Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Art of Tidying Up - Here It Is, Look at My Crap

Well hey friends! Remember me? I'm the one that's super horrible at keeping  up with regular posts...

So it's not like I've been doing anything too crazy to keep me away. Sometimes, it's just the simple matter of fun stuff geting in the way of other fun stuff.

One of the things that I've been doing is reading. That's right:good old-fashioned, text-on-paper reading. This book, actually: 
I surprised even myself with this one. Usually (and, in all honesty still most often) I'm a fan of the chick-lit, quick reading murder thriller books. To my surprise, I've found myself really liking non-fiction - mainly business books, how-to and living-life-to-the-fullest kind of books. I barely recognize myself here, guys.

Basically, this book has been trolling the internet - websites, YouTube, Amazon etc. and all the places I frequently visit. It's been slowly taunting me for months.

Full disclosure here: I'm kind of a mess. I've never been a "tidy" person. There are very few places in my house that don't collect random crap and I'm fairly confident in sayings that's only because my husband throws out a lot of stuff that I don't notice are gone. Finally, I gave into the slow and constant bullying that is the Amazon Recommendations page and purchased the book. I started reading it (as soon as I found it because, in true form, I immediately lost it after opening the box) and couldn't put it down. It just made sense.

And I thought it would be a good blog series. So... Voila! Here I am - view my crap with interest and learn from my many mistakes! The book claims if I follow all the steps and really put everything I have into it, it will become a habit that I cannot break. Basically - crap-no-more (in 300 pages or less).

Marie Kondo (author) has a pretty simple concept. Look at everything you have, touch everything one by one and ask yourself one thing: "does this inspire joy?" If the answer is yes, the item is kept and you find a place for it to live. It stays in that place forevermore.

What does she recommend staring with first? Clothes.

I had a lot, and none of them were... how shall I say... kept "neatly".
And my messiness doesn't stop there... it also crept into the closet.
So. Much. Stuff. You wouldn't know it by looking at the above picture, but there is an entire clothes rack behind that rack to the left that holds all my husbands clothes. He basically limbo's his way to his shirts every morning.

Step one: Take every piece of clothing you own and throw it in the middle of the floor. Then, go through each and every piece and decide what to keep or what to "discard". (*Side Note* Unless it had tons of holes or was really dirty, I didn't "discard" anything, but bagged it up for donation. Salvation Army is making a killing off of me.)
Don't mind my cat's tail right there on the bottom left. I think he was confident I'd finally lost my mind and wanted to be front and center to that show.

Going through shirts, dresses, pants, etc. was actually quite easy and I got the hand of the "inspire joy" concept very quickly... and then I got to my undershirts, bras and the like (i.e. boring stuff). How does one determine joy from these things? Basically, I switched to the old fashioned "Does it fit? keep it. Is it uncomfortable? Toss it." This wasn't how it was to be done according to the book, but I figured it was the best I was going to do without throwing everything out and starting over. Shopping, of course, gives me joy.

Step Two: Shoes.

I had never realized how many random places I kept my shoes. Kondo definitely concentrates on going in "categories" of tidying instead of rooms. It's actually a pretty smart concept when explained: basically, if you don't truly look at everything you have at once, everything will be continued to be thrown all over the house. The idea of categories is to get everything in the category together, weed through it, and then stash everything in one place. Mind = blown.

Once I had all my shoes together on the floor, I was torn between being proud that I had that many shoes and disappointed that I didn't have more.
It took two pictures to show them all... *pride wins*
So  - what were the results?

Altogether, I only kept 18 pairs of shoes. And forgot to take pictures of it. So... there's that. I donated 2 large garbage bags of shoes.

I did, however, remember to take pictures of the clothes post-sorting. This, and the pile of blazers on the couch is what I kept.
And this pile is what I am giving away to charity. This was equal to three large trash bags.
The last category I went through was my purses. And again, I failed to take pictures. I'm out of shape when it comes to blogging, I guess. I'll do better in the next category (maybe). Altogether, I donated 1/2 a large garbage bag of purses.

This is what I kept, and also where I'm now storing them:
This is going to be an interesting set-up, because it is something that I've never done before. Kondo recommends keeping all of your purses together in one area, empty (save for stashing other purses within purses) and also a box of items that you need and/or carry on a daily basis (hence: the basket on the left). Each morning, you choose a purse, and then you put all the items from the basket in the chosen purse. At the end of the day, you empty the purse contents into the basket and file the purse back on the shelves. Currently, I have my wallet, my car keys, my work keys, my wine opener (Don't judge me! You never know when that shit comes in handy) my chapstick, a small bag of touch-up makeup and my eye drops in the basket. So far, it's only been a day or two since I've had this system (and a weekend) so I can't quite judge whether or not this system will stick. 

Next, I slowly started filing away my clothes. Why do I use the term "file"?! Because that's essentially what Kondo recommends: only hang in the closet what needs to be hung - sweaters, thick items, super thin blouses, etc. Everything else is to be folded and put in drawers. You can't just fold them though. Nope, that'd be too damn simple. You have to fold it in a special way... let me show you:

My shirt drawer...
And my tank-top and lounge wear drawer...
And my pants and skirts. Yes, that Christmas skirt that I made stayed - heck yes that inspires joy!
So.. not sure how long it will stay this way, but it has surprisingly been working out for the past 3 weeks very well. And - BONUS - so far no clothes have been "filed" on the floor. Every piece of clothing has a place, so when I take it off or it comes out of the wash it has a place of a special spot in the drawer, or in the hamper. This seems like simple concepts when I write it out, but it's truly not anything I was even close to doing before.

Lastly... the closet. This was by far the most drastic change and I've kept this up for the past 3 weeks pretty well. My husband loves that he doesn't have to do a small obstacle course to get to his clothes, so he's on board with my new tidy self.
If I had to be honest - I don't miss any of the clothes that I donated, and I find myself spending way less time in the mornings trying to find something to wear.

Next up: Books and Paper.

Until next time - buy the book and get your shit together. *insert clever winky or sticking-tongue-out emoji here*