Lately I've felt the weight of my organizing burden more than ever. I need the organizing to be done so I can do what matters as I'm already busy with work and school. My mind's been so twisted in knots over it that it's hard to sleep. The process had to be re-evaluated, it was not working.
"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" is a best-seller first in Japan, then in Europe and the US. Over 2 million copies have sold and it's been published in 30 countries. Time Magazine put Marie Kondo on their 100 most influential people list for 2015. My local library has over 150 holds on this book! The hook of her book; once you learn and implement her method, you're organizing is done forever. You never revert back to mess, you never have to tidy again.
The book had been on the periphery of my mind for a few months now. Being at the nadir of my clutter crisis, thoughts of the book moved front and center. I knew it was the final step I needed to put my organization to bed. I've already donated hundreds of items and sold off a business that wasn't right for me. It's easy for me to let go of things, this ability was trained by years of selling everything I could to keep my business as a vintage seller going. But I was moving the little I had left from one spot to another with little progress. I needed the next level of decluttering magic.
The genius of Marie's method is the simplicity. There are three steps:
1) Tidy in One Quick Shot, as Quickly and Completely, As Possible
2) Sort by Category, Not By Location
3) Selection Criterion: "Does it Spark Joy"?
You go catergory-by-catergory, and pile every single item you own in that category (books, clothes, etc.) in front of you. You go through each item one-by-one and you hold it to determine if it "Sparks Joy". If it makes you happy, you keep it, if it doesn't, you get rid of it. When you're done with a category, neatly put away your items stacked vertically so you can see every single item at-a-glance.
I read the book to near-completion at pg. 153, reading from 12am to 4am non-stop!
It was hard to sleep after reading her book because I wanted to declutter non-stop until her method was complete! I took notes on time and photos along-the-way (some were lost when my phone was stolen + my camera is currently on the fritz, but I salvaged what I could) this is my KonMari Method Journey. I set a deadline of 3 days because I wanted to go on my mini-vacation to visit Ruth in Orlando with a clear mind and clutter-free home:
Day 1: Clothing) August 19, 2015: 12:00PM to 5:53PM
Figuring out what "sparked joy" was hard. I played ambient noise as Marie suggested in the book because music or TV could interfere with our intuition. I'm used to keeping clothing based on whether the fit is flattering and it was hard to overcome that. I went back and removed even less than what I kept initially the next day because I knew I kept items that didn't "spark joy" because I thought I'd like it later or the fit was good. I learned from this exercise than an item "sparks joy" when it makes you feel as happy as when you first bought it AND there are no doubts (like, 'I don't like the color', or, 'it's too worn') what so ever. My wardrobe is minimal but more satisfying because I adore every single item.
* * *Day 2: Books) August 20, 2015: 12:26PM to 1:52PM
I went to 3:40 PM here when you count cleaning the shelves and putting them away (+ a stop to snack.)
First I laid them all on the floor, then I piled them by Kondo's suggested categories:
General (books you read for pleasure) - 32 books
Practice (references, cookbooks, etc.) - 121 books (whole living / school books / self-improvement)
Visual (photographs, collections, etc.) - 27
I went from 248 books to 68 magazines to 48 magazines. I wanted to get rid of more but I do actively reference a lot of the whole living books for school. I do want to read then sell as many as these as possible in the months to come.
Looking back on the books in my categories and what I kept was interesting. Marie Kondo says her method one for self-discovery and that's part of the genius of it. What you keep, what sparks joy, helps you discover who/what you really are and where you passion lies.
Day 2: Papers) 3:40 PM to 5:38 PM
Add another 22 minutes to get all the cat fur off of my storage box! Done by 6PM!
Papers was one of the easiest tasks for me. I got them all down from two IKEA storage boxes to one.
For papers you use the following method. Dispose of anything not in these 3 categories:
1) Currently in Use
2) Needed for Limited Time
3) Must be Kept Indefinitely
A lot of the papers were school work (my Master Herbalism paperwork pile is surely over 200 papers strong) and a bit of work for my business that I have to keep for now. I write e-books/homework/etc in my compositions books on-the-go, so those will be consolidated into the computer in the months to come.
NOW when I pull out my paperwork box I can see everything at a glance and it's made me much more productive. I just pull out whatever papers/notebooks I need and get to it rather than rooting through the paper-mess-pile in two boxes!
Day 2: VHS/DVD/CD) 9:32PM to 10PM
This one was SO easy, I'd already deeply purged this collection (from shelves full) over a year ago.
VHS: Went from 16 to 5
Video Games: 17 to 16 (can't believe we have that many! This includes both my roomie's games.)
CDs: 11 from 14
DVDS: 21 to 10
Day 2: Accessories)
I only have two necklaces and one charm so...done!
Day 2: Make-up/Body Care) Not Done 'Til 3AM
And then I kept finding more, and more, and more...
Before I started Herbalism school all I had in this category was my homemade toothpaste and some Dr. Bronner's soap. This task went on forever now that I have tons of random things from school to organize: tinctures, salves, medicated sprays and scrubs, and-on it went. This was my least favorite part of the process because my heart wanted to just throw it all away but I had to keep it all for school and work. I only have about 3 lipsticks and one mascara, rarely used, but all made in school, so I kept them.
* * *
Day 3: Electronics) 8/21/2015: 9:48 AM to 10:54 AM
I awoke tired and achey from sleep deprivation and the constantly moving of stuff; but bound and determined to complete the method! Electronics was easy, again, I didn't have much. I love seeing all the cords standing up on the box so I can easily grab my charger, etc. as needed!
Day 3: Household Equipment) 11:57 AM to 12:54 PM (put the household stuff away by 2:43PM)
This includes stationary, writing materials, sewing kits, tools, etc. This one was a little painful because I even organized my screw/nails/thumbtacks.
Day 3: Gardening Equipment)
I wrote that I was 1/2 done with gardening by 3:06 PM. It helped to have a sink of soapy water and essential oils on stand-by for cleaning kitchen and garden stuff as I went from this point on. All the pots I chose to keep were cleaned, dried, and neatly stacked away and I added my gravel and dirt all to one bag instead of having a clutter of multiple near-empty bags in my gardening supply box. By 3:18 PM I was done and the garden supplies were stored.
Day 3: Kitchen Supplies) 3:35 PM to 5:19 PM
By this time I was working as fast as possible, knowing what "sparked joy" was second nature. The kitchen supplies in a pile was a daunting sight so I wanted the process over quickly! The day had flown by and I was determined to stick to my deadline. By 5:19 I'd cleaned out my drawers and cabinets with rosemary and orange essential oil, put my items neatly back into the cabinets and swept the floors. I'd also washed/dried items along the way if necessary and organized my tea bags (!!!) so that they were all neatly standing in a tray.
As I sat on the floor in the middle of a hurricane of scattered kitchen utensils, AJ's tall frame cautiously approached from the shadow hallway. He interrupted me as I frantically moved tools, cups, and utensils from box to box:
"I don't understand what this 'method' is, or why you're doing this, but I'm sorry you're so stressed and look so tired." Dramatic pause, Bambi-eyes activated. "I love you." Sad face.
His tone was a mix of one you'd use when you've grown apart from your spouse and fear the worst... and the tone you'd use when you're talking someone down from the edge of a building. Since I'd started the method I'd stopped decluttering only to eat, go to school, or for urgent work tasks. Sleep, spending time with AJ and assuring him I wasn't insane, both put on the back-burner. I explained, for possibly the 4th time in those three days,
"I'm doing all this now so we can spend all the time together afterwards! Trust me! This will work! Our lives will change forever! We will NEVER HAVE TO TIDY AGAIN AFTER THIS!"
He started to walk back to the bedroom and away from the chaos "Wait, come back! WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE ME!?"
Day 3: Art Tools) 5:22 PM - 5:41 PM / Biz Tools: 5:40 - 6:28 PM
Determined to get back to normalcy, I plowed forward as fast as possible. From AJ's perspective, I was a crazy woman in the living room taking ALL of our shit out of every drawer, putting them in a pile on the floor, asking myself (sometimes outloud) if they "spark joy" (which is crazy-talk) all while barely eating or sleeping for nearly three days straight. If I didn't finish soon, he'd Baker-Act me! I've already been crafting more since stacking my supplies so they're all visible- love it!
I was tired as hell and did this one at lightning speed! By this time, I was a pro at feeling out what "Sparks Joy". The method really is genius for that! From 6:10 PM to 6:28 PM I organized my donations and threw out some things, then left to the dollar store for boxes and supplies.
Day 3: Pantry) 8:08PM to 8:22 PM
I used shallow trays from the dollar store to organize the food in our pantry ( not a lot, we all keep it minimal with bulk goods) and now cooking is even funner! And we're eating up some stuff we forget we had hidden in the back.
Day 3: Personal Momentos) 11:44 PM to 12:00 AM
The momentos was actually done very quickly, I don't have much put thought into what to keep or not, "spark joy" feeling was 2nd nature. I kept going until 12:45 AM, clearing up and doing final sorting.
I doesn't look like a lot, but it was jam-packed in those boxes! This doesn't include the trash, either!
Donation Pile) 12:29 PM - 4:05 PM !
I decided to host a yard sale so I went through my pile grouping items after my trip. It's a good thing I did this because I would have donated the printer cord I needed! The only reason I didn't donate the pile on Day 3 is that I was too physically exhausted to force myself to carry the boxes downstairs to my car.
* * *
KonMari Method Take Aways:
- The process of going through what "sparks joy" and what doesn't makes me a better designer. I refine better.
- The very next day, first thing, I looked a picture I had out of my mom from the 70s and BAM- my new brand name and design, the one that's not "been right" and has tortured me since November of last year, came to me instantly! A clear home = clear mind! + ...
- ...Having your muses easily at hand is the only way they can be accessed so they can inspire you. (Versus having them buried.)
- I want to do little things I couldn't do before because I was always organizing/couldn't find things/couldn't decide on type of item: write snail mail to people, wrap-up random presents for friends, even actually celebrate holidays!
- If you have bad decision paralysis (like me, mine is crippling) choosing what "sparks joy" helps you hone decision making skills. I am more decisive! Thank God!
- I'm working hard, happily, and effortlessly, not having to stop to "find" things
- I feel more inspired, being surrounded only by the very best and none of the rest. This process would help you find yourself, your path, and refine your style.
Unexpected lessons learned:
- You can keep things you love in boxes and cabinets without diminishing their value. I used to think you had to display everything decorative to appreciate it, but that's overwhelming visually. I have my favorite toys in the top of my closet now and it makes me happy every time I open it.
I want to do this method for EVERYONE. All of my friends. My business partners and clients that are having the same problems with clutter, my family; everyone needs this method and this book! I even want to recommend it to clients when I start working as an herbalist. I feel like this method is the first step toward improving your health and starting a fresh new chapter in your life. I still have a couple of things to do (the wall art needs to be picked through and re-hung, then the cars, fridge, and AJ's stuff) and I'm so excited to keep going! I'll update with the after of how I stacked the items in drawers according to the method, "afters" of people I help with the method, and more detailed information next time.
Feel free to ask any questions! I know it's an epic post but I wanted to share every aspect of this journey, I've sought the results the method brings my whole life and I'm excited to finally have it!
Have you tried the method? I'd love it if you share your journey (with links if you have them) in the comments