My daughter Erica came home from the bookstore a month or so ago with the organizational book that has been taking the world by storm for the past year. Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizer, came up with a new way to "tidy up", once and for all. I had heard of the book's ideas through online sources but actually reading the book was eye-opening and exciting to me. Finally, a method that seeks to keep only what you love, and to sort through all you own based on categories rather than rooms or frequency of use. This seemed revolutionary, and completely caught me up in imagining never having to tidy up (purge) again. KonMari method involves gathering every single item of the particular category and going through it "all in one go", keeping only the items that spark joy when you touch them. Discarding is first, then you decide how you will organize/keep the items you love. She has a specific order in which to sort items---wisely leaving mementos and keepsakes such as photos to the last.
The first category is clothing, as there is generally easier decision making with everyday items such as these. I did all my clothing in a long session one day when my husband was out of town. It is messy getting everything you own out where you see it all and touch it all. I have always purged my clothing and donated several times a year but there had been some things hanging around long past "joy". Here are some before and after shots of my drawers and closet:
Sock drawer before.
Sock drawer after.
Tshirts after. Folding the clothing the KonMari way and storing vertically lets you see everything at once. It is an extra step but not difficult.
Long sleeved shirts before.
Long sleeved shirts after. I got rid of shirts that were stained, too short, too wide, unflattering, ill fitting, and even a brand new shirt I had never worn but kept because I liked the color. Marie Kondo says these types of clothes have done their job of showing you what does not suit you and as they spark no joy, they can be released.
Tanks tops before.
Tank tops/shorts after. Reaching into this drawer, I know that each item fits, is clean and presentable, and works with the rest of my wardrobe. That's a good way to feel when getting dressed each day.
Next was the closet. I had been through my closet only months before, and yet there was still so much I wasn't wearing. Now I was able to keep only the clothing I love and easily get rid of the rest.
Unseen items on the shelf beneath the clothing were completely eliminated. So many pairs of painful shoes and unloved scarves...
I kept one basket of winter type scarves and one basket of dressier scarves for work. They are neatly folded and won't keep exploding at me from inefficient hangers and piles.
Marie Kondo counts shoes, bags, stockings, belts, and jewelry in the clothing category, so all of these got KonMari'd too.
This shelf and mismatch of loose jewelry storage/clutter was long overdue for a good sort.
Everything in the boxes are pieces I love and will wear. I eliminated over 100 pieces of clothing, bags, jewelry, shoes, socks, etc in my clothing category. Now when I shop it will be to fill holes in my wardrobe, choosing only things I love. I haven't missed anything I let go yet!
I have already completed the next category, books. I went through my personal books, including sewing/crafting/art books, and then Erica and I tackled the common bookshelf. We let go of over 70 books and kept only our beloved favorites. Before, there wasn't a single shelf that wasn't double or triple booked. Now they fit.
The next category is papers and I am deep into that category this long weekend. It is a very messy job to gather EVERY single paper you own and sort it all. This does not include mementos or photos, so no joy is expected for this category, per Marie.
So far, between our household papers and my personal papers, I have put four full large grocery sacks in the recycle bin, and have six bulging plastic grocery bags full of papers to shred. Late today I found a cache of old filing on the bottom shelf of a bookcase in our office--it was from 2008-2009! Marie's method is basically to throw out all papers, only keeping a very few for specific reasons. I am being very ruthless and eliminating everything I possibly can. We will still have a filing cabinet with separate files, contrary to her counsel, and I'll still have personal papers in my desk drawers, but the groaning unsorted piles all over the house are banished forever. We already have a system in place for day to day papers and will just maintain that.
It feels great to be on the way to a cleaner, lighter life where I won't have to dread looking in a closet or drawer. Everything is fair game. I am no longer going to be holding onto items given me that I don't love on my own accord.