Phase 1: The Great Clothing Purge, Pt. 2

When last I updated, I had told you all about finding a two empty drawers in my dresser, and how I balanced out Ryan’s and my shared closet by getting creative with Kondo.

After I finished with my clothes, I turned my attention towards Lucy’s. Lucy currently has a three drawer dresser, plus half of a closet (the other half is shared with her uncle who also lives with us. No, I’m not decluttering his stuff.). As she’s outgrown clothes, I’ve been throwing them into a bin in a storage closet in the master bedroom. Or they’ve ended up on the floor, mixed in with the laundry. Over, and over, and over again.

I started with the clothes in her closet and dresser, and then moved on to the clothes she’s outgrown. The dresser and closet were actually really easy. She doesn’t care what she wears, so if I liked it, it fit, and it wasn’t horribly stained or damaged, it stayed. And despite the fact that I have been trying to buy her “capsule” wardrobes for each size change since she turned a year old (that’s when we actually ran out of clothes people had bought us before she was born! Thanks friends!), I still had half a garbage bag full of clothes ready to go to Catholic Charities when all was said and done.

But again, the real miracle happened when I put her clothes away. As I said above, she has a three drawer dresser. Before, I had her pjs, socks, leggings, etc. in the top drawer, her pants, skirts, and shirts in the second drawer, and the third drawer housed picture frames and other miscellaneous items (hello, Komono). I did fold Lucy’s clothes using the KonMari method of folding that I linked to in my previous clothing post. It actually isn’t that hard to fold baby clothes that way. And again, I had an empty drawer! All of her clothes that previously took up two drawers now only took up one. I didn’t touch the third drawer, Komono won’t be for a while yet. Because her clothes only took up one drawer, I was able to put away Brooks’ clothes 4 months earlier than I thought I would. They had been shoved in a baby cradle in our living room, preventing the cradle from actually being used by visiting babies. Now they have a place and babies can use the cradle! Hurray!

Lucy’s closet was just as easy. I arranged Kyle’s clothes according to Kondo’s suggestion of heaviest to lightest, darkest to lightest, left to right. Then, just as I did with our closet, I hung Lucy’s clothes in the opposite direction in an effort to “balance” the closet. I really think that is the key if there are two people sharing a closet, but not sharing clothes. You guys. I could stare at that closet for hours. It’s just so beautiful.

True to the method, I did not touch the two shelves in her closet that hold Komono. But boy am I dying to. I just want the whole house to be finished already!

Advertisements

Phase 1: The Great Clothing Purge, Pt. 1

Whoaaa. I’ve had this in my drafts folder forEVER. And I still can’t find a way to get my pictures from my camera to my computer. This is ridiculous. So I’m just going to publish as is, and update as soon as I find that stupid CD, or buy another one, or figure out some other way to get those pictures on my phone. Geez.

————————————————————————————————-

On Wednesday, I shared why I want to tidy my home with you. Today, I can’t wait to show you the beginning of the first phase – our clothes! Yes, just the beginning. It’s probably common, but I just didn’t realize how many clothes we had accumulated as just a family of three.

This past winter, I decided I was going to have a “capsule” wardrobe. I went through my clothes and picked out only those items which “went” with all my other clothes. I felt like I had done a pretty good job. So when I pulled out a garbage bag yesterday and piled all my clothes on the bed, I was sure I wouldn’t have anything to give away. But then I noticed that dress. The one that I love the fit and style, but hate the color on me. It makes me look drab. And then I saw the other dress, whose color I also hate wearing. And then that button up shirt, you know, the one that everyone has to have? But that I never wear. And slowly at first, then with more energy, clothes started filling the garbage bag. Between scarves, purses, and clothes from the closet and dresser, I filled up an entire garbage bag. It felt great.

Next, I set myself to the task of putting everything away. It seemed daunting, having to put all of my clothes away at once, but I was determined to finish this the same day. I started with my dresser. As I was folding (KonMari style), I noticed something unusual. I have 7 drawers in my dresser; 3 tiny ones for personal clothes, then 4 average size ones. I originally had them organized thusly: 1 drawer for bottoms, 1 for tops, 1 for out of season, 1 for maternity, 1 tiny drawer each for bras, socks, underwear. The drawers were pretty stuffed originally and while I expected them to be roomier after getting rid of an entire garbage bag full of clothes, I was not expecting to end up with two completely empty drawers! That’s right, after purging and then folding and organizing KonMari style, I was able to combine out of season clothes with “can’t wear that while pregnant” clothes, as well as combine socks and underwear into one drawer, leaving me with 1 empty tiny drawer and 1 empty larger drawer. It’s hard to describe how excited this makes me, every time I think about it. Sometimes I open the empty drawers just to look at them, they give me so much peace.

After dancing a little about the freedom in my dresser, I turned my attention to our closet. Ryan and I share a closet and he is not currently participating in this purge. Maybe he will one day, maybe he won’t, that’s his decision. Since nothing changed in his clothes, and he takes up 90% of the closet, I was sure there wouldn’t be much of a change. Nevertheless, I set to work rehanging all of his clothes, starting with the heaviest/longest/darkest items and working my way to the left. Once his clothes were reorganized, I put my clothes back in. This is where I differed a bit from the strict KonMari Method. Those who have read the book know that Kondo recommends having clothes from heaviest to lightest, starting at the left and going right. Since Ryan and I share a closet though, and it is one of those single bar standard ones, not a walk-in, I had a mini dilemma. The closet just didn’t look right when I started over with my heaviest clothes beside his lightest ones. It felt unbalanced. Plus, we keep my hope chest in the closet right now and I hate seeing clothes pooled on top of it, which is what would have happened if I had hung my maxi dresses to the left of the rest of my clothes. So in order to not lose the flow, I decided to work backwards. I hung *my* heaviest clothes to the right of the closet, and worked towards the left. I felt like that balanced the closet out the best, starting heavy at the left, working over to the lightest clothes and then starting the slope back towards heavy again on the right. Taking a step back, that was totally the right decision for us.

Later that day while Lucy slept, I turned my attention towards *her* dresser and closet. But that is a post for a later day.

Irony

Last week, I completely overhauled my and Lucy’s clothes. The post is written and waiting, the pictures are taken, but. But, they’re stuck on the camera. Which my computer won’t recognize. And we can’t find the CD that the Canon website is telling us we need in order to download and install the drivers from their website. We’re not even sure if we kept that CD or not. And other things just keep coming up that prevents us from completely tearing the house apart looking for it. I’d love to use my husband’s computer, but I swear he has it booby trapped.

This weekend I overhauled our bookshelves, though I’m still trying to figure out how best to organize them. Right now they are by size, then color within size. Which admittedly looks nice. BUT. But they are all completely random, which I kind of love but then I think “What if I want to loan a book to a friend, and have to search through all of the books to find that one?” So I’m looking at other possibilities too. Pictures to come. Ha. Ha.

Since I’ve finished the books, I get to move on to papers and then to Komono (miscellaneous). For anyone wondering, I’m using this checklist to help me keep track of everything and not overlook any minor category. Lets keep our fingers crossed that while I’m gathering all the papers, that CD appears amidst them and I can finally free the pictures from our camera! In the mean time, I’ll take pictures with my cell phone *and* the camera from now on.

Why do you want to tidy?

I tidy so that we can go on every adventure available.

I’m having a really hard time not diving right in to the “get rid of stuff” stage. I’ve been drawn to minimalism for a long time and ever since finding out I am pregnant with Brooks, my desire to own less has been kicked into hyper drive. Now, the KonMari method isn’t necessarily minimalism. It’s living with only that which sparks joy in your life. She doesn’t give any magic number of clothes you should own, or books that should be on your bookshelf. It’s simple: If it brings you joy, keep it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it.

But the very first thing to do, Kondo says, is not to start deciding what to keep. It’s figuring out why you want to tidy in the first place. What is your goal? What do you want to gain out of this endeavor? It’s not enough to say “I want a clean house”. *Why* do you want a clean house? What type of lifestyle do you want to lead, and how is tidying going to help you get there?

I sat down today to talk to Ryan about exactly what we wanted for our lives. What type of lifestyle did we see ourselves living in this season of having babies and raising children? After 7 years together, conversations like this still drive me to simultaneous laughter and tears. I’m a planner, a goal setter, a dreamer. He’s a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person. I have no idea how he functions without some sort of clear goal in mind and trying to understand actually gives me a headache. Until today! We were at the park with our daughter, and two little girls, maybe 7 years old, took off running. They were clearly going on an adventure. A mom yelled after them “Come back! You can’t go that far without telling me where you’re going!” And so the girls had to come back, because if they didn’t know where they were going exactly, how could they tell their mom? AND THAT is when I turned to Ryan and said “I totally get you now! You’re going on an adventure!” After thinking for a moment, he said “Yeah, that’s about right!”

What does that have to do with tidying? That’s our goal: To go on an adventure. I want our home to be our launching pad, a place where we can rest fully and head off into the wild unknown from. I want our home to be a place of adventure for our children. Not because it is full of cupboards so full they are dangerous to open, but because it is a place where they are free to make messes and mistakes, to learn and grow. I want a happy home where friends and family always feel welcome and comfortable. What does that look like? It looks like counters and surfaces that are clear and ready for baking attempts or play-doh creations. It looks like bedrooms that are relaxing to be in, with music playing to match the mood of the day. It looks like bookshelves with books just begging to be read and loaned out. It’s a home where my husband can say “Pack up and be ready to leave in 30 minutes, we’re going on an adventure!” and we can.

I looked through my Pinterest boards, to see if anything I pinned was actually inspiring to me. I thought I’d share a few here. Just click the picture to be taken to the original URL.

What are your goals for tidying? What’s your inspiration?

“Interior Dining Rooms” found on the Dust Jacket blog.

Who wouldn’t love making music on a yellow piano?

I want to spend all day in this kitchen. Color! Light! Freedom!

Marie Kondo gives a “Talks at Google”

Marie Kondo’s “Talks at Google” was…painful to watch. Unfortunately, I have to agree with the comments below the video (rare for me!), in that it was clear that the narrator was not familiar with the book. It was frustrating how much was clearly lost in translation, which could have been avoided if the talk had been scripted or practiced before hand. Or even if Marie had given it herself, in her beautiful, heavily accented English. Maybe it’s just because of the time I spent studying in South Korea, but ever since then I have had a greater appreciation of just how hard it is for non-English speakers to learn and *use* English and have almost fallen in love with the Korean and Japanese English accents.

Nevertheless, watching Marie’s talk and seeing before and after examples within her slides was helpful as I begin envisioning my tidy home.

Also of note: my book came in today! Thank you, Sunday deliveries!

Waiting, Impatiently

After reading countless Amazon reviews, blog posts about the method, getting on the waitlist at my local library (#87…) and listening to an illegal audio version of the book on Youtube, I finally just caved and ordered the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (not an affiliate link) yesterday. I may or may not have been refreshing my Amazon orders page, hoping to magically see that it shipped out the same day and would actually be here today. This morning I got an email saying that it *did* ship and instead of the unholy arrival date of April 27th, as it originally estimated, it will be here Monday, April 20th, instead! Whoop whoop! So I just need to wait 2 more days until that wonderful book is in my hands, ready to be marked up, notated, highlighted, underlined, and put into use.

I’ve decided to blog my way through the book as well as my attempts at bringing my house into order. We currently live in a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath townhome and I often feel assaulted by our stuff. “We” are myself, my husband Ryan, my brother in law Kyle, my daughter Lucy, and in August the newest member of our family will arrive, Brooks.

While I was reading other blog reviews and participating in Facebook discussions of the book and method, I noticed several themes. First, it seemed like moms liked the “idea” of the book, but couldn’t see how it was possible to implement in a family. It was pretty clear that Marie Kondo is a single woman writing to other single people. Second, the book was originally written for a Japanese audience which can make it occasionally seem “weird” or off-putting in some way to an American audience. Third, while Kondo claims that her clients have a 100% success rate and 0% relapse, that is a pretty hard claim to swallow.

Is it really possible that by following the KonMari method of tidying (decluttering), one will never have to do it again? Can it be used in a family setting? What about a growing family? I hope to discover those answers.