Sunday, 26 July 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I saw this book somewhere on the internet-can't remember where, you know what it's like! I thought it sounded interesting and worth a look. I have been trying to do my normal summer de-clutter, combined with sorting out the stuff from the shed (the new shed is up and now storing stuff usefully) so I have been thinking about these matters the last few weeks. I sorted out the back room last weekend which took me two days. I moved the shoe storage from the hall and that became my art shelves, and the wire thingammy from the kitchen plus one from the garden became the shoe storage and so on. All hard work, but resulting in a load of things going to the charity shop and a load to list on Ebay which I have been doing. The back room has more space and you can now see out of the window. Anyway, the book arrived on Wednesday and I had finished it by Thursday night. I can highly recommend this book to anyone, and especially those with far too much stuff like me. It is based on a very simple idea. Marie Kondo recommends sorting and discarding things in a certain order, starting with clothes, then books, then trickier things such as papers and more emotional things such as photos. She does not feel that doing a little at a time works, as you will never achieve what you want. (This is what all the other books I have read on hoarding recommend. They are also very complicated, such as having to think about when you last used something, or making tick lists of your habits-extra work which is not necessary, and involve a lot of denial-things like stopping yourself buying things, not going to places that will tempt you etc.) She advises doing all of each category at once. You get everything out, then go through each item, pick it up and ask yourself, 'does this bring me joy?' If not then you discard it. If yes then you keep it. It is that simple! Only an individual can answer that question for their own belongings. I tried it and it works. I suspect there are a few things that have sneaked their way into staying but overall I am happy with the choices I have made. It is as if the secret to letting things go has suddenly been revealed to me! 
 Marie Kondo has been obsessed with tidying since she was a child, and the insights into her life are interesting and make the arguments in the book all the more convincing. She likes to give personality to things, which is something that also helped me. For example, she suggests that your belongings wish to help you, and if they are not fulfilling their function then it is better for them to be let go. She also suggests thanking them for the help they have given you. This can happen as you are discarding them or as you have finished with them for the day. 
Here are my socks, sorted and folded. I didn't realise how many I had. I only ever wore about four or five pairs as I couldn't find the rest. Folding is another aspect of the book-who knew that folding and storing things vertically could make such a difference?! No more lost socks, or crumpled jumpers. I was a sock baller, where you put the pair together and roll them up. Marie says that this never allows the socks to rest, as the fabric is always stretched. I had never thought about this but it makes perfect sense.  Marie is not a fan of 'storage solutions' as these are just ways of burying things, never to be looked at again. This is mainly true for me, apart from my craft storage, which does need to be in boxes but does get used.

 My clothes were easy to do. Then I went for the books. I started to clear the shelves at 11.30 yesterday, and finally finished the sorting, and cleaning up afterwards this evening at 6. The pile near the t.v. is from the bedroom. The other two piles are from the left and right bookshelves in the sitting room, and some from other places. 

 Above are two of the newly tidied shelves. Below is the sum total of books next to my bed. The books are not all stored where I want them yet as I have four shelves worth to look into on Amazon, to see if they are worth selling.
 The removing of books and magazines (and dust!) from next to the bed has been the best part of this. It was a classic toppling piles scenario, with little room to move, and no organization. Now I have room to use this stool as a table to put the one book I am reading on. I love that! The dangling feet are those of my skeleton puppet. He brings me joy!
 During the back room tidy, I found that I own about ten typewriters. I selected three to sell. I opened the unpromising case of this one, only to find that it is lovely! A beautiful green which I love and an interesting collection of letters and practice pieces from the previous owner. It works well too.
So I am going to keep it. 
 A waterworkers' strike in 1983!

Back to the tidying-I estimate that I had about 1600 books. Now about 800 of those are in bags waiting to be distributed to charity shops from tomorrow. I am so amazed! They are so heavy, and so a literal weight has been lifted. Thank you Marie Kondo.


Shell said...

You got a lot done, Sarah! I like the idea of how the author gives things personality.How letting things go, someone else can enjoy them.

Linda Sue said...

I am so impressed and thank you for condensing the book , Now I have something to work with without buying yet another book, I am not a very helpful friend...sorry for the parcel! Sorry...but not sorry! I am just doing baby step clearing, trying to find the right homes for the "personalities".You have done an amazing job!

Sarah said...

Don't be sorry!

andamento said...

Well done! I'm in the middle of having a clear out too. I've been more ruthless recently and haven't regretted anything I've got rid of so far. Most things are going to the charity shop, all for a good cause and a lot of it came from there in the first place! I'm going to go back to sorting my clothes after reading your post though. I kept some blouses as I thought they might be useful even though I don't particulary like them. They don't bring me joy so they're going to go now and will leave me some more much needed space.

I don't think being a teacher helps with this hoarding malarky, especially when you don't have your own classroom to store things. I've not started sortein all the stuff I brought back from school yet...

Neighborhood Watch said...

I love to tidy and discard. Weird, I know. When I am sick, I know when I am feeling better because I find myself starting to clean things. Haha. I think the advice to just get on with it all at once is good.