My Journey – One Year Later

posterAs I sat down to write this post, the phone rang. On my way to answer it, the sunlight was hitting the living room floor in such a way that I noticed it needed to be swept. So I took the phone call, then ran a broom across the floor. Twenty minutes later I came back to start the post – again. This is relevant only because it speaks to why, after a year, I am still not finished KonMari-ing my home. It’s not because I am easily distracted but because sometimes other things become more important. Even though I am not completely finished, a year seems like a good point to stop and take stock of how the process has gone so far, and to share this so you’ll know that the only timeline that matters is your own.

Successes

I think it’s important to talk about the successes and the progress made.  If you don’t note these small milestones, it can make it harder to continue. So here are just a few:

  • My closets and clothing drawers are still in perfect KM condition. I still fold all of my clothes into neat rectangles. Yes, it takes a while to fold the laundry, but there are only two of us and I find that I really don’t mind it. I still continue to discard items as I find they no longer bring me joy – or I don’t like them anymore – or they don’t fit well. Whatever the reason, the only clothes in my closets are the items I want there. What’s more – I’m much more judicious about what I purchase and bring into the house.
  • My husband and daughter both got on board. I’m fairly certain my husband could benefit from another round through his closet, but the first one produced so many items to discard that I am not complaining. And the fact that he let me do is dresser drawers was an added bonus. My daughter still has about a half dozen tubs of childhood stuff in her closet, but she got rid of twice that. And those tubs will go with her when she moves into her first permanent home.
  • No rebounding. The kitchen cabinets have remained neat and clutter free, I keep much less of the paper that comes into the house than I used to, and the last time I printed photos I only printed the best ones.
  • We didn’t buy the t-shirt. Yep – I can’t even think of the last time a souvenir or commemorative one came into this house. Score one for us!

Hurdles

I hesitate to call anything a failure because I honestly don’t see the fact that a certain category has not been completed in that way. (A failure would be having to redo my drawers again.) But there have been some hurdles along the way which have kept me from being as far along as I had hoped by this point.

  • Emptying the attic and storage unit AFTER starting the process. Introducing more clothing and books and paper after those categories had already been done really threw a monkey wrench in the procedure. And it is why I thoroughly advocate Kondo’s recommendation to do all of a category at one time. If I had followed that advice, I might be finished by now.
  • You can’t KonMari other people’s stuff. Much of what came out of the attic and storage unit belonged to my husband and daughter. Hubby is still trying to determine what to do with boxes of collectibles. Progress is being made, but it’s his to make, not mine, even though I do feel the impact.
  • I took a few breaks. And I totally feel that they were necessary.  Getting rid of your stuff is not an easy task. Taking a step back to assess where you are can help keep you going. Some breaks weren’t by choice. The death of a friend, the health crisis of a family member – these things took precedence. And they helped to remind me that people are what’s important, not things – which is why I started this in the first place.

What’s Next?

So where do I go from here? Well, according to the KonMari Method, I’ve only got photos and sentimental items left. But I have sixty photo albums and am not 100% on board with Kondo’s recommendation for photos, so that will be a challenge. Since I’ve been waiting until I am completely finished to put some things away, many items are not in their final homes yet. Once I’ve gone through the sentimental items, I’ll be able to put many things in their proper place. Then I will know it is complete.

My ultimate goal is to help others, who are so inclined, to do what I have done. And if it helps me earn some retirement income, well then that will be great too. So, my journey is not finished yet but it is about to get back on track. I hope you’ll stay with me for the rest of the ride.

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If One is Good, More is Better?

20160425_103858Last week in our KonMari Facebook group we were challenged to identify a task we wanted to complete by the end of the week.  As you may have already discovered about me, I’m a big fan of deadlines (most of the time), so I was on board.  My goal was to declutter my desk area.  It’s where I write this blog and pay bills and, even in this digital age, I still have a tremendous amount of paper clutter. (Though I did take five boxes to the shred truck a couple of weeks ago.)  The desk was starting to get overrun and was not the most conducive space for writing, so I started the discard process.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had too many pairs of scissors, so the extra ones went, along with some blank CDs and envelopes, a box of Crayola markers, and half-a-dozen flash drives. I was left with a much more orderly space that invites me to sit and work (or pay).

What didn’t I discard?  Pens. Sharpies. Mechanical pencils.  Apparently, I live by the motto, “If one is good, a bajillion is better.”  Ten tubs of t-shirts. Sixty photo albums. Sixty-seven writing implements.  SIXTY-SEVEN. How many do I use regularly?  Two.  A black ball point that writes beautifully (it was a favor from a wedding I attended last year), and a Bic mechanical pencil. I use them each for different tasks in my planner (yes a paper planner – digital immigrant, not native), and the others I just like to look at.  This total doesn’t even include the box of colored pencils I haven’t opened to go with the adult coloring book I still haven’t opened, or the pencil cup that sits by the phone in the kitchen.  Sixty-seven pens, pencils, and Sharpies at my desk and I use two.  And you know what?  I’m okay with that.

I’m not artistic, but the colored pens make me feel like I could be.  I love to write, and a keyboard makes that so much quicker, but sometimes a pen is more efficient. Mechanical pencils mean there is no need for a sharpener. And Sharpies…well, do they really need any explanation?  The question central to the KonMari method is, “Does this spark joy?” My answer is yes; these pieces spark joy for me.  And I don’t care that I have sixty-seven of them within arm’s reach.  And I don’t think Kondo would care either. Don’t pass judgment on yourself.  The whole point of this tidying-up process is to make your living and/or work space joyful for you.  If that means multiples, so be it.  Four-hundred t-shirts isn’t really working for me anymore, so they are going. But sixty-seven writing implements in varying styles and colors make me happy – so they stay.  In the future, I might decide to part with them (or at least USE them), but for now this is how it stands. The longer you KonMari, the more attuned you become to what’s important to you.  Follow that instinct and you won’t go wrong – even if it means keeping unused Sharpies.

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How it Began

In June of 2015, I retired from a thirty-year career in education. Immediately, everyone wanted to know what I was going to do with my time.  I wasn’t one-hundred percent certain of anything, but I knew there were plenty of projects waiting for me around the house. You know, all those things that you start but can’t finish because the weekend, break, or summer vacation isn’t long enough.  Being a teacher though, my first order of business was simply to enjoy my summer vacation as I always had; that meant a trip to the bookstore.

I picked up an adult coloring book that I thought would be perfect for cold winter days in front of the fire (still in pristine condition, by the way), and a couple of perfect summer reads set in the beach towns of the the Northeast. As I was heading to the check-out counter, the title of a rather small book caught my eye – the life changing magic of tidying up. I scanned a few pages and was immediately hooked.  This book was coming home with me.