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!

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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.