stuff. He is interested in tools, but only the tools he needs. He has to be forced to buy clothes. He is not into knick-knacks. He is particular about what goes into the kitchen but he does not over-stock it.
He likes the way our house looks and functions, and he likes it tidy, but he doesn’t feel the weight of our possessions in the same way I do. So I have given up trying to get him to read the book and am instead being thankful that he has always loved me enough to put up with my acquisition, and de-acquisition, of things.