I'm not a neat person. There’s no catchy punch line here; no adorable comment about that one time my throw pillows weren’t perfectly aligned, as proof of my low tidiness factor.
Clean is a different thing, and you know what they say about cleanliness so, yes, that’s a priority. If, however, the laundered towels take a couple of days to make it from the counter in the laundry room to my linen closet, I have been known to lose zero sleep over it.
But. Then. I. Saw. It.
The neatly folded t-shirt. A rectangle. No. A perfect rectangle. And there were more!
The image of folded shirts, arranged in a spectrum, stood up proudly side-by-side. Garment soldiers ready to serve my fashion whims without my digging around or disrupting the rest of the 100% cotton guard. This was interesting. This had potential. I wanted to find out whether Marie Kondo knew what she was talking about.
I'm in the process of applying the KonMari principles to my home. If you’ve missed the buzz, KonMari is the process developed by Marie Kondo in which you carefully select only the items that “spark joy” to bring forward with you.
To do this, you first put every one of a certain type of item, for example, shirts, in a pile in the center of a room. That means every single one. Any that you miss or forget is automatically put in the discard or donate category.
This is a huge deal because seeing that pile of items makes you realize that, yes, you will still manage just fine without some of them. Or many of them. Or most of them. It really does.
Next is a process that involves holding each item and quickly assessing its place in your life. It may have served its purpose by making you happy when you bought it. Perhaps you loved it so much that it has become frayed and worn.
Whatever the reason, if you don't get that WOW! feeling, you thank the item (yes, you thank the item) for the joy it gave you, then promptly send it on its way to the donate pile.
KonMari offers methods to then neatly organize, well, everything. The whole affair is remarkably liberating. There are also some other takeaways I didn't anticipate.
I get it. I have less. But seriously. I have more.
Really. I now find myself standing in my closet, admiring the garments hanging by color (dark to light) and length (long to short). It's not weird. Okay. It's kind of weird. But, aside from the aesthetic value, I know with certainty that I love, value, and still fit into everything there.
I can take any item and know that I'll feel good in it when I put it on. If your closet is like mine was, there are items that won't even spark a memory of why you bought that awfulness, let alone joy.
I gave away about half of my wardrobe and feel as if I have twice the clothing now that I can easily see, access, and enjoy all of it.
It's about parameters.
We've already established my lack of a penchant for the pristine. I'm not going to lie. I was curious and a bit anxious about my ability to maintain the results. After all, is it my fault that gravity pulls my clothes to ground instead of the hamper when I take them off? I think not.
After my morning chai, I have to get ready for work. That cup still looks pretty joyous on a coaster, right? Knowing these things could be my foil, I checked my perspective. Instead of adding tidying as a final step, I mentally include it in the existing process.
Getting undressed at the end of the day is no longer about shedding work clothes and hopping into my evening loungewear (okay, oversized t-shirt and pj bottoms). It's about extending courtesy to the OOTD and putting it in the dry clean bag, hamper, or wherever it needs to go so it will be ready next time I'm looking for it.
Morning tea is no longer only the time I'm sipping on the sofa. It's the whole process of getting the cups out, making the chais, sprinkling love on top (It makes it taste better…don't judge), enjoying it with my husband, then, yes, putting the empties in the dishwasher, grateful for another pleasant morning.
Giving with joy is vastly more joyous.
For my family, it's one closet. Everything we want to donate piles up in that closet until the next trip to Frisco Family Services or another worthy cause. In the past, it's been filled with discards. Now, everything I donate is something I've taken the time to evaluate, appreciate, and recognize for its value.
I'm no longer getting rid of junk. I'm passing on things that once gave me joy, and now are ready to spark joy for someone else. It sounds like semantics until you do it. It's a beautiful feeling.
I continue to tackle one KonMari project most weekends. Each time, I'm amazed by the transformative process, both physical in my surroundings, and emotional, in the happiness it gives me. The system is ordered in such a way that the easiest to part with categories come first, and the challenges increase up to the last category–sentimental items.
I'm strengthening my game each step of the way and hope, sometime in the next six months, to live in my completely tidy home where all is valued, the excess is eschewed, and everything is indeed in its right place. Just thinking about it sparks joy.
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