My last post about the KonMari method sparked interest in a lot of you, so I’m back with another update on my Great Purge! (Here’s the first one, in case you missed it.)
I wasn’t kidding when I said that book got me fired up about tidying. I catch myself wishing, often, that I could stop working and stop doing everything so I can just finish the purge already. But alas, I must make a living. And socialize. And take pictures of my cats.
Here’s a quick update on where I’m at in the Great Purge, starting with the three categories you already heard about:
This remains a motivational category. Every single day, I enjoy how light my wardrobe is, and there are only two items of clothing I’ve regretted putting in the toss bag. (Full disclosure: I still have the bags. I plan to dig out said items before they leave the house.)
Changing remains ritual-like; since the purge, it’s much easier to keep the habit of folding and putting away my clothes after I’ve worn them. With one exception—last week I let a pile start and it had at least ten things in it before I took three minutes to tidy it up again. Ain’t no thang.
I love my new system of papers. (To sum up: Avoid Keeping Papers.) I’ve had the pleasure of needing a document just two times since the paper purge, and it was nice and easy to pull out the one folder and rifle through the stack. I have been working my way through the big stack of “deal with me!” papers, and am delighted to report it’s almost nil. And for the record, I haven’t missed a single thing I’ve thrown away.
Not much to say about books yet, other than I’m in a strange phase (for me) in which I simply cannot get into any books. I’ve read voraciously, non-stop, since I was a child. And since the purge (and in fact, before it) I’ve had very little interaction with this category. Weeeeiiiirrrrdddd. Maybe I’m just chock full of information and can’t handle anymore.
Other categories I’ve done:
CDs & DVDs
I used this purge as impetus to finally get through the mile-high stack of burned CDs saved from high school and college. I sat down at the computer and went through them all, and ended up with just 6 or 7 that had a large enough ratio of good songs to keep. Man, I had some terrible taste in music during some of those phases! Also, all the songs I still love from back then I have on Spotify playlists now, so…who needs CDs anyway? I kept a couple goodies for the car, though.
Our DVD collection screams SUPERHERO MOVIES, which are clearly our favorite. I parted with a handful of movies that don’t excite me anymore, but no major changes here. (We keep them all in a big binder, and the cases are in a box in the basement. Is it cool to get rid of that box of cases? Will I regret it? Please discuss in the comments. I really don’t want them.)
Body care products
I had already whittled down my collection of products, so this was mostly an exercise of getting everything I own in one place and doing an inventory. I did find a handful of things to toss (I had six nail files! How silly.) After getting rid of all the nail polish that has separated, I only have two colors left. (But they’re two really great ones…gold and dusty rose.) And I’ll be honest, the non-toxic-ness of my body care collection never fails to thrill me.
There was a prescription in there for one of the cats that got ditched…some expired dramamine…special bandages left over from a 2-years-healed injury. A wrist guard I don’t use. It’s all fresh and spacious up in there now.
This category was really fun. Here is what I learned: I have an awesome collection of long necklaces. I used to wear big spangly dangly earrings, but I don’t anymore (and I felt really weird trying them on). Bracelets totally do it for me, and it’s even better when there’s lots of them on my wrist, clanging together; it makes me feel like a goddess. I found some headbands I forgot about, which I adore (including a broken gold one I need to replace, because I miss wearing it). I set aside a lot of jewelry that qualifies as “mementos”…that category is kinda freaking me out, guys. It keeps getting bigger. And I’m so emotionally attached.
I’ll be honest, I dreaded the start of this category. We had cords in at least six places in the house, and truth be told, I didn’t know what a third of them were for. We kept a little less than half of them, and they are so TIDY! There’s a drawer in the kitchen for our most-used chargers and little items, plus a bigger bin of extension cords and such, which I’m not exactly sure where to keep just yet. The big finish here felt rewarding.
If anyone needs an iPod Classic with the fancy click wheel…I’ve got one for grabs. Comes stocked with my jams circa 2005. It may or may not function properly, I haven’t used it in 5 years.
The pantry was also fun. Because, hello food! I have a beautiful butler’s pantry with tall glass doors and pretty shelves Jon and I painted right after we moved in. The room is a borderline obnoxious shade of yellow that makes me happy…and you should have seen the room with food stacked everywhere the eye could see. (When I realized what a mess I’d made, I really wished I hadn’t started, to be honest.)
Before the purge, there was a wide open almost-empty shelf, next to another shelf so crammed full of beans, dried fruit and nuts that the doors wouldn’t close. These things just happen sometimes.
While everything was out, I moved some of our commonly-used staples from their various bags, boxes and packaging to mason jars, and cleared a spot on the counter so when I run out of something I will remember to bring the jar to the Co-op to fill up in the bulk section. I consolidated lots of containers, and in getting rid of just the extra packaging, cleared a whole bunch of extra space. I can totally see what we have now, at a glance (unlike last month, when I bought a second jar of Balsamic to match the already-full one I already had…or neglecting to see the three separate little baggies full of sunflower seeds).
Here’s a new thing: we now buy enough beans and dried fruit to necessitate an entire shelf of the pantry. That didn’t used to be the case. Also, my supply of home canned jam is dangerously low.
There’s so much I want to share about pantries, guys. I might have to write a book about it. (I’m totally not kidding. Also I’m thinking about making spice jar labels…and if they turn out cute, I might sell ‘em. Thoughts?)
Candles. The Kitchen (not sure yet if I’ll break that down into chunks, or make one big day of it). Cleaning products.
The discarded stuff
The things I’m parting with are taking up an ever-growing corner of the back of the house. I so wish there had been a chapter of the book devoted to what to do with this, because “discarding” it isn’t specific enough. I still haven’t decided whether I should have a garage sale. Currently leaning yes…but it changes by the day. If I have a garage sale, would you come? That would make it less boring. Please say yes. If enough of you say yes, I will make cookies.
GETTING RID OF THE STUFF FEELS LIKE SUCH A BIG THING. I sense a missed opportunity if I don’t try to sell some of it…because there’s some good stuff in here! I almost want to keep most of it! And I could use some extra dough. But on the other hand…meh. So much work. And I’m just not sure I’m committed to an extra investment in these things.
And now, some random thoughts on decluttering.
In no particular order.
- I really love the act of thanking your old things for their service, and wishing them well in the future. I want to keep it forever. When you think of how much energy all that clutter and extra stuff drains from you when you have it…think of the opposite that happens when you release it! Beautiful.
- After purging my closet, I wore an outfit—jeans and a cardigan—that fit funny. And even though I’ve worn these two items tons of times before with the same funny fit, this time I decided I was over it. That night at home, into the donate pile they went. Because I realized: why waste my time with clothes that don’t fit? I don’t have to put up with that. (Imagine how good the rest of the wardrobe feels, guys. It changes your brain, I swear.)
- Somewhere in the book, I think she says your “once and for all purge” takes six months. At the time I thought that was a long time…but I get it. Life happens; I think the important thing is to not lose steam. Which is easy enough to do when you get a good start—because the rewards of tidying those first few categories make the rest of it feel worth it, for sure.
- I have also had the thought when doing my own purge that the book is a little too prescriptive—do this and exactly this! You know me, I like things individualized, flexible and exactly right for me. That being said; I obviously was hunting for a method—any method!—to kick start my purge. This book nailed it, because obviously, I’m doing it now. With gusto.
- My brother started tidying his apartment. (I like to think it’s because I’m such a good influence.) He sent me this text: “Why is there a pencil in my bathroom? No idea.” That text sums up my own repeated realizations about the way I used to organize things.
That’s it for now, dear! Thanks for reading.
And if you have any of your own decluttering questions or adventures, please do share in the comments!
Or email me anytime, I do so love to hear from you.