HOW I CLEAN
Now, I’m the type of person to do a cleaning spree once every few months. I bag up the underutilized clothes, toss out the now yellowing lecture notes from college, and all in all, end up feeling a sense of accomplishment. A month later, somehow I’ve accumulated a new mass of miscellany, and the cycle continues. Mess, clean, mess, mess, mess, clean. What I’ve come to realization is that most of the time, I’m not really tidying, per se, I’m just redistributing my current belongings into boxes and drawers. I mean, I have a box of items I’ve grown to call, “The I-don’t-want-to-deal-with-you-but-it-seems-like-a-waste-to-throw-you-away Box.” As you can see, I’m not one for confrontation, which according to Marie Kondo, is bad, because tidying up means confronting yourself. Sorry.
But that’s okay, because, as she says, I just don’t know how to tidy.
SO LET’S TRY KONMARI
Let’s revisit last week’s blog post, shall we, where we talked about the KonMari steps.
Step one was to “Visualize the Destination”, where I imagined a minimalistic, clean, and comfortable room to relax.
Step two is to “Schedule Time for KonMari”. KonMari is one massive sweep – where you clean the entire house, in a tried and tested order, beginning with clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, sentimental items.
I dedicated my Saturday to purging my clothes (and tweeted about it along the way.)
I piled all my clothes onto the floor. It was an arduous task that left me a bit tense, a bit regretful.
There's an abstract concept called "spark joy," that Kondo advocates, wherein one only keeps the items that "spark joy." It's very difficult to understand, but my interpretation is, if it makes me happy and I like it, then I'm keeping it.
Which is why this happened...
Perhaps this was a memento from my ballet days twenty years ago, or maybe a costume event in my youth... or even an unwanted pink feather boa from the former owners of my residence (in that last scenario, ew).
But anyway, I haven't got it into me to toss this, so into the box of "I-dont-want-to-deal-with-you" it goes.
W-wait. That's not allowed?
DOES IT SPARK JOY?
For a person who doesn't really like throwing things away, there are exceptions to the "spark joy" rule.
Even if an item doesn't elicit an emotional response, if it's practical, useful in one's daily life, and all-in-all makes one's life easier, it too, can "spark joy." Thermal underwear, compression socks, and non-California-esque winterwear all fall under this category.
Kondo says in order to increase one's "joy level" regarding these mundane items, we must praise them.
...that's not going to happen.
ACTUALLY GETTING RID OF THINGS
Once I started setting clothes aside in the discard pile, I realized a few things.
- Clothes that other people give you don't necessarily spark joy. I find that I wear these things out of obligation and don't actually like them. I'm sorry, mother.
- I am suddenly talking to my clothes. "Thank you, shirt-that-I've-never-worn-but-bought-because-you-were-cheap." Into the discard pile you go!
- Free t-shirts don't necessarily bring you joy, especially if they're three sizes too big.
KonMari has this specific way of folding clothing. It involves compressing everything into little rectangles that can stand up on their own. Her method is also extremely inefficient, or perhaps because...
For the sake of research, I undid all my sock balls and rolled them up into little spirals. As a person who has many partnerless socks, somehow I don't think this will help me in that regard.
I folded my shirts into little rectangles, my clothes started to bring me less joy. I started thinking, "How much do I really like this shirt? If I throw it into the discard pile, then that's one less thing to fold!"
At this rate, I won't have anything to wear.
I got rid of two bins of clothes. Apparently I got into so much of a folding groove, I decided to fold these too. While Kondo says the clothes on the bottom will feel sad because they're getting squished, I'm donating these. Stop complaining.
And for the ones I kept...
I still haven't got the hang of her folding method completely, but apparently stripes bring me quite a bit of joy.
There's four categories remaining...four more weekends of tidying up. Can I do it? I don't know.
Have you tried the KonMari method? How did it go for you? Have any advice for a newbie?