Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Tidying Up" Part 1: Can you get rid of stuff you've made?

I am excited/trepidatious to jump on the KonMarie method bandwagon and get to tidying up. Unless you've been living under a rock made of your own petrified clutter, you've probably heard of Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

His and hers folded shirts. I took these pics today, 10 days out, and did not tidy at all to take them.
I didn't take "before" pictures because we all know what a ridiculously full closet/cupboard/drawer looks like

Her book is based on the inspiringly simple concept that you should only be surrounded by things that bring you joy. Once one has disposed of everything that does not fit this qualification (presumably at least half your earthly belongings) the remainder will easily fit, folded to Kondo's exacting specifications, into your available storage.

Doing this purge all at once, Kondo posits, will result in such a dramatic change that you will simply never go back.

Kondo obviously does not have kids. 

Still, her concepts are fresh and inspirational and we have committed to them, and I plan to share my journey with you as we go, KonMarie-ing our life.

This is now all of our clothes, all seasons, minus what lives in the dresser.  Not bad, I think

The first installment occurred over Memorial Day weekend and we managed to sort through all of our non-kid clothing, shoes, outerwear, and kitchen. We put our hands upon each and every item, asked ourselves if it gave us joy, thanked the losers and sent them on their way. 

Sophie then removed the items from the outbox, declared that they did indeed give HER joy, put them on or otherwise spread them throughout the house, and whined constantly throughout. Also every item and drawer in my kitchen got washed and sanitized and mouse traps were set at possible mouse turd sources.

We bickered, made a mess, and donated over 20 paper grocery bags full, plus sold $226 of stuff on ebay.

Waiting for Purple Heart pickup

Despite all the unpleasantness, I must say that my kitchen and closets feel light and airy, like a show home, and my beautifully folded drawers give me inexplicable joy.

So airy! So sparse!


Truly the biggest gift was the empowerment I felt discarding things I made myself. I've never before been able to pass on my handmade "babies", but I threw them in with all of my other clothes and measured them against the same yardstick: did I love the color, cut, and fit? Did I reach for them often? Did it give me a spark of joy to hold them in my hands?

Things that didn't make the cut were so much easier to part with after I thanked them, per Kondo's instructions. Crazy  though it may be, I held these objects from my past and said out loud, "thank you for teaching me about bias binding. Thank you for showing me what is not a great length on me. Thank you for being fun the make. Thank you for being almost right. Thank you for being a benchmark of my progress."

My skills have progressed, my taste has sharpened. As a seamstress, I am perhaps even more ruthless than the average tidyer about clothes whose fit or comfort misses the mark, and, rather than pang me with grief, getting rid of past projects actually made me excited to fill my now-spacious closet with me-mades that simply thrill

Friends, tell me: can you get rid of the makes that miss the mark???


Less stuff = more time for "the moments".  Here's Soph at the Peony garden in the Ann Arbor Arboretum 

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