Purging and Organizing

Every once in a while I get an overwhelming urge to purge.  And that time is now.  To that end I had started weeding through things as I cleaned the house every week.  I combined things where it made sense and got a little sense of control over the “stuff” that accumulates in life.

All was going well and next thing you know I discover a whole new level of awesomeness known as the KonMari method.  Have you heard of this?  No?  Well…..

The founder of this method is Marie Kondo, an organizational specialist/guru, from Japan.  Her book is called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

Tidying Up

The premise is that you go through the “KonMari” process once and you will not have to go through it ever again.  That appealed to me quite a bit since I seem to be a perpetual organizer (um, if it worked why am I doing it over and over again?)

So I decided to read the whole book and then jump in.

To simplify this process Ms. Kondo suggests you go through your “stuff” by categories.  You start with less emotionally charged items like clothing and then delve into more difficult areas like photos and souvenirs.  She prescribes that you take every item in the category you are working on – clothing, books etc. – and piece by piece go through each one and ask

Does this bring me Joy?

If it does, you keep it. If it does not, you actually thank it for its service and let it go.  Some of it will go to a donation pile and some of it is going to be thrown away because it is too far gone to keep.  The really neat aspect of this is that you really connect with all of your stuff.  It is sometimes embarrassing what you find you have – like 14 pairs of black pants or 7 sets of earrings that are missing their partner.  I love the idea of thanking an item for its service or lesson (like maybe I shouldn’t just buy something just because it is on sale!).  The lesson goes something like this:

This perfectly fine yellow blouse, which does not serve me, has taught me that I should listen to my instincts and only by clothing in colors I know flatter me.  I will pass this on to someone that will benefit from such a color – like my sister.

In doing things this way, you don’t really beat yourself up or focus on the negative, but actually turn it into a positive.  It makes the “ordeal” of going through your house one item at a time a little less overwhelming.

I will say, that I do not subscribe to all of her methods. For example, I am not willing to unpack my purse every night, not will I take my bath products out of the tub every time I finish with them.  I also am not really sure about assigning “feelings” to my socks.  But as with any self-help book, you take what resonates with you and adapt it to your situation and leave out the rest.

So I decided to give this KonMari thing it a whirl.  As she suggests, I started with my clothes.  I took everything I own and piled it on the bed. And the dresser….

I picked up every piece of clothing and really looked at it.  I asked if it brought me joy.  It was a surprisingly simple and quick process. I felt no need to labor over a decision (which for a Libra is always a possibility!) because the joy question really just summed it up without any extra deliberating.

Once you have decided what items bring you joy, the KonMari shows you how to fold your items to maximize storage  So when I was done purging I had a pile that looked like this:

The books were a little more difficult for me.  I just love books.  Most of my books are reference guides like aromatherapy and massage therapy books plus books on Ayurveda and the like.  I don’t tend to keep too many works of fiction but even so, this was going to be a challenge for me.

I started here…..

Weeded it down to this.

And then organized them like this

With my “non-joy” bringing books, I was able to give a bunch of books to a manger at work and a co-worker starting her own health coaching business and still donated many to my local library and even helped start a loaning library at work.  That felt amazing.

So now that I have been through all of the steps in the KonMari method, I find that I evaluate every purchase (and even relationships or time commitments) with the simple question – does it bring me joy?

It’s a great process and I really feel the exercise helped me get even more control over my space and, by extension, my life.

I encourage you to try it and let me know how it works for you.

One lucky reader can win a copy of Marie Kondo’s book by clicking here  This giveaway has ended.

Happy tidying!

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