Friday, September 25, 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: Bed Linens

Marie Kondo believes that a whole house tidy should progress in a certain order, starting with items that are easier to sort through, such as clothing and books, and ending with items that are most difficult, such as memorabilia.  After completing clothing and books, you are supposed to move on to paper. Well that was far more daunting for me.  I have WAY too much paper.  And it is in serious disarray at the moment.  In fact I wasted a whole day of not doing any new tidying.  Although I did finally wrap up the getting rid of process for my clothing and books.  (First load to charity done!)

Rather than bog down and give up, I chose to stay within her reasoning of going from easy to hard and choose another category that would be easier than paper: Bed Linens.  I found very little on the subject online, but there was a section in the book that basically said extra linens for guests should be gotten rid of unless you have such guests more than twice a year.  We have seven members of the family and regularly have grandparents over.  And we live where there are all four seasons, so having blankets that come out in Winter and are stored in Summer is a necessity.  On top of that, both sides of the family have strong quilting/crocheting heritages.  And we camp.  Needless to say there is a LOT of bedding in our house.  Thankfully, we are blessed with a big hall closet we call "the blanket closet".  But, it was seriously out of control:

A closer view.  That deep top shelf?  It's actually 2 shelves.

So, out it all came into one BIG pile:

I surprised myself with how much I got rid of.  I calculated how many blankets, sheet sets, sleeping bags, etc that we really needed and was able to get rid of the ones in the worst condition.  We had gifts that had served a long and useful life and could be now let go without any guilt.  Even if someone hand makes you something, if you've worn and loved it to the point that you know a charity that received it would just throw it out, it can be let go.  In the end there were 4 big bags to donate. Instead of letting the get rid of pile sit around, I tackled it right away.  Its all out in my car, ready to go.  It felt much better to do it quickly.

 I had several blankets that we don't use because they are baby quilts, antiques, etc that would belong more in the memorabilia category.  They all got their own shelf and I may revisit them later when I do that category.  But, for now, everything is much tidier!

I did not fold things the Konmari way, because I'm just not sure that would work so well with blankets and I didn't want to add more folds than necessary to quilts, which I know is bad for them.  It will soon be time to add blankets to the beds for cooler weather.  It will truly be a joy to do so from the newly organized closet!

I then went on to kitchen/Table linens.  That was quick because I don't own many table linens.  My kitchen linens were basically good towels, nasty dishcloths and extra special towels.  I couldn't get rid of any of them, but I did add dishcloths to my shopping list.

The Life Changing Magic of Japanese Tidying: Books

After skipping a day to hang out with my husband at the zoo, I moved onto Konmaring my books.  I LOVE books, but I don't have a lot of them because I also LOVE libraries and rarely read the same book more than once.  I forgot to take a picture of my books before, but suffice it to say that I got rid of over half of them.  Marie Kondo says she only has 30 books.  I have more than that, but probably winnowed down significantly more than most people do.

Books to get rid of:

I did break three of Marie Kondo's rules. 

1.  She says that a book that you haven't read, but intend to someday, is really a book you will never read.  I have 13 such books that are sitting separately on their own shelf.  I intend to prove her wrong.  
2. She also wouldn't like that some of my books are horizontally stored.  She thinks everything should be vertical.  She even stores her laptop vertically like a book on the shelf.  But, this is the way they seemed to fit best on my shelves.

3.  I am not storing all of my books in one place.  She says all items in a category should be in one place because you really don't have to travel far in a typical Japanese home to get to anything and storing everything keeps storage simple.  My home is not a typical Japanese home and the book case is on a different floor from my kitchen.  It just makes sense to store those in my kitchen.  There are other books I want to store elsewhere but didn't.  By bird field guide would, for example, be much handier near where I see birds.

My Tidy Bookshelf

Stay tuned:  I'm about to break another rule!

The Magic of Japanese Tidying: Clothing

Last week I heard about this book about organizing.  The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo.  It has been a very long time since I've read a book on organizing, mostly because they all started to sound pretty much the same.  But this book has apparently sold over 3 million copies and been a New York Times Bestseller.  Reading it has inspired me and made me excited about decluttering and tidying my home.

 Google searches come up with page after page of people trying and applying the methods, and going into depth about what it is all about.  So, I'm not going to go into all that.  I will say that one principle of Konmari (the nickname of the method) is that you need to do it all at once to really create change and keep from reverting to old cluttering habits.  This can take up to 6 months, but I intend to measure it in weeks, not months.  And show my progress on my blog.  You start with clothes.  Gather every article of clothing from everywhere in the house.  I didn't grab any dirty laundry, but I gathered from my closet, dresser, laundry room and hall closet.  I can be organized at times, so they didn't look too bad:  This is my closet with all of my Spring/Summer clothing out and the Autumn/Winter stuff in bins that you really can't see.

My Sock drawer, however, looked very disorganized:

So, you take it all and pile it all on the floor.  This includes shoes, accessories and jewelry:

Judging everything, individually, simply based on whether or not it sparks joy made going through it all surprisingly quick.  I really could easily determine about how I felt about each item.  My husband has bought me a lot of really great clothing, including shoes.  But, there are misses that I've hung on to and worn because I didn't want to hurt his feelings.  Going through my stack of no joys allowed me to identify why there were misses.  Instead of feeling bad about my getting rid of things he had given me, he was happy because I was able to explain what I don't like (so he won't buy things that I won't like in the future) and because he really appreciates tidiness.  

End result, this is the good bye pile:

This is the final tidy closet:

It doesn't look much different, but this is now ALL of my clothing and not just for the current season.  I no longer will need to switch out clothing with the seasons.  Which definitely brings me joy!

Everything was folded and put into my dresser.  I already folded my jeans and shirts the Konmari way, but not my socks.  Her way is much tidier!

Lessons learned:  While I didn't talk to my stuff or think its alive, this method did make me more aware of each item and its role in my life.  Secondly, getting rid of the get rid of stuff took much longer than sorting or folding.  Part of that stemmed from the desire to pass it on to my daughters.  Which is a big no no according to Marie!  

Next item:  Books!