What is it that they say? A cluttered home makes for a cluttered mind? Something along those lines. Well, I’ve jumped on the konmari method to reduce clutter from a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I had been seeing info about it around the internet, but just decided to take the plunge this week. Marie Kondo a young Japanese woman wrote the book and it’s an entire manifesto on how to deal with your stuff.
Her main point is that we all have too much stuff, and that we should only keep what sparks joy in our lives. I’m actually at a place in our home management where I feel good about the routines that we have set up. Laundry is our biggest struggle, but our home is pretty clean (that is in no small part because we have someone who helps us clean), but I still feel like we are drowning in a sea of clutter sometimes. It all gets picked up off the floor for cleaning, but we just have piles hanging around. I can’t blame storage, I can’t really blame anything. We just have way more coming in than going out, and I think I’m way past the number of items that I can take care of neatly. I refer to this as a stuff threshold.
Tommy and I were just talking about this yesterday, because I did a HUGE purge in the afternoon. We were talking about how his stuff threshold was higher than mine. And it’s true. He can organize more individual items than I can. He also has a harder time letting go of items. Also, he has a higher tolerance for mess than I do. Well, let me put that a little differently, I can definitely let the house get more trashed than he can….however, I will be more upset about it than him. I guess all of that goes together. I tend to get more overwhelmed with more stuff, hence not knowing what to do in great disarray, hence getting more pissy about a huge mess.
Anyway, that was enough of a digression. The konmari method has you start with purging clothes. Unlike other methods where you do a little at a time, this method is all about doing a large amount all at once so that you can appreciate the results immediately, before you lose your momentum. She says that in this way you can make a change more permanently. We shall see. I hope so.
So, I did it. I went through the entire house and gathered every item of clothing that I could find (of mine) and I picked up each article one at a time. Before I tell you all about the experience of going through the clothing, can I just say how excited I was to be making a large change in our space.
I crave change. I do not take easily to routine, and anything I perceive as positive change is always welcome. So I could feel a great taste of excitement in the air as I gathered all of my clothes. I thought this would be easy. I’m not that into clothes. I just don’t get that excited about them, and I don’t have very many either…not compared to some women.
But I could feel myself getting irritable as I pulled my clothing all together. I was supposed to pick up each piece of clothing and ask myself if it sparked joy, however the feelings that were sparked were so far from joy that I was soon in a terrible mood. I picked up my “favorite” pair of dress pants and looked at them. The hem was falling out of them, and I’d pinned it back up with safety pins long ago…I pulled the pins out of the cuff and resolved to finally fix the hem. And then I saw the real reason that I haven’t worn them in over 2 years, they had a large grease stain on them that I’d been unable to remove.
That pair of pants was actually near the bottom of the pile. I had a large number of shirts that had stains or holes. There were a bunch of things that were not my style that were gifts, or bought at times in my life when I wore different kinds of clothing. I think I donated three quarters of the contents of my closet and dresser today.
It felt sad to me, because it feels like I’ve been not taking good care of myself. How can I claim to love myself, and be on this journey of self awareness when I adorn myself, my body, my temple with worn out, stained, and ill fitting clothing that isn’t my style?
Well, no more. Every bit of the clutter that was tied up with those emotions has left the house, and I’ll be purchasing a few pieces of well fitting clothing with my fun money this month. It will be my apology gift to my body. Do you struggle with keeping up with your home? What is the most difficult aspect for you?