In earnest, I’ve been trying to gain control of my day to day life. I’ve read books and blogs on how to clean, when to clean, how to organize and plan your days. Nothing seemed to be helping me, I would just end each day, after day, just a little more tired and dizzy from all of my efforts. Chasing kids, keeping up with work and somehow still trying to have a life has left me exhausted, and frustrated. Recently, since the New Year holiday, I’ve had two different concepts present themselves to me over and over from various sources. The first being a “capsule wardrobe” the second being Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up”. For the unaware or uninitiated: a capsule wardrobe is a very limited collection of clothing for a given season (less than 40 items, not including under garments, exercise or loungewear). Marie Kondo in her book explains her Konmari method of organizing or tidying up, which essentially boils down to a de-cluttering process in which you get rid of anything that doesn’t ‘spark joy in your life’. Insert eyeroll wherever you please, but I’m giving both a whirl after having each cross my path too many times for me not to notice.
I’ve done the clothes now. My stuff, Mr.’s stuff (he chose what he kept), and both of the kids. We are down to a minimum for the summer. Winter too, really. We will all probably need to supplement our winter wardrobes when it gets cold again because we purged that much. You’re welcome Goodwill. I really believe that a capsule wardrobe and the Konmari method go hand in hand. So now, we have less stuff and we have a better way of storing it. I will not bore you with before and after pictures of our clothes, closets and drawers, or samples of the many outfits I can put together with my now more simplified wardrobe.
I’m am still in the midst of the de-cluttering process. Konmari suggests an order in which you de-clutter categories of things rather than rooms or areas. I’m still going through papers, soon to be finished I hope. Next up is what she calls komono or miscellaneous items. But here’s the thing, she details ever so briefly what should be included in that category, but her world does not parallel my world. The author is Japanese and writes from a perspective of a woman who has a room in her parent’s home. She is not an individual responsible for an entire house that has more than one member. If I am to ‘konmari’ all of my stuff, that entails de-cluttering an entire home and the possessions of at least three people. So I’ve come up with my own list for my “komono”. In no specific order:
Kitchen small appliances and pots/pans
Kitchen small tools (knives, gadgets etc)
Kitchen small wares (dishes, glasses, silverware and anything else in the kitchen that wasn’t covered in the other two categories)
Pantry and refrigerator
Laundry and cleaning supplies
Bathroom items/personal care/health products
Linens (towels, kitchen towels, sheets, napkins etc)
Craft supplies (my hobby stuff – tools, fabric, notions, patterns, yarn and more)
Home improvement (tools, paint, hardware)
Office items and supplies
Toys and children’s books (time to involve the kids and thin out their horde, retaining only what they really love and actually play with)
Christmas décor (I have three storage bins – I’m certain I can get rid of some of it)
Electronics and CDs
Old baby clothes and gear (stuff saved for just in case of a #3)
I will save the last three items for last because I imagine those will be the hardest to de-clutter and release.
I’ve still got a long way to go. My spare room (the multipurpose guest/craft/storage room) looks like a bomb went off inside it. I have a lot to de-clutter before that space will look tamed.
I keep checking in with myself as I am going through this process of purging. Asking myself if I’m feeling like the process is helping me and if I’m gaining from it what I had hoped. So far the answer has been ‘yes’. Konmari has helped me gain the perspective I needed, and in some ways the permission, to part ways with many items that I’ve held on to because they were still functional or because they held some sentiment in the past. We’ve moved enough over the years for me to viscerally know that we have too much stuff. We also lived for four months with a portion of our stuff while it sat in a 5×10 storage unit, and for the most part I missed very little of it. So I know that we can live without that stuff, even live happier without it. Perhaps by getting rid of more of our past possessions we will be free to live more in the present. And maybe that is what I need: to feel less overwhelmed in my current life because the detritus of my earlier life is no longer weighing me down.
Am I failing to eloquently wrap up my thoughts and this post? Maybe, but I’m in the middle of this process of getting everything out and not putting any of it away until it has been sorted, so I don’t think I can end this with some kind of powerful summation yet. Join me for the ride though, I’ll be back to revisit this again.