Monday, February 1, 2016

Love It or Leave It

Good advice — most times, especially when decluttering your clothing wardrobe.

And easier to say then do, so maybe its why organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, is an international best seller.

Sure, I've tackled this task by other names  simplifying, de-cluttering, downsizing. What’s different now?

Ms. Kondo’s approach, the KonMari Method, is two-fold: First, place your hands on things you own and, this is very important, ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it doesn't, then chuck it. When only your most joyful items are left, organize each where its visible, accessible and easily put back.

Following this approach this per Ms. Kondo’s directions will not only clear your place, but also your mind. That's what's the book states, but I can't vouch for that claim. And don't yoga and gate chai classes make similar claims?

Admittedly, I haven’t read the entire book, only some portions; however, have read about Ms. Kondo and her methods, and various watched online videos.

Almost forgot, a very important tenant before discarding/donating items — remember to thank them for their service. So, yes, you will be talking to your belongings and this might best be done in private, depending on how emotionally attached you are to your shirts, socks, jeans. If any talk back, be very afraid. There's no advice on how to handle sassy clothes. 

And, it’s not OK to say everything brings you joy without handling it first. “Don’t just
open up your closet (drawer) and decide after a quick look that everything in it gives you a thrill,” Ms. Kondo states, adding: “You must take each outfit in your hand."

“When we take our clothes in our hands and fold them neatly,” she writes, “we are, I believe, transmitting energy, which has a positive effect on our clothes.”

Sounds far-fetched, I agree. But she emits a positive energy in photos and online videos, so I figured a couple of dresser drawers could benefit from positive vibes.

Prepare to spend time doing this because the book states that “tidying is a dialogue with oneself.”

Like I said before, best done in private. Admittedly, you might forget to thank all toss-outs after several hours of talking to them. (And, who could blame you?)

After you’re all talked out, what's next for those items that spark joy?

Items stored in a drawer, you fold neatly. The KonMari Method of folding can be widely seen on YouTube videos. Basically, you fold everything into a long rectangle, then fold that in upon itself to make a smaller rectangle, then roll that up into a tube, like a sushi roll, then set items upright in the drawers.

Hanging clothes gets more challenging as Ms. Kondo advises hanging anything that “looks
happier hung up.”

How to know? Maybe once you get some experience talking to your things, just ask them their preferences?

According to Ms. Kondo: “Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type, and therefore organizing them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.”

After all, we want our clothing to feel secure, don’t we? (No need to answer this.)

I didn’t follow the exact KonMari Method in purging a couple of dresser drawers last week, then rearranging contents based on the visibility and accessibility principles. It was neater than before (forgot that photo). Maybe these turtlenecks and socks are happy too as they made the cut and got to stay. (Lots of socks, I know, but we are living in New England now. I foresee more clothes talking/purging at a future date.)

It’s worth mentioning that Ms. Kondo’s instruction on paper sorting is the most liberating of all her advice: Just throw them all away. She writes: “There is nothing more annoying than papers . . . After all, they will never spark joy, no matter how carefully you keep them.”

Amen to that, Ms. Kondo. (Except I'm not sure how the IRS would feel if we were called in to explain something on a filed return without supporting documentation.)

Have you sorted out things that no longer bring you joy?


Sandra said...

I am smiling because i just took a 3 day sabbatical from my routine and tossed out and tossed out.. i have 10 pounds of paper to shred. i keep nothing but for some reason i had 6 shoe boxes of old canceled checks from my dad and me. as for touching to see if it brings joy, i would have an empty house, say touching the pots and pans.. no joy. touching anything in the kitchen that is not food brings no joy.
i feel so much better from my frenzy of tossing

Anonymous said...

I am always throwing things out, much to hubby's chagrin.

Catherine said...

I was thrilled to see this post, I've this book rotating around the web and knew your post would enlighten me (and make me chuckle :) I'm a huge fan of decluttering, especially after moving from one continent to another... and I'm always amazed how neat and tidy Japanese homes are! The energy of a space does make a big difference on one's state of mind and mood. I like the idea of thanking used belongings for their service, it's interesting how attached we get to things. Thank you for sharing B!

Lynn said...

I had a big closet purge of household items a few years ago and it was nice to free up some space - now I look at those full closets and wonder how I fit in all that other stuff anyway. :)

Emma Springfield said...

I am terrible when it comes to throwing things out. I find it easier to stuff them into a drawer.

William Kendall said...

Things that look happier hanging up? That's a new one to me.

JP A Quiet Corner said...

Hmmmm...sounds like something I should do in my closets and drawers!!...:)JP

Jeanne Henriques said...

Hi Dorothy and Pat, HA! Good one on the IRS paper trail. I agree…I do not think they would be impressed! Like you, I recently started reading this book, sort of bouncing around from chapter to chapter. I like what she has to say and have enjoyed translating it to other areas of my life. I will check out her second book…it seems to be just as popular as the first. Good luck with your tidying up..and the conversations that follow! All the best from Saigon.. ;)

Anvilcloud said...

Sue uses that rollup method when we travel.

I am good at talking to myself, so I might be able to adapt to talking to my clothes.

Connie said...

I need to sort and declutter, but I'm not sure her method would work for me. Like you said about the papers (which are the worst), some things you have to keep for reasons other than that they bring you joy. Interesting way to look at organizing, though. :)

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