By Laurel Nadon
My sister-in-law started it all. Instead of coming over to play a board game one weekend, she texted me a photo of her bed, covered in all the clothing she owned.
She said she was following a new tidying method called KonMari, created by Marie Kondo. She was deciding which items sparked joy or were useful and then getting rid of all the rest. The keepers were then folded in a radical new way where clothes are never on top of each other.
Reorganizing and decluttering spaces is at the top of my least favourite part of being an adult list. I typically only reorganize if it appears that the cupboard is booby trapped and my head and/or feet are in danger whenever I open the doors. However, I have to admit that there is a certain good feeling after a space is tidied up. Plus, one of my camisoles was missing and I thought it might be unearthed with a good reorganizing.
A few days later, my bed was also covered with clothing. I held each item up, felt its fabric and really thought about its use. Anything I was keeping because it had been a present, or I thought should look good on me but really didn’t, I gave away. Later that week, I piled everything in my daughter’s room into the middle of the room and started assessing what to keep. Next we did the toys in the living room.
Then I was shopping at a second hand store when I realized that clothes were $2 each. (I realize it is ironic that I would choose to buy more clothes after just freshly ridding my closet of unused items, but I can’t resist a $2 deal). I filled my arms with tops, sweaters and jeans. Usually I can spend a large chunk of time in a change room, because I end up with a maybe pile that I have to try on again.
Today, however, I knew that preschool pick up time was just around the corner. I tried each item on and asked myself if I loved it. Before I knew it, I had gone through the pile and not picked a single piece of clothing. Somehow deciding what I wanted to keep in my home had turned me into a better decision maker and taught me to see what I love more clearly.
Next my sister-in-law loaned me the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Kondo and I realized that I hadn’t been following the KonMari method precisely and likely won’t be. I hadn’t thanked each item for its use before giving it away. I didn’t caress my out-of-season clothing to give reassurance that it will be worn again soon. I haven’t been reorganizing by category–emptying all of the books in the house into one pile seems a bit too traumatic an experience for me.
I am surprised that many people I know have also heard about tidying Guru Marie Kondo. In fact, there are funny Internet videos where unsuspecting husbands return home to discover their living room full of garbage bags and realize they have been “KonMari’ed.” (Though this actually goes against the principles of the book–you’re not supposed to guess what “sparks joy” for someone else).
Getting rid of things that might have future use is a tricky one. I have fond memories from my youth of gathering with family friends around a tablecloth on the dining room floor to fondue together. I know that my fondue pot is just gathering dust right now, but I swear that I will use it once my children are older and can handle being near hot oil and not having their food ready all at once. Then my husband pointed out that we didn’t use the fondue set for the five or so years we owned it before we had children. Hmmmm. Interesting.
And that camisole I had been missing? At the very end of my clothing tidying journey, I closed the final dresser drawer. Only it wouldn’t close all the way. I pulled it out and discovered no less than four shirts, which had overflowed in my haphazard dresser days and become wedged behind the drawer. And among the clothing: my much missed camisole. Maybe it jumped the drawer because it wasn’t getting caressed enough in between seasons. read more