When I first read about Marie Kondo and the KonMari Method through a “suggested for you” article online, I was struck. As I way of coping with stress, I love organization. Clutter gives me anxiety. It’s visual noise and I hate to have it around. So I have loved reading the endless articles out there on organization, cutting clutter, downsizing possessions and the like. Spurred by some desire to be more Franciscan and a scrupulous fear of being materialistic, seeing all my possessions together in a U-haul or a POD made me sick to my stomach. I hated that I owned so much, yet could see no way around it.
I made some peace after reading the advice to discard what you have not used in a year. Rotating from pregnant to not pregnant, I made two years my measure and discarded several large bags of clothes when it was apparent I had too many possessions for our little one bedroom apartment in metropolitan Virginia.
We moved from Virginia to California, from a small apartment to a large home in the country and our possessions grew. Oy vay, sick to my stomach we had no where to put our things when we moved to a normal size home in town. So boxed and other items were stored at my parents. So much so that when we moved again, there are things of which we still do not know the whereabouts.
I’ve sought to cut clutter, so have everything neatly stored away in boxes, in cupboards, in the attic, in the garage. But it’s not enough. If I could get rid of more, I would. But how to do it? I use what I have. I just use a lot of things throughout the year.
In walks Marie Kondo. I read about her book. The next day I went out and bought her book. The key in discarding possessions, is not to ask have I used this in the last year, but rather to ask, does this bring me joy. Well!
I have clothes that I purchased in my last pregnancy and last postpartum period that I was a little sad to put away. They brought me such joy. I have antiques in my home or items I created that I delight in when I look at them. We’re not purely spiritual beings, things that affect our senses move us.
So perhaps you will end up with a lot less, but you will love to use what you have. When a thing’s time has passed and it no longer gives you joy, you take a moment of gratitude for it’s time or memory or use and let it go. How interesting!
I began to look eagerly around my home.
But wait, Kondo does not recommend working little by little. Rather she says you must do this in one fell swoop, so that the energy you gain from your success spurs you on to the next. Rather than taking a room by room approach, you work at categories. First clothes, then books, then papers, then miscellaneous items and lastly, sentimental items. The earlier categories are meant to have the least emotional attachment. She declares you will grow in the skill of discerning the joy of an item as you progress, so by the time you reach old photographs, you can tell more definitively what gives you joy, and keep or discard accordingly.
I spoke with my mother and scheduled some workdays, as we had in the summer. My husband can work on whatever projects he likes and I will tackle what I can each work day with my kids running amok for want of attention.
So let the games begin!
Except that her version of “quickly” or “one fell swoop” is about 6 months. That idea overwhelmed me at first, but 6 months seems do-able when your nesting instincts are in full swing.
Thank for adding that! I was uncertain how long it actually takes. After one day I couldn’t imagine this as a non-stop project for someone who has never de-cluttered!
Also, the experience, as you may know, is rather addicting. It’s actually a little hard to stop.