Friday, April 3, 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Or, how this book gave me permission to lighten my load

Have you been seeing this book everywhere? My friend Jamie from Owl Really posted about it on her facebook and I was so intrigued I immediately bought it for my Kindle. That week I was having a hard time sleeping anyway, so I stayed up all night and read it in one sitting. I was so inspired I started cleaning out my closet as soon as I got home from work. But before we get to that, let me tell you something about myself you probably already know.
I have been a collector my entire life. One passage in the book that really spoke to me was this: "Because I was poor at developing bonds of trust with people, I had an usually strong attachment to things. I think that precisely because I did not feel comfortable exposing my weaknesses or my true feelings to others, my room and the things in it became very precious."I have always been very attached to things, and prone to obsessions. When I like something I want to get as much of it as I can. I bet a lot of you who are into vintage like me go through seasons of acquiring more stuff than you really know what to do with! Especially with estate sales, because sometimes the deals are SO good you can't leave something cool behind even if you don't really want it and don't have anywhere to put it. Case in point, the spare bedroom of our house you've never seen because it is full of boxes and piles of stuff. I'm ready to lighten my load, but it can seem so overwhelming, especially for a sentimental sap like me.
In comes Marie Kondo and this incredible book. I recommend it to everyone, even if you aren't as big of a pack rat as me. I love that her goal isn't to make you a minimalist, it is to surround yourself with only things that you love. The way she describes it is you only keep things that "spark joy". Another part of the method is you do things by category, not by room. For instance, when you do clothing gather every single piece of clothing you can find in the house and pile it up. It kind of shocks you how much you have in certain categories! Then you pick up each item and decide whether it sparks joy. I have been amazed at how easy it has been so far, and how much stuff has left our house! I'm going to document the journey here.

Part One: Clothing
Marie Kondo has you start with clothing because that is easy for most people. You don't have tons of sentimental value attached to clothes. She doesn't mention it in the book, but I think another reason she has you start there is because you wear clothes every day (duh!). During the process your house becomes a bit of a wreck, but having my closet and drawers so organized gives me joy every day when I pick out what to wear. It sounds cheesy but it really does. Travis and I have both kept it up for three weeks! 
Here is the before of my closet. I also have a dresser that was completely full.
I kept my pants folded on the shelf in the bottom of the closet and they always ended up all over the floor. I had actually cleaned out my closet in January, but it was still packed full.
All my clothes out on our bed. Lots of grey and black. There were lots of things that made it through the first purge that I had no problem throwing away this time. It is hard to describe without reading the book, but the way she talks about getting rid of things made it so easy for me. For example, I had this grey cardigan with black cats on it I bought in the fall. I wore it ONCE but I kept it because I spent money on it and wanted to like it. Which is silly. Into the charity bag it went.
I had pared my Weezer shirt collection down to five (I think I had 15 at one point!) and now I just kept the one on the right. None of them fit me, why did I let them take up so much space!
And here is the after! I kept the drag queen inspiration wall of course!
Here is a side by side so you can get better idea. I really love it. One thing that helped was hanging up my pants and moved all my shirts to my dresser. Now my closet just has dresses, jackets and pants. And I have a place for my camera bag now! (the blue thing). I was always putting it weird places because I didn't want our cat Scampi to scratch it, but this is so much better. I found a bag of camera lenses I've had for years and never used up in the closet. I took those to a resale place and got some cash while freeing up space. Yes!
I got rid of so many pairs of shoes. Now I can see what I have and I think I'll probably pare it down a little more before I'm done.
My favorite thing I did was use that vintage shopping basket I got at the flea market recently as a storage space for accessories! It holds my winter hats and scarves, small purses, and sun hats. I have never had a place for those items and they have always been scattered about the house.
Before both suitcases were full of costume stuff, but we thinned out our collection and it now fits in just the red suitcase. The white suitcase is full of purses and totes, which used to fill an entire drawer in my dresser! And there is my Mr. Tiny original sunhat up on top! I can't wait to use it this summer!
One thing Marie Kondo talks about is letting your socks rest. Which seems weird. She says keeping them balled up like this stretches out the elastic. I never realized how jumbled this looked until I folded everything Marie Kondo style.
Look at that! So much better! And now all my tights fit in there! They had their own drawer before.
All of my tshirts moved from my closet into my former pajama drawer. And I LOVE IT! I can see everything, no flipping through the hangers.
I did my pajamas the same way. This used to be a drawer full of purses. I actually have a little too much room in my dresser now, when before it was stuffed!
I didn't take photos of Travis' after, but he did so well too. Before we had no where to put his work shorts (which he wears every day) so we always just stacked them on top of his dresser. Now they are put away and easy to get to.
By the time we were done we took nine trash bags of clothes and two bags of hangers to Goodwill, and also threw out two bags of garbage. It felt great and I've enjoyed my new closet every day.
The thing I've been telling everyone since starting this process is I can't believe how easy it has been for me. I have always had a hard time getting rid of things so this really feels life changing. We'll see how I do when we get to my vintage collections! Ah! I'll keep you posted!
Anyone else working on this right now?

25 comments:

  1. I am so inspired by all of this. Stuff has lost most of its importance to me; there are things that we need, things that inspire, and the rest is just stuff. I need to refocus my energies into purging. That being said, I am so happy that the hat survived the great closet clean-out!! Joy x 2!

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    1. i'm hoping I'll wear the hat more because it used to live up on top of a book case! And you'll be happy to know that orange elephant container made it through too! I love that guy, he is on my dresser holding brooches!

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  2. I started purging earlier this year but am now at a standstill. I bought these Walking Dead Funko Pop Figures and while they are cute, I wonder why the hell I purchased them. I think about selling them but then feel I won't get back my initial investment. Maybe the price of them will go up? I don't know. I don't really collect anything so I don't know why I even started to... btw I like the FP xylophone you have on your wall

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  3. oh another comment: I think being an Ebay reseller, it is harder to purge. Everything has value and I hate to give it away for free. I'm trying to get pass that though

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    1. Sometimes I think "Oh I could sell that!" but I'm trying to resist that because I know that I WON'T do it! Travis used to sell bags on eBay and he took most of his remaining stuff back to goodwill recently. He also took some toys he'd been holding onto to a local resale place and got about 100 bucks for them. And freed up the top of his closet!

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  4. I need to read that book. My problem is ... WHERE do I start? I already did my closet but I need to go through it again. I heard that you should reverse your hangers and then when you wear the item you turn it the other way. Anything not worn in a year should be removed. It's been a year ... so I guess it's time. I used to collect teddy bears and they are everywhere ...

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    1. Yes you must read it! The list and order she gives you gives you a place to start and an order to go in! I've been overwhelmed by the piles for so long, now I feel free!

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  5. I tried to comment earlier, but I think my phone ate my comment. I am the same way with my clothes. I have so many things that I've worn once and then realized that I didn't actually like it, but I keep it because I (or someone else) spent money on it. I hadn't heard about this book before you posted about it on IG, but I requested it at the library immediately. I'm still number five in line, but I'm okay with that because I know I'm not ready yet. haha.

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    1. haha, i was kind of scared to read it too, but really, I can't believe how easy it made it for me.

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  6. I've been watching your progress on instagram, so cool and inspiring! I'm on hold at the library for that book.

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    1. awesome! i was going to get it from the library, but there were 45 people on the list.

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  7. WOW this is beautiful!!!!! I love organizing things (The Container Store is my favorite place). At the start of 2015 I began cleaning out my closet and putting stuff in bags and going straight to the donate bin. It feels so good to let go of things. Now I meditate on purchases for weeks/months before making the decision to buy it!!! Cluttered home is a cluttered brain. I still have so much organizing to do but letting go of the physical JUNK can really feel like letting go of the mental junk as well!! I'd love to read that book!!!

    xoxox, Naomi | bunnyandfawn.blogspot.com

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    1. it is crazy how GOOD it feels when the bags leave the house.

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  8. I've just started reading this book, our house is packed and it really does my head in, it looks like it's working out well for you, fingers crossed I get similar results!

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  9. Great job! I have started clearing out my house too. I have a 1900 sf house FULL of stuff. It's me, two pugs and three cats. And I don't have enough space for all my stuff. That's ridiculous. I have roughly a year to get rid of half of my stuff. I intend to sell my house and move somewhere (not sure where yet) next summer.
    I'm pretty good about clothes though. I do wear just about everything I own. But I own a lot. I have a weird attic space room (8x10) that is my closet. And a regular closet. If I time it right, I can go for a month without doing laundry. I can certainly weed out some pieces though.
    My weaknesses are weird furniture pieces (old radio cabinet with the electronics removed) and sewing supplies. I have to let go of some of my furniture and stop buying fabric.
    I am also the daughter of two doomsday preppers (minus the political paranoia). I have supplies that will see me through a hurricane or other natural disaster including a generator and a window AC unit to keep the pugs cool. It will be hard to use and not replenish those supplies. Because as soon as I let the camping stove and coffee pot go, a hurricane will come and I'll be without coffee. I won't stop being prepared for emergencies, but I will try to not build up a month's supply of peanut butter.
    Good luck on this journey!

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    1. you should read the book! really, i think it will give you a totally different perspective!
      my husband is really into survival and being prepared, and he has been going through that stuff too and keeping a reasonable amount. I never thought I'd see the day where he got rid of some of his camping stuff!

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  10. I think I need to read this book. I'm attached to everything!! Even trash!

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  11. This is awesome - such great progress! I've heard a lot about this book, I think I might need it as well!
    I nominated you with the LIEBSTER AWARD, hop on over and check it out! http://www.thebravewanderer.com/2015/04/a-blog-award.html

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  12. This is so interesting. And while I don't feel like I'm a big collector, I do have a lot of things (We have a lot of things, movies, toys, figures, books...) But i think I must agree I have a lot of clothes...a lot of clothes that i keep that dont fit, that I hope will fit one day or a shirt that someone gave me but i never wear it. Maybe it's time for some spring cleaning over here too. I can't wait to see what else you do!

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  13. Your closet and drawers look great!! I was so inspired by the book too and did my clothes but haven't moved on to any other categories yet, woops! But I love love love filing my clothes in my drawers and I'm really proud of myself for keeping it up. I'm glad you're so excited about KonMari!

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    1. its kind of hard to keep the momentum up, since you can't really spend every single day after work working on it, the laundry and dishes start to pile up!
      I'm so glad I saw your post about it on facebook!

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  14. I think her folding method should be taught in school. I'd NEVER considered the sideways folding thing, at all. I went from using my whole dresser, half of Chris's, and most of the closet to my dresser with a few nice things hung up. And I gave up a whole section of my dresser for sheets. The crazy thing is, it's quicker to put clothes away now! And much easier to find things to get dressed. I also am spending less money on clothes because I can see what I have. It's amazing.

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