So, I’m definitely not abiding by Marie Kondo’s requirement that you do your tidying all together, in one fell swoop. In fact, I started this series in April and it’s almost September and I’m still not done.
But you know what else? I’m not sorry. Life happens, and sometimes progress is slow…but I am happy with said progress.
Today, I am excited to share an overly-thorough update for your reading pleasure.
The categories I’ve done
These are the areas of my home I’m truly enjoying…and the reason I’m still excited about tackling the (hardest) categories that remain—more on that later. In leiu of a category-by-category update, I’ll share some highlights and themes. Hopefully when I’m done (will I ever be done?!) I will share a more thorough update.
- My clothes are still tidy and awesome! I don’t fold things quite as often as I did right after the purge…but I’m still miles ahead of last year me.
- There’s a big stack of papers I need to go through, that is making my desk completely unusable. Turns out, the Konmari method doesn’t stem the flow of papers coming in that need to be dealt with, nor does it magically transform me into a person who wants to deal with papers! Alas, I’m pretty sure this pile will take me 30 minutes to get through. (Disclosure: I’ve just been to
busylazy to do it.) Alright, alright! I will do it this week. I will post a clean picture on Instagram.
- Loving the purged books, CDs and DVDs. The lack of unnecessary entertainment fluff is a delight, and I love how it all takes up less space than before.
- The kitchen is completely tidied! I broke it into four phases—cupboards (which was the BIG one), pantry, cleaning supplies, and small appliances. I’m feeling very lean and effective in there, these days. And it looks delightful, most of the time. It’s still the most-used room in the house, so stuff still tends to collect on the end of the counter—but with less stuff, overall, it’s easier to make time to go through that more frequently, so it’s less of a problem.
- I’ve totally and completely nailed body care products. I have only those I love; there’s no excessive bottles or jars anywhere. Here’s something funny: last time I needed to get shampoo, I bought Pert Plus, as a throwback to my amazement at age six that they had shampoo AND conditioner, in one bottle! Wow, why doesn’t everybody do that? Plus, it was three dollars. Turns out, at age 31, Pert Plus sucks, and does not condition my hair AT ALL, and I’m pretty sure it’s probably full of chemicals too, now that I got a good glimpse of that green color again. I got rid of it (before I finished it!) because I’m not putting up with crappy stuff anymore. See how that works?
- I have been wearing my (newly identified) signature combination of long necklace + lots of wrist bangles more often (as noted in Update 2, I recently discovered this makes me feel like a goddess). Funny you should ask, I love feeling like a goddess. We should all do it more often.
- The dresser in the dining room that holds candles and tablecloths now has EXTRA SPACE IN IT, guys. I thought it was chock-full of things I loved already, and it would be hard to cull it down…but in reality, I only loved about half of it, once I had it all out in the light of day. Mmmm…space. It’s a delightfully fresh feeling to open and close those drawers without wishing I could sit on everything like a suitcase to get it to compress to the right size. Also, I love tea candles, and I found five little tiny tea candle holders to line up on the bathroom windowsill. My baths just keep getting better.
Two important updates that deserve to be more than a bullet point:
I solved the problem of the discarded stuff!
I kept telling everyone how I was all conflicted on whether to have a garage sale…should I just donate the stuff? Or try to make some money at it? I eventually realized, I always was leading with “I don’t want to have a garage sale, but…”
There you have it. I never wanted to have a garage sale in the first place. The day I decided that was my final answer, I loaded up the car with donations and haven’t looked back since.
Now that the back of our house isn’t a dreadful, ugly pile, I have been listing a bunch of things on a local Facebook “stuff for sale” group (it’s more popular than Craigslist in this city), and have had a ton of luck. In fact, I sold almost $100 of stuff last week! So, best of both worlds. I donate everything, unless I think it’s particularly great, in which case I snap a picture with my phone and spend 2 minutes listing it on Facebook. Easy peasy.
I will also note: the undecided pile kept me from decluttering anything for more than two months, because there was nowhere to go with newly discarded stuff, and I hated the pile so badly. Something to watch for in your own tidying adventures!
I purged my sewing/craft inventory
This was another (emotionally) huge accomplishment. Having run a handmade and vintage Etsy shop for more than three years, I’ve amassed quite the collection of supplies—fabric, vintage sheets, zippers, pretty papers, stuffing, buckles, button, and baubles of all kinds. When I started, I didn’t know exactly what I’d be creating—I wanted options. I bought everything I could find that had potential, assuming I’d regret it if I passed these beauties by. Soon enough, the beauties were overflowing from the shelves in my sewing studio…and creeping into the guest room, and hall closet, besides.
I’ve been taking a break from my Etsy shop this year, and reassessing exactly what I’ll want in it moving forward. As I’ve been thinking it through, the physical stuff has been weighing on the intangible question—what do I want to create with these things? What don’t I want to create with these things?
When I finally figured out some answers, the stuff practically sorted itself. (Well, not really. It still took two afternoons of hard work. But deciding what to keep and what to let go of was relatively ease-y!)
As a result, I kept a small, focused collection of my favorite fabrics and supplies. And I sold 16(!) paper bags full of lovely fabric on Facebook. I’m happy to know they are, perhaps even now, being used to actually create things, instead of sitting on a shelf in my full-to-unusable sewing studio.
Coming up next
The categories that remain are few, but they are BIG. In square footage, and in emotional attachment. (I continue to be amazed at how we emotionally attach to our belongings. And not in an entirely bad way, either. I respect the connection I’ve made with the things I love; they are a physical representation of what I love in this world. I could probably make a whole blog post about that, so I’ll leave it there. For now.)
What remains is: a few simple categories I’ve been putting off for no good reason (like “home maintenance” and “towels and rags” and “the junk drawer”)…and the Three Big Ones. The basement, the garage and momentos.
The basement and the garage are both a cluster**** of my stuff intermixed with Jon’s. Storage mixed with practical things that are too bulky to keep in the house. Random crap we’ve had for years, each with a unique reason why we’ve justified keeping it for so long. Part of the reason I haven’t tackled either yet, is the sheer mix of stuff seems to resist categorization, therefore I’m not sure which piece to do first.
Here is my first draft of how to categorize.
Basement: Christmas decorations. Boxes and shipping supplies (another leftover from my Etsy shop). Camping supplies that need to be stored indoors. Wrapping paper. Miscellaneous crap.
Garage: Gardening/yard supplies. The rest of the camping supplies. Car stuff. Miscellaneous crap.
Okay. That’s progress. I’ll leave it for another day to get motivated enough to actually tidy.
And the momentos. Oh, the momentos. Photos I’ve been saving since I had my first camera, stuffed animals, figurines, keepsakes with memories attached, good and bad..alas! There’s a reason that category is last, and I’m going to choose to not think about it yet.
Over to you!
Have you done any decluttering and organizing lately? What accomplishments feel good—and what is tripping you up? Email me or leave a note in the comments!