Browsing in a bookstore about two weeks ago, I picked up a cute little hardback with this beautiful teal/blue/white cover. (Step 1: Judge a book by its cover?) “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo. So I started reading. Who doesn’t need to declutter? I haven’t been able to shut my closet door since we moved into our house, six-and-a-half years ago.
A few pages in, I realized I should just buy the book. (Step 2: Buy ANOTHER book to cram onto the bookshelf. The irony isn’t lost on me, which makes it OK, right?) About a week after I bought it, I finally read it, and although some parts are a little bit too spiritual for me, overall, she’s got good points. My takeaways: If you don’t love it, get rid of it, but conquer the clutter by category, rather than by room. Once you start, don’t stop. Challenge accepted.
This past weekend I decided to tackle my clothes, since that was the suggested starting point anyway. I piled everything on the bed: clothes, coats, scarves, gloves, hats, socks, underwear, shoes, handbags … And it was suddenly clear why you do this by category, instead of room. After unearthing my clothes from around the house, I could see exactly how much I had. Oh my god. It was ridiculous. (Step 3: Realize no one actually needs 25 t-shirts if you can’t wear them to work and prefer tank tops for exercising.) I started going through things, and by the time I was done, I’d filled seven large garbage bags with stuff. Seven. I’m not entirely sure I will be able to get through a week on what is left, but I only have things I love, my closet door shuts (!!!) and there’s room left to fill in the gaps.
The next day I went through books. So. Much. Harder. Books are second on the list, but this was difficult, and I’d guess I’ll still get rid of some as I sit and stare at my bookshelves. I think between my husband and I, we got rid of five garbage bags of books. Everything was donated, and I feel like I got so much accomplished over the weekend. It takes me seconds to put clothes away, seconds to put a book on the bookshelf, rather than searching for an open spot on the shelf or rearranging clothes to make something fit.
Turns out decluttering goes hand-in-hand with finding balance. If I don’t have to waste time cleaning: Awesome. Plus it just feels nice to be in a space that isn’t packed with possessions (and honestly, our house wasn’t so terrible). There’s a ton left to do, but it’s slowly starting to feel right in the house. There is mental space where there wasn’t before. There is energy for creative things that used to flow into all that extra stuff.
Also, I finally finished editing down a short story this past weekend. See? Decluttering works.