What I Learned in January

OR What I did during the big snow storm/stuck in the house week.

Browsing Pinterest can consume lots of time, but recently I discovered a little book that is taking over the “let’s get organized, clean out the crap, minimalist” crowd. You can find a wide range of people who fit in this category, from the obsessive/compulsive (nieces, you know who you are) to the hopelessly cluttered/bordering on hoarding.

Youtube videos introduced me to the Konmari method. If you’re sick of reading or hearing about this, just give an old woman a little patience and keep reading. I found iMarie K. delightful, and I have some friends who read this blog who will find it useful (just saying, Emalie, Robbie, and Bill).

bookcoverthe life-changing magic of tidying up  by Marie Kondo explains the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. If you watch her videos, Marie Kondo looks and sounds like a sweet young woman who could not possibly have any clutter around her. Until I read the book, I could just see this neat single woman going home to spotless apartment.

But when I saw videos of “before and after” organizing, I investigated further. Marie’s method has a very specific format to follow: clothes first, then books, then paper, etc. The key is to leave sentimental items until last. That helped me set aside the decision of what to do with a sweater knitted by Great Aunt Martha and a shawl made by my mother.

The process requires you to pull out every (yes, every) piece of clothing you have in your house and pile it up. The first experience is unbelief; “I can’t possibly have that many clothes”. The second step is touch each item and decide whether to keep or discard. But the key question to ask yourself, if you choose to keep it is, “does it spark joy?”

The third step is to follow her folding plan. Videos help you visualize how beneficial folding can be for space saving. I really doubted until I tried it myself. Watch Marie fold socks and underwear.

I didn’t take any “before” pictures because I didn’t start with a pile. My worry was that I would make this huge pile of clothes and then one of my chronics would flare up. These days IBS keeps popping up. Oh surprise!

First, I must explain that we have a very large walk-in closet and I have lots of dresser drawers. Sadly, they were all pretty jammed. Lately, I’ve had a pile of discards for Goodwill or the church that took up floor space.

Here’s a beginning picture of the shelves in my closet.begin

I didn’t buy any containers or racks, just used what I had. Marie encourages the use of cardboard boxes which I didn’t have, but we do have lots of plastic! I wasn’t so sure about folding all these pants, but jeans do very nicely as do t-shirts and sweaters.Jeans

All my jeans (I know, still too many) fit in this small space on the second shelf. Long-sleeved tees are beside them and sweaters below.

I have a few pants I keep for cold weather. Some winters I don’t need them, but I sure used them last week. This is the top shelf with room left over! That’s what surprised me.step 2

I kept a few things hanging: dress pants, jackets, and cotton shirts that I know would wrinkle. And then there is space left over for all the empty hangers!Closet 1

Closet 2HangersFolding for my drawers was just as amazing. This is still too many socks, especially when I look at it here. Why have four pairs of white? Because they are still good? I still need to work on some discarding but it is so easy to do now. I’ve put a cardboard box (leftover from our shredding project) in a corner in the bedroom to add discarded items. It has a top so I don’t have to look at it!Socks

underwearI can’t remember when I’ve had extra room in my drawers. I’ve only decluttered clothes for now. Books will be another huge project, even though I just traded in three big boxes at the used book store. We’ve been emptying old files from Larry’s business. I couldn’t stand any more piles for this place or that right now.

So that’s my story on tidying. Kondo has a new book out with illustrations and a journal.

One of the interesting ideas from Kondo is to thank your clothes each time you fold them. That’s a little strange to Americans, but it fits in with being thankful to God. Each time you fold an item, thank God for the gift. It is a reminder that everything we have comes from our Father.

I am thankful for

  • an abundance of clothing
  • finding new ways to appreciate what I have as well as sharing with others
  • my Internet connection finally working so I could finish this blog!



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