Tag Archives: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #5 – T-shirts

Magic of Tidying Up

I think the book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, is all about challenging yourself to think differently. And, for me, I decided to face things head-on!

Kondo highly recommends sorting and clearing through your stuff in a very specific category by category way. First stop: clothing. For me, that began in my closet.

One reason I was excited to start on the closet was as a personal challenge. The walk-in closet in the master bedroom is seemingly adequate for two people. However, I have overtaken every square inch of space in it – in addition to a full nightstand and six-drawer chest. If I were married, I have no clue where my husband’s clothes would go. One nightstand is kept empty for that purpose; however, the closets in the other two bedrooms are unavailable. One is for my office and the other is in my Mom’s bedroom. So, there is only this one closet for two people. The house does not have a linen closet, so all sheets, mattress pads, comforters and other bed linens must be stored in the closet as well.

i took “before” photos of my closet, but i’m not going to include them in my posts just yet. I’ll wait until I complete my clothing purge, catalog everything in Stylebook, sell some discards on eBay and fold and store the keepers as I see fit. Plus, I have many items in my closet that fall into future categories, so I won’t be cleaning through them for a while. I’m as anxious as you are to see if clothing for two people plus the linens can fit in this closet!

One thing Kondo mentions in her book is that you have to successfully live in your own space. She says the space you have is the right amount of storage for you – I’m paraphrasing here. That thought process ties into one I discovered in my Law of Attraction studies. So, it seems to be universal.

Somewhere along the line in my research, I came across the concept of having different forms of “me” in the closet, meaning the reason so many of us have so many clothes is we have the old me, the me I want to be (perhaps through many different trials and errors) and the me that I am. I found this an intriguing way to think about my belongings as I began my KonMari journey.

The question we’re supposed to ask as we hold each item in hand is, “Does this spark joy?” As I was tidying, I added a caveat to that – “Do I love it so much I’m willing to move it?” – meaning, the next time I pack up for a new abode, do I want that to come with me? And, pay the moving charges! Certainly, by that time, many items in my wardrobe will have been replaced with new ones, but I kept the question in mind for future categories.

Once I discovered the Stylebook app, the energy surge I had for this was so strong, it was almost scary. I didn’t know if this was for my benefit or for my readers. Either way, it was an energy I hadn’t felt in a long time and it felt good.

I think most people clean through their clothes somewhat regularly, so I wasn’t sure just how much I would discard, but at the very least, I was interested in reworking the items in the closet and drawers to utilize them more efficiently.

As i go through my wardrobe, I also want to identify and discard those items that I have that don’t bring me joy when I wear them. You certainly must have a few of those items, the ones where you almost dread putting them on but you haven’t found adequate replacements that make you feel good so you just keep wearing them. Well, this time they’re going!

When it was time to get started, I knew I’d have to break every category down into sub-categories, just due to time constraints. I’m sure it’s a very interesting experience to clean through all your clothing at once, but smaller categories are easier for me to digest. I suspect I wouldn’t be able to walk through my bedroom or living room if I put all my clothes into a big pile, but because I take care of my Mom, it just wasn’t practical. I had to do it in chunks.

I decided to start with t-shirts. I knew I had a lot but i hardly ever wear them. I put them all in a pile on my bed – sorry, I refuse to throw my good clothes on the floor. How would you feel if someone did that to you? – and was quite amazed to discover that for someone who rarely wears t-shirts, I had almost 70 of them!

IMG_0384

My big pile of t-shirts! I had to take them all off their hangers.

I decided to do this first batch a little differently than Kondo suggests. Since she says you should feel energy when you touch an article of clothing, i decided to clean through my t-shirts with my eyes closed. To my left, I put a chair where I would place items to keep and to my right, discards.

The keepers!

The keepers 🙂

The discards

The discards 🙁

To my surprise, the final tally was actually pretty close to accurate. I did pull five shirts from the discard pile, but I also discarded five shirts from the keep pile once I started cataloging and folding them.

All folded and snuggled in the drawer!

All folded and snuggled in the drawer!

In the end, I kept only 23 t-shirts, mostly from university, sports teams or concerts. I followed the video on Lavendaire’s YouTube channel and lovingly folded my t-shirts, placing them into their new home. Once hung, these shirts now take up exactly one drawer, Most people place them horizontally in the drawer, but for me, vertically worked better,

My t-shirt discards filled an entire garbage bag! I can only imagine what is yet to come once I get into more clothing categories.

Folding was actually fun, and I’ve since used t-shirts from the drawer and they are wrinkle-free! I used to hang them because I thought that would prevent wrinkles, but in actuality, they were more wrinkled hanging, and I couldn’t tell what I had. All I saw was a sea of green or black or white sleeves. Now I can see everything I own!

What category will I do next? Come back and see!

Enjoy!

Cindi

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #4 Random Thoughts

Magic of Tidying Up

The Sex and the City movie just happened to be on several nights in a row as I began my discarding process, and I felt a bit at odds with KonMari at the time. In her book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, Kondo advises that we should commune with our stuff in private and in complete silence.

In the movie, when Carrie cleans through the closet at her old apartment before moving in with Big, she has her three best friends with her – plus adorable little Lily – along with lots of champagne and great music to help guide her in deciding what should stay and what should go. Well, Carrie’s way seems so much more fun! Alas, I stuck to the KonMari way.

The KonMari Method is not that far off from my own personal experience with moving. During previous moves – including moving my Mom – I’d already begun to sort, discard and pack according to category, long before KonMari had made its way into my life. I started to sort  that way because it was too confusing and difficult to gauge how much of any item I had until I gathered like items all in one place, then eliminated as needed. So, in essence, I had begun doing a very similar tidying on my own. Still, this book helped me to take it one step further.

Moving is a great time to purge and if you have the time, do it well in advance. That way, you can pack all the vases, mementos, cookbooks and so on in the same boxes. That will make it so much easier to unpack at your new home. If you pack by room, the items might not go into the same room at your new place. Clothing, of course, is different, but you might decide to create a library and the books that once went into your office or master bedroom are now going into your magnificent new library.

One of the great things about the KonMari method is it takes you out of the mindset of looking for ways to display or store things and into questioning whether or not you need them in the first place. Also, by categorizing your belongings, you not only see the quantity of items you own, you can determine how many near-duplicates you have and just how many your lifestyle requires.

Kondo prompts us to ask ourselves about each item, “Does this spark joy?” I’ve added a caveat to that: “Am I willing to pay to move it?” If I don’t feel the least bit interested in paying to move it next time I move, it goes in the pile. That has taken me off the fence several times.

I  have to also admit that using the Stylebook app in conjunction with the closet cleanse has been a real eye-opener for me. Not only was I required to touch every single item in my wardrobe and choose what brings me joy, I also have an inventory which will help me to make better buying decisions in the future, as well as better utilizing my wardrobe in general. More on that when I discuss my closet in-depth.

Seems I’ve always had an eBay pile which has held up my tidying, but this time I’m going full force. i probably added another 30 items easily to the eBay pile just from my closet. Kondo doesn’t really cover the idea of selling your discards in her book, but in a transcript of a Q&A she gave which I found online, she said if it brings you joy to sell it, then do so, but it will take time and are you willing to put your joy on hold while you do? Good question but at the present time, I’d say it’s a yes for me.

One thought I had along the way is that, God forbid, should I not walk this earth tomorrow, all my belongings would just be stuff, stuff that gets donated or sold at a garage sale or parceled out among my family or trashed. So, while I may have an emotional attachment to an item, no one else probably will, at which point I have to ask myself, why should I? If something truly sparks joy, that’s not an issue. It’s always the things we ruminate about that are the culprits, energy wasters, power takers.

Kondo solves the problem of where to begin. Other books offer alternative methods of cleaning and organizing, and I have found a few that delve into the psychology of why we have what we have. But Kondo uses a very pragmatic approach to discover which belongings truly bring us joy, and provides a gameplan to attack in a specific order. Does she answer all my questions as I’m going through the process? No, but it’s OK to think for ourselves and that’s part of the reason I started to blog about it. You  might have similar questions.

I’m very excited to be on this journey, and I hope that you’ll be inspired to begin your own and to share your thoughts. I can’t wait to see how much I’ve discarded in the end!

So, enough talking, let’s get to work! Next up: Clothing.

Enjoy!

Cindi

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #3 Stylebook

Magic of Tidying Up

As I mentioned in my last post, while I was doing online research before the big start of my tidying journey, I came across something that really excited me – in addition to living in a clean and organized house surrounded by things that bring me joy.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo was the first stop. In the book, Kondo takes you on a category by category tidying of your house beginning with clothing. I think clothing is a great place to start because most of us are pretty good about cleaning out our closets on somewhat of a regular basis. Plus, once you’ve purged all the unjoyful stuff, you only have pieces that you are excited to wear.

I really felt that this tidying journey would be a great opportunity for me to try new things with my wardrobe, mixing and matching items – if I only knew what I had and where they were. Let’s face it. Unless you have less than 10 items in your wardrobe, you’re bound to forget something. It’ll get buried no matter what. This drives me crazy!

I don’t know how I found it exactly, and many of you may already be aware of it, but for me it was a dream come true. I’d longed for something like this but with everything I had in my closet, I wasn’t sure when I’d find the time to get all the data entered. However, I knew once I had completed a closet cleanse I’d be ready for it.

What is it, you ask? Why, the Stylebook App! Here’s a quick video:

This little find got me as or more excited than Kondo’s book when it came to my clothing. I had to have it!

I’m usually not one to spend any money on apps. Even my games are freebies. However, it took me a nanosecond to spend $3.99 on this little goodie. That’s far less expensive than having a personal stylist come to your house.

I read the reviews and it does have some downsides. First of all, it hasn’t been updated in a year or so. I don’t care. As long as it works, I’m fine with that. It also doesn’t have an automatic sync between devices, but it’s actually pretty easy to share data as long as you’re diligent about doing it each time you add items to the app. You also have to make sure the app is backing up to the cloud so all your work is not for naught should you get a new device or something happens to the one you have..

It sounds like it will take two to four days to get an entire wardrobe entered, depending on the quantity of items and how much detail you enter for each one. I plan to do it category by category so elapsed time might be correct but it will be spread out over several days for me.

What it does do is amazing! It catalogs all items in your wardrobe, from skinny jeans to winter gloves. You can enter as much or as little information you want, including brand, size, price and fabric content and even add little notes.

You can play with your closet and create unlimited looks. Then, place your looks on the calendar. The app provides statistics as to how many times you wear an item as well as cost per wear if you entered your purchase price. That’s how you can justify your new pair of Louboutins!

You can store inspiration photos as well as create a packing list, a great feature for people who travel a lot. And, you can create a wishlist of items to add to your wardrobe.

I’m fearful of checking out the shopping function but if I decide to see how it works, I’ll let you know.

I believe the Stylebook App is currently only available on iPhone and iPad, but I did find something similar for Android called Stylicious which is also available on iOS. Here s their video:

There are other apps out there, some of which are free, that offer similar functionality. Let me know if you’ve used any of them and which you prefer – and why!

UPDATE: Stylebook was updated January 2016 and now includes fun new features such as having the app create new looks for you based on your wardrobe! How fun is that!

Next time I’ll offer some random thoughts, all in preparation for the big clean out!

Happy tidying!

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #2 Process

Magic of Tidying Up

It seems talking about one’s personal possessions ranks right up there with money. Both subjects are taboo. Much as we don’t share our financial details with others, sharing the quantity and status of what we own is usually off the agenda. And, as we hardly ever entertain in our homes any more, it’s often not a topic one worries about.

But this book changed all that for me: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, Once I read it, I wanted to jump right in and share my thoughts and experiences. However, after reading the book, i still felt i needed a bit more information. Kondo lives in Japan and while Japan and quite frankly most of the world have much smaller housing and storage than we Americans do, i wanted to see how others were approaching their tidying after reading her book.

I’ve also recently been fascinated by the tiny house craze (see future post), so the whole concept of taking it down to the studs, so to speak, seems to fit with Kondo’s method.

I opted to go to YouTube since there were some questions I had that needed visuals, like how to fold your clothes properly. She talks about it in her book, but I wanted to see it in action.

I particularly love Lavendaire’s short videos on folding clothes the KonMari way. She’s super sweet and went through the discarding process in her abode, which she also posted on YouTube. And, I love her hair! Check out the videos on her channel here:

Lavendaire

I was also drawn to the series of KonMari tidying sessions by Jen at Pretty Neat Living. She’s sort of a cross between Lea Michele and Charlotte from Sex and the CIty with a touch of Jennifer Garner. She’s very genuine and you feel that she could be your friend for life. She’s a lifestyle blogger who covers a variety of topics from travel to cooking and, of course, organization. Check out the videos on her channel here:

Another person I found intriguing was Living Like Julie. Julie is also a lifestyle blogger who shares her insights on a variety of home and beauty topics. She has gone through the KonMari tidying and has a number of great videos posted. She’s so relaxed and in control of everything. It’s refreshing to watch her videos. Here is a link to her channel:

Living Like Julie

There are videos of speeches Kondo has given, but I just don’t have the time for it at the moment. However, I do want to go back mostly to see the photos she includes in her presentations. The befores and afters must be pretty mind blowing!

Kondo has a specific order for cleaning, beginning with clothing. If you can’t do all your clothing in one day, then break it up into small categories, but don’t jump to another category until you finish the one you’re currently working on. This is a test of self-control as I want to go and grab those items I know I want to toss, but since she says there’s a method to her madness, I’ll aim to follow her rules.

I didn’t find much on YouTube beyond clothing, books and paperwork, the first three categories in the cleansing process. I don’t know if people tired of cleaning or they just haven’t gotten there yet, However, there are some folks who made it all the way and for them, i applaud their tenacity. This is hard work!

There are some other videos I liked. Kondo says not to let anyone else see what you’re discarding, but the gentleman in the Project Lifecoach video is so cute when Mom comes in to see what he’s tossing:

Another favorite of mine was when the woman was sorting through her shoes and her husband decided to join in:

You would think I could search online forever, inevitably delaying my own tidying journey, but alas, i tired of all the extra info. I went back to the book and started to plan my own household cleanse.

Oh, yes, there was one more bit of information I found online that really got my energy in high gear for this. More in my next post.

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #1 Intro

Magic of Tidying Up

 

I believe most people can use a little help when it comes to keeping their homes clean and organized. Yes, there are some folks who prefer to live a sort of Spartan existence and while I marvel at their ability to do so, in America for the most part, people tend to be keepers. Just look at the number of storage units across the country.

I also believe that if you hear the same comment or question from three or more people in a short period of time, you need to address what it is you’re being told. For me, it was this book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

I’m pretty organized about my business, but my house sometimes needs a touch-up. Doing one more really good sweep of my house has been on my mind for a few years. About six years ago, i completely painted the interior of the house as well as the garage, so every single item in my house got moved. That was a great time to do some major purging.

Purging and organizing are like peeling layers off an onion. Every time you peel off one layer, it becomes evident that you can part with even more. However, my peeling was put on hold.

Just when i was down to a few boxes of stuff to eBay and a couple of boxes of paperwork, my life changed.

Mom moved in.

I spent six weeks cleaning her house, a house she and my Dad and all of my siblings and I had lived in over a period of 60 years. When Kondo says we aren’t taught to tidy and organize as children, that was evident to me during the massive undertaking of moving my Mom.

Both of my parents were raised during the Depression, so rather than toss, their inclination was to save – EVERYTHING. From rubber bands to broken toys, once in the house it never left. So, we weren’t taught to discard either.

It was also during this moving process that I realized that when it’s my turn to move or pass on, I don’t want anyone to have to go through my stuff. It may be easier because there’s no emotional attachment as there is for me, but it truly should be much easier for me to clean through my things rather than have any other person do so.

The moving adventure reminded me how important and life-supporting it is to live in a clean and organized house. Nothing beats being surrounded by the things you love and always knowing where to find what you need.

While I lovingly cleaned my Mom’s house because I was super thrilled to have her moving in with me, it was a monumental task. It wasn’t a matter of her living in the same town, either. She was 1700 miles away and I had a limited timeframe to accomplish my work.

Some people say, “Oh, the kids will have such a good time cleaning the house after I’m gone. It will be like a treasure hunt.” To them, I say, pick a spot and start cleaning! Unless you are physically or mentally unable to do so, it’s much better to live in a clean and organized environment. Plus, believe me, it’s not a treasure hunt.

Needless to say, I couldn’t get absolutely everything sorted during that short six-week period, but I got 95 percent done. The other five percent I shipped for me to deal with back home.

While I cleaned through quite a bit upon our return, I just got sick of going through stuff. I’d spent hours upon hours on it at Mom’s house, and i needed a break.

Now, four years since Mom moved in, I’m ready to tackle the rest of the mess. However, this little book made its way into my life. I had to read it!

While I had accomplished the huge tidying prior to Mom’s arrival, and kept clean and organized those areas that were well-purged, items would flash into my mind while I read the book. There were definitely still things I could part with and probably never miss.

Kondo makes you approach your purging and organizing in a different way. Some people may find it a bit odd, but it seems to resonate with me. I’m reading the book for a second time – at least key points – and  I will probably go through sections again and again as I make my way through the house.

I’m not sure how stringently I can abide by everything Kondo suggests, and there are areas that she doesn’t fully address, but I’m going to take a stab at things and see what happens.

She estimates it will take six months of one’s life to fully tidy up a household. As today is my birthday, I couldn’t think of a better present to give myself than the gift of a fully organized and happy life. God willing, I can get it done.

I’ll do all my stuff first, then clean through some Mom things that still need to be addressed – as long as she’ll let me.

I’ll post updates from time to time with photos when appropriate. I’ll share my insights and lessons learned along the way. We’ll see what my place looks like in six months.

Wish me luck!