Thursday, June 30, 2016

KonMari - Least likely to be a bag lady (Clothes cont...)

All my bags, and the combined junk within them
Today, we are still on the clothing: accessories. My bag collection is limited. I am not a collector, and I rarely carry a bag. I'm always least likely to win during baby and bridal shower "What's in your Bag" games where you get a long list and points for every random item you can produce from your purse. 

While the purse collection is very small, the book-bags and computer bags are many. They are legion.  I recently tossed 3 rolling computer bags and 2 backpacks, only to produce 2 more backpacks, 3 messenger bags, and 2 computer sleeves in my closet. 

The KonMari process helped me go through this amount and put half in the donate pile. I am moving closer to a garage sale at my house this coming month. Marie Kondo empties her bag every night, and places the contents in the same place every night so they can be grabbed in the morning in a new bag if required. As you can tell from the pile in the box bottom right, I do not. That is mainly from my teaching and work bags, but I found 6 lip balms and 3 lipsticks in 6 bags, 2 spoons from my kitchen, more pens than a Staples, and 2 spare USB battery packs among junk.

It felt good doing this because I knew several of the bags were stored with their contents and papers from last semester. I even had stuff from last year when I taught my last class at ECC. I have learned:

  1. I never need to purchase a pen, highlighter, marker, or pencil again for the rest of my life.
  2. I have more staplers than hands to use them.
  3. I like to buy gum or mints, eat one or two, and then let the rest sit around until they should be tossed in the garbage. 
  4. Stop buying gum and mints.
  5. I have 4 Barnes & Nobel $25 gift cards I forgot about.
I tossed most of that pile of sheer bag garbage and housed the rest (including spoons), all over the house. 

As a professional tidier, Kondo does not believe in spending money anymore on storage solutions. She had fancy boxes and organizers in the past, but she finds them a way to hide clutter in most cases. She re-purposes shoe boxes and lids for many things instead. So I took two lids to cases of paper, and papered them. 

These covered lids came out great with some old paper I found hidden behind a cubical at work a long time ago.

They turned out to be the perfect solution for storing my bags (top) and shorts (bottom). All my extra hangers (so many) are hanging above the empty closet floor. When this process is finished, I imagine getting rid of most of them and using that hanging space to hang once worn clothes to air out. It is no secret that getting more than one wear out of your clothing before washing will increase the longevity by maintaining fabric integrity, but I want them to not touch clean clothes. I used to put these on my dresser or hang them over my mirror, but I think they will be happier in the closet now that there is air and list in there. 

I also attacked my hats and scarves and gloves. My mom is the best because she crochets hats in record time and has made me many over the years. I love them all, but wear only some. I looked them over and decided to let go of half. I also let go of 2 scarves and 2 pairs of gloves. I now have enough for winter without being excessive to store.

Tomorrow I will do my jewelry and shoes. This is going to be the most difficult of the clothing because much of the jewelry is real and sentimental. I hardly wear it daily, but will pull out a necklace or earnings when I go out or to work. Since I now work mostly from home, I don't even go out of the house all that often. The shoes? I get rid of them fairly often, but I have been known to hold on to fancy heels (because I never wear them out) and Vibram FiveFingers (because I'd loved every pair I have).

Till then, do you carry a bag? How do you think your process of discarding would be this far? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

KonMari - Clothing AKA the reason I'm not naked

Marie Kondo starts with clothing because, I guess, we are more quick to purge clothing. We have to do this over the course of life when clothing gets ruined or looks old. She obviously doesn't know people like I do, because I've seen closets that are packed full of every item the person has bought in the past 20 years (or more). I am not this bad ONLY BECAUSE I have fluctuated weight up and down so often that much of my wardrobe consisted of cheap Old Navy or (insert plus size store) which never wears more than a year. I don't have many lasting staples. No real investments at my size.

The saving grace is that the process Kondo gives--get all the clothes, put them all together on the floor and touch each piece as you sort into joyful items, donate items, and trash items--forces a mental revelation. YOU HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. I had over 30 tee shirts! I had 15 pairs of jeans! I had over a dozen day dresses and 10 fancy ones! I had 24 pairs of underwear, many I hated wearing but did to avoid laundry (putting away, because my mom is the washerwoman in our basement apartment). WTF? When it is all in your face, it feels so wrong. These images are after I purged 3 weeks ago.
My closet, 3 weeks after my purge
My guest room bed, full of clean laundry and cat

I didn't take starter photos, those here are from last night's work. I did not think I was blogging about my mess, so what you see here is my backslide! I am horrified, but not surprised that I backslid. I did not follow her advice about folding, her advice about doing the whole purge all at once, or, if I am totally honest, her advice about the pre-work. All I knew was that it was a mess and causing me stress and I wanted it gone.

The day I began, I had so much clothing on my bed: culled from the attic, guest room, coat closet, dresser, and my own closet. First-world problems, right? I felt sick because I have been known to say "I have nothing to wear" on the regular. So I'd go shopping to buy a new outfit (over and over and over) without really thinking about what that habit does to my closet, wallet, and life. In an earlier post I told you I purged 3 contractor garbage bags, in addition to coats, and trash. This revisit was to actually apply the KonMari process more fully.

So again, I tossed everything onto the bed. I removed the bags, hats, winter outerwear, swimsuits, and all the other CRAP that was on the floor and shelves. I had so much shit on the floor that did not belong. This time it only took me 2 hours to go through the clothing. My drawers still looked great.

Empty, you cannot see it extends about 2 feet into the left and right... 
I managed to get all my undies and bras into 2 drawers. This was a small win because they used to take up 4. I used to have one single drawer with those fancy plastic honeycomb dividers. I'd had them for over 15 years. They suck. My socks and undies should fit 2-4 in each hole, but I usually just dumped crumpled wads of clean undies into them. Very adult of me. My closet French doors used to bulge though I have so much room.

The after is much better because I folded all my tee shirts. I removed everything that I shoved back into the closet the first time. the upper shelf, where bags and hats lived, is empty for now. When I first did this, I did not actually purge any hats or bags. I just shoved them back in and shut the doors. That was anti-productive. This time I made sure all my laundry was clean and every stitch was accounted for on the pile.

Tee Shirt storage has room
I never really paid attention to the amount of shirts I have. If you are like me, you get free shirts, concert shirts, souvenir shirts, volunteer project shirts, among others. Many just stay around moving from "what-I-can-be-seen-in" to "what-I-would-be-mortified-to-be-seen-in-but-are-too-comfy-to-lose" shirts.

Kondo would want us to lose the shitty shirts. She arrives in her clients homes to work their process and purge in a blazer or sweater-set. She can move, but looks good. She does this not because she wants to look professional, at least not wholly so; she does this because she wants to show respect to her client's process and things. She loses me a bit when she talks about thanking her items before discarding them, after using them, and while putting them away. She thanks the client's home and inanimate objects for their purpose and the joy they bring. Her gratitude to items borders on crazy, but noble.

I am not thanking each ratty tee-shirt as I fold them, though I see the difference caring how they are folded and stored makes. In the weeks since I have changed my sock-and-undies folding, I am much happier when I grab them to wear. She thanks them for the hard work they do as she stores them. I think that is obsessive. They keep their shape better and fit better, but I am silent, maybe meditative, as I put laundry away. I am trying to avoid it being a chore I speed through because the organization feels so good. The sacrifice of time is actually moot because I can now find everything and see everything, saving me time and indecision later.

my new bra drawer
My other drawers are equally nice and neat. I have tossed my "quiters" and kept only the stuff I love. Why did I keep underwear that bunched, pinched, fell-down, or made me feel like a lumpy beast? Keeping only what brought me joy has made a difference in how I feel after I dress. I've this little desire to wear nice, matching, comfortable underwear sets under basic tees and shorts--this secret only I know. This is not yet where I am at, but I now know where I want to be. When I purchase in the future, I have a visualization and know what I can toss.  As a woman who has spanned 10 sizes (or more) "it fits" was the only factor I ever considered. Now, I will be more choosy. Other than this, I don't love the athletic gear in my size and no one makes affordable and pretty gear for me, and this is a problem. Who really loves their sports-bras and yoga pants? Girls that can buy really nice ones in their size. I have a goal to get down into that, for now I will save the best of the mono-chromatic black or grey the plus-size are relegated to.

After the purge and organization
The after doesn't really "rise to the right" as Kondo suggests, nor is it organized by fabric and color. When you're a 16, it is not logical to organize like this. My clothing doesn't packet like Kondo's usual client: the average Japanese woman. I need tanks, flimsy tops, and work clothes together, and pants (not folded like she suggests) hanging on the bottom. When your pants are longer and wider, folding them the KonMari method is impractical. I have the hanging space, so I use it. My shorts also do not fold the KonMari way - hello, Baby Got Back. So I folded them as I could and used a shelf. I will look for a box to store them in so they stay neat.
Tomorrow I want to finish the clothing section with bags, winter outerwear, hats, belts, and swimwear. I have to do jewelry, but that will take me much much longer. I am finding them everywhere as I go through my bedroom and purses.

What do you think about the process? Do you backslide after good attempts to purge?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

KonMari - Being Intuitive versus Being Rational

When discarding, follow your intuition. Don't rationalize holding on to things because they are "perfectly good" or useful, though you haven't actually had a use for it or love it.

Your gut knows the real-talk about an item. Your brain talks its way through reasoning value.

Your gut feels the emotion (good and bad) attached to your things. Your brain makes up stories to justify their existence.

You feel joy in your gut. You think about pros and cons in your head.

This is probably the best and worse advice Kondo gives.

Being intuitive and not rational is great when going through clothes, shoes, excess kitchen tools, decorations, etc. I'll bet most people can easily pinpoint that item that they know they hold on to but they have never used or it doesn't fit, or it is just there for no real reason.

When I first read this, I could name several items I have saved because I thought I would use them, but I have never used them.

Case one: My Mother-in-law's fake fur coat.
I have never worn this ankle-length London Fog black fur coat. I don't even like it that much. It looks warm, sure. It looks fancy. It was probably very expensive. It is like new. It was not mine, though it fit. When my mother-in-law passed away, we were of similar sizes though separated by 40 years. While we sold or donated the obviously over-the-top Quaker Factory QVC fashions and stuff that I disliked, we thought it made sense to keep the good stuff that I could maybe wear in the future.

Fast forward 8 years. I have gotten rid of most of the clothes over the years. I no longer fit the larger size (never will again), and much doesn't suit me. But I held on to a brand new full-length  raincoat because I am a working professional and it is a staple item.

I also saved that darn coat.

Black beauty
I will never wear it unless it is negative numbers and I need to stand outside for over an hour. Maybe I would use it if we had no heat in the house and I wanted to play aristocratic drunk housewife. It is just not what my generation wears. But I held on to it now for 8 years and it has lived in my closet, taking up tons of space. Why? My rational mind thinks it might be good to have someday. It is not my only coat, but it is a coat I have.

My gut says Hell No, you ain't wearing that because you'd look like a grizzly. Grr.

Grandma's coat
I have another real black lamb and fox coat from the 1940s that was my grandmothers. It is thigh-length and black with fox-fur collar. I love it though it does not fit. My grandmother was 5'1" and I am 5'10". I need to add fox trim to the arms to make them longer. The rational mind thinks I will never wear it because furriers are few and fur is wrong.

My gut says keep it because you love it and you think of her every time you touch it. It is beautiful.

See where I am? Listening to both minds is bad because you keep everything. If I follow my gut, I only have what I really love, even if it is not 100% rational. I feel happy and have other ways to stay warm.

I put that fake black beauty in a donate bag along with 3 other jackets that I have not worn in years and am going to donate them at my company's winter coat drive. Someone will love that coat.

I saved my grandmother's coat. I put it in a fabric garment bag and am researching furriers that can restructure it for me.

Remember I said this advice to follow your intuition and not your rationalizations is also the worst advice Kondo gives? Well, when you fluctuate sizes like I do, have gained weight and lost weight and have gone from a 24 at my largest to a 16 currently, your intuition is all messed up and you only have a rational mind.

I am so thankful to have saved some small clothes from years ago because they fit now. I am glad I had big clothes from my mom-in-law because I needed them when I was fatter. As a woman I can almost rationalize into keeping all the clothes. BUT the saving grace of sparking joy is what has saved me.

Why should I keep clothes just to have them if I need them, if I hate them? If I feel bad in them? If they don't fill me with confidence and pride?  Do you keep things because you are obligated to keep them in memory of someone else?

I will let a few joyful (but off size) items remain for now. I can revisit this later, but for now I will keep some things I do not use, only if they spark joy.

Tomorrow I am getting into the meat, the juice, the clothes. Note: I had attacked them like a half-blind crazy person already. It has been 3 weeks and I am already in closet backslide. I did not write about or visualize or anything, but I attempted to put the book into practice without really committing. Stay Tuned.

Monday, June 27, 2016

KonMari - The Basic Rules

Kondo wants us to only keep what brings us joy. When shopaholics shop, that is not the joy she is talking about, because if she were, a hoarder's home full of things that brought them joy would seem normal.

That joy in the moment is not the same as holding something and feeling real joy now. So the process is as simple as this:

1. Gather all of the items in the category in one place from all over the house.
2. Hold on to each piece and ask if this item sparks joy (Do you smile when you see it? Do you hold it and feel happy? If this thing was lost, would you truly miss it?)
3. Decide to let go of the things that feel empty or burdensome.

The things we own are normally spread in more than one location in our homes. There are many drawers with pens and cabinets with cleaning items. We have clothes in more than one closet, even storage of some wardrobe in the attics and basements, or worse, we may have purchased additional standing closets to house things we hardly ever wear (or wear at all).

Many people hold on to things long past their worth or value. What value is the thing that does not fulfill its purpose for being?

Things you save for "someday" or sentimental items you keep in a box because you can't part with them, these things are not living as part of  your life. They become burdens you have to store. They are the weight of boxes left unopened. They have little joy.

There are rules:
1. There is an order to follow, and do not do a room at a time. (No working room by room. You do all your clothes first because they are least sentimental and most objective.)
2. Do all of the items in the category in one fell swoop. (When you do clothes, do all of the item from coats to socks in one day and move with a pace after you feel comfortable. If you have clothes in storage, clothes in other closets, dressers, or bins, get them all. The only clothing exempt are things currently in the dirty laundry or machine.)
3. Do not let your family see or inform your choices. (You may feel like letting go of something they question, or they may tell you to get rid of things you really love.)
4. Do not burden family and friends with your discards. (Only give away things that you know they are already looking for and they will love. Do not give things that you cannot part with because you cannot part with them and want to see them live on as their burden.)
5. If you live with others, don't toss their stuff. (You need to focus on your stuff first, and they may find the urge when you are feeling the power to also join in.)
6. Don't clutter the air with noise like the TV or radio. Commune with the things in your life. Tap into the process and focus on the task. If you need noise, listen to ambient music without lyrics or commercials.
7. Start in the morning when your energy and judgement is peak. If the weather is nice, open the windows and let the air help energize you.

There is a great FREE printable checklist at the Making Lemonade blog

Kondo's order moves from least sentimental to most. When you run across items of sentimental value, like photos in a drawer, put them aside and do not look at them. The sentimental items take the longest and are the most subjective.

1. Clothing
2. Books
3. Papers
4. Miscellaneous
5. Sentimental Items

Each of these is really broken down into segments, but finish all of Clothing before moving to Books. Finish all Books before moving on to Papers, etc...

Tomorrow I'd like to delve into her concept of the rational verses the intuitive mind during this process because it is my biggest beef. "Everything has a use" my creative mind sings. I have a 3rd mind that wants to save for other reasons...crafty reasons.

Until then, tell me...what do you think so far? Does anything strike you as new or interesting yet? Why?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

KonMari - Digging through emotional clutter into the Why?

Marie Kondo is emphatic that you must find out why you want the lifestyle you want. This is not far from certain neurolinguistic programming (NLP) techniques that self-help gurus like Tony Robbins uses in his courses. I love me some Tony Robbins, and if you had read this blog in the past you know this, and his philosophy is rooted in getting real clear about your deepest why. Your motivation and desire will only burn if you focus your energy on it and fan those flames with constant and consistent focus.

Discovering your deepest why is where real motivation lives.

Let's get serious. Why do I want "...a home where I love cooking, entertaining, and relaxing"?

I love having people over. I'm usually an extrovert who loves to create dishes and parties for those I love. I show love through entertaining and laughter. I feel loved when people are happy here. My home is your home...just stay out of my bedroom.

My bedroom "why" comes down to a place of escape. I said I am usually an extrovert, but I have hidden introvert tendencies. I sometimes need to escape someplace alone, quiet and chill. It would be even better if I had a room within my bedroom where I can get to a second layer of hidden, where a wall would move or a bookcase would reveal a secret lair. This is my most secret desire.


I have always been fascinated by secret rooms, nooks, and passageways. Any book or film that has them is already a favorite. I love them because they are both escape from the world and security. They are private by choice. I would not let the Hubs show people where it is and it would be only mine.

My home has no such place, so a retreat in the bedroom is the best I can get right now. I need a piece of privacy in an boisterous life.

The other whys for neat organization and effortless storage and preparation is because I sometimes dread and avoid cooking, baking, getting ready, and entertaining because I would have to deal with pulling the right pans from overcrowded cabinets, figure out just what I am going to use or make, and then clean it all up and try to fit everything back.

Does anyone else have too much for their cabinets, overflowing drawers of "stuff"? I cannot be alone here.

I know I am not moving, but like I said yesterday, a why I am beginning to feel deeply is "I don't want to pack this stuff" and "I can't move because I have too much/it will be too hard/I am lazy". More and more there is this pull away from the urban-suburb where I live, but I cannot listen to that because the process makes me feel sick.

My why is all about freedom from things owning me and all about relieving the stress of too much.

When people are too much, I can store myself away.

People can help because they will not wrestle the demons of clutter I hide behind doors. All my rooms that currently look pretty darn neat, can throw open every hinge and truly be accessible.

Kondo wants you to dig into each answer 3-5 times to find more reasons, like the kid in the backseat who knows no better question for you than "WHY?" -- why? I think about this section like asking branching why, base why, and root why.

My solid why is not only showing love through entertaining, and wanting to escape from it. My solid why is to release all stress because clutter is stress in my mind and relationship. Maintained order and perfect storage peace is love to the Hubs. For me to show him love, a more concerted effort to a clutter-free life would be activating love.  Instead of him freaking out when we have company over, it would be chill and he would welcome the noise and crowd. Showing love is removing stress.

More deeply, and honestly, all those hidden bits of clutter reflect the clutter of my soul and body. At my root, I am a hot mess. If I am honest, I probably treat myself the way I treat my home. Clean on the outside, stuffed full of all kinds of baggage and excess right under that surface. There are lots of things I have buried inside that I never share with others.

I strongly believe that the clutter purge will do my body good. I have carried emotional matched luggage (in sets with broken wheels) for ages. I need to show my soul love.

The thesis was one of those hidden bags. It was full of promise and locked inside. When I finished, it was as if 10 years of bullshit went out the door. This, I think, was the energy that burst into my first purge of clothing, that I started the day after graduation.

By living in a space that reflects peace, friendship, and joy and not feeling the stress, I can work more closely and with more focus on my inner peace, friendship, and joy. I believe the the space and air around what I do own will allow my house to breathe just as the space and air around my bones (unburdened from layers of padding) will let my soul breathe.

Tomorrow begins the process of getting real with Kondo. The concept of of joy and sparking joy is well documented in her books, but I am not too sure it translates to an American home as well and her writing urges. Examining is the process that will take the bulk of this blog.

Until next time, what is your why? Do you have a branching why, base why, and root why?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

KonMari - Begin by identifying your goal

"Before you start, visualize your destination" 

Let's paint that picture, shall we?

For me, this is a home where I love cooking, entertaining, and relaxing. I would have people over weekly, for dinner or drinks. You know those commercials where a group of good-looking adults are laughing at a dinner party over giant glasses of Cabernet and admiring some cheese plate - like this, only with pint-glasses and trays of bacon. Ok, maybe small trays of fancy, healthy apps too--something with quinoa or kale? I'm part silly, but I envision parties.

On the weekends, our place would be the best spot for movies, cards, and laughter. The cards may be Cards Against Humanity, or maybe Uno, but games and cards would be on the table. I would not fear people helping out in the kitchen (because drawers are neat and organized), prepping the table (because the dining room only housed the right stuff), and people could effortlessly stay over because the guest room is inviting and totally chill.

I could end the day in a bedroom that was neat and peaceful, like a hotel, maybe with a place to sit and read before bed. Getting ready in the morning would be effortless because all my clothes are pristine and wrinkle-free; my make-up bench would only house the right cosmetics and my bathroom would have only the products I need.

I'd ride my motorcycle to work. The garage would be like those in a design show--everything organized and off the floor. I wouldn't have long-term storage of crap I never use. AND I CAN GET TO EVERYTHING! That would be sweet.

I could have space to run an eBay based business for selling my books and other crap.

 I love the look of Ikea showrooms where spaces look useful and welcoming. When everything says easy to keep clean because there is a place for everything (with space and air around it). The idea of having space for the things I care about, and getting rid of all the stuff carry for ______ reason.

If I were to move, I would like to thankfully pack my things and gladly open boxes because I want my joy in my new space. I do not want to hate the process and hump the weight of my belongings my whole life. I only want real joy, light, and life in my space.

"Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space."

I know crap, stuff, and junk are not concrete terms. Perhaps, and I'm just throwing it out there, perhaps that feeling is also one I want to get purged. I want the things I have to have value and meaning to me and purge all those bits that are just "stuff" to me. I want to have a place for everything and only one place, one that doesn't get filled by other things when the thing that lives there is in use.

I want to stop the insanity of Tuperware Jenga! You know what I mean....the plastic or glass containers that somehow breed like tribbles. The pieces that somehow lose lids or bottoms and fall out of the place where they live. I hate this, but do this daily.

Somehow, this space feels slow, quiet, and easy. I don't feel rushed. When I clean weekly, it is just a matter of dust, vacuum, wash. I could have more time to write.

The Hubs hates chachka, knickknacks, trinkets, whatnots and dodads. He loves a clear line of sight and minimal stuff. I always think of solutions to store and hide such things. Ideally, I would like to not hide the stuff and instead have storage for specific items that aide my goals of and entertainment home of joy and peace.

Tomorrow, I will look at my whys. Kondo emphasizes that we must know why we want the space and lifestyle we want. Getting deeply into motivations and discovering my WHY.

Tell me, what does your lifestyle look like? What kind of space do you visualize? Are you more of an Ikea showroom perfection or a country living comfort person inside?

Friday, June 24, 2016

KonMari - Before we dig into the clutter

I have owned Marie Kondo's  The Life-Changing Magic of Tiding Up for over a year. As an member, I purchased the audio book version when I read a review online. I thought it would be one of those books to "read" on my commute and it may help me stop pack-ratting. It sat in my iTunes without a listen for all that time because I was overly involved in listening to the huge audio versions of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series (you may know it as HBO's Game of Thrones). Whatever...

While I was writing my thesis, I had stacks and stacks of books, papers, and digital texts surrounding me for 4 months. I took over my dining room with The Walking Dead academic research and feminist theory resources. My house was a mess most of the time and I was losing things in the clutter.

This is nothing new.

My mom can tell you that I have been a clutter bug all my life (understatement of the year). I used to "clean" my room by shoving toys into the closet, into a drawer, under the bed, into loose socks, anywhere out of sight. She would find socks with toy parts, Barbie shoes, bits of paper, candy, you name it. I still go-to this option when I am stressed or need to quickly make my house look like it is well-kept. I was Dobby the dysfunctional House Elf.

I am not "dirty" per say; I disinfect the bathrooms weekly, wash my floors, dust, sweep and vacuum on the regular. I may let dishes overnight in the sink and/or dishwasher, or I may wait to clean the stove because I hate it, but you would never be grossed out in my home. In fact, it normally looks quite nice. But open the junk drawer, or anything that closes (closets, drawers, cabinets, desks, etc) and watch out! There are at least 10 junk-drawers in the house. I may have over 400 pens/pencils/markers in 5 locations. I cannot keep track of my "stuff" because it could be almost anywhere.

All the clutter hiding stresses me out! I can never find what I need because it is lost in a box somewhere or hidden away.

I have a hard time parting with things that are useful, even if they are used only occasionally. I get sad when I have to toss a gift that was given to me but is useless. I always think "I can probably use this" and into a closet, drawer, or pile it goes. Frankly, if it was expensive or is useful, I keep it. (Might have a shopping addiction to deal with at some point too...)

Part of the KonMari method seeks to get to the root of the kind of life you want, the environment that you most desire to live in, with the things that only bring you joy. I think some of Kondo's mentality is rooted in Shinto and Zen Buddhism: things have kami (spiritual energy) and your space should invoke peace.

What I really like about this is that Kondo seeks to teach you to find whatever brings you joy and peace. You really need to dig into your own self to discover this. It is not prescriptive in the process of purging--"Keep this and toss that and you will have joy" but it surely is more prescriptive in the process of organizing afterwards.

Kondo insists over and over that "people who use the KonMari method never revert to clutter again." Because a large part of me would love to not have clutter at all, this sounds great.

The next week I want to write out some of the exercises she assigns clients in her book to see what I really visualize as the kind of space and life I most desire.

I envision this blog will fight the KonMari method, because I cannot even begin to imagine some of the advice in action in an American home. For instance, she writes "Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding." I have a 1200sq ft home that I have lived in for over a dozen years with a man who has lived here for 36 years. Sure when his mom passed we had marathon garage sales and purged without prejudice, but we have so much stuff in all areas of our home that I could not imagine living out of boxes and piles for months until I have gone through all categories and things.

Her first category, clothes, took me a whole day with the help of The Hubs. She tells you to take all your clothes, from everywhere in your home, and put them on the floor to go through all at once. From coats to socks, all seasons, were on my bed and I purged, I donated 3 contractor garbage bags, have one regular bag to donate later (coats for a winter drive because they are expensive and new) and an expensive dress for a prom drive next year. I threw away 3 bags of garbage that I did not want to donate. If I did not put my clothes away, I would have been living in a pile of my wardrobe and The Hubs would divorce me. I will write more about this because I have not followed explicitly and am already backsliding in my closet, so I guess she is kinda right.

Till tomorrow, what kinds of decluttering have you tried? Do you have issues with clutter? Am I alone?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Challenging, Me

When I started this blog several years back, it was because I wanted to do a juice fast and wanted to know the day-by-day of that process. There was a hole, a gaping hole at the time, in this field because it was prior to Joe Cross' film release and before people got into juicing in that way. So my blog was a way for give others what I wanted.

Fast forward 6 years! I still get thousands of hits to this site and am thankful that juicing changed me. More than juicing, the writing changed me. Back when this site was fresh, I had given up my masters thesis for lost, had settled into work and the daily grind. Sticking to the fast for 60 days solid showed me just how determination and focus creates change.

I recently finished my thesis and degree, having gone back in 2014 to retake some courses and write my thesis at night. I persevered. This was my biggest challenge, one that I beat myself up about for a long time. People don't know how hard failure to finish the first time was on me. When I got over myself and my piss-poor attitude (berating yourself is a shitty thing to do), I applied the juicing focus and determination to my degree.

  • Even after I was told I would have to retake courses I had already aced...

  • Even after I was told I would have to take a whole new course because an old one no longer counted...

  • Even after I had to give up teaching for a year to focus on my writing...

  • Even after I didn't know how I was going to pay for those classes...

It was determination and focus that met those challenges. Now I sit with the knowledge that --

I can, I will, I did.

So what am I getting at? I have other challenges I need to write about. Now that I am with-degree, it seems I am free of a weight that had been holding me down. It was a mental weight, sure, but it is amazing how kicking its ass leaves me buzzed.

I am going to write about more challenges here in the coming days. I polled some friends about what challenges they have before them, to see if we share similar journeys. Here is my short list:

1. Apply Marie Kondo's method of tiding up to my home and life.
2. Alkalize my diet with more greens than starches.
3. Save money and get out of debt.
4. Write a children's series, pictorial.
5. Write a contemporary romance mystery.
6. Write erotica.
7. Volunteer locally.
8. Purge my digital clutter.
9. Stop eating sugar.
10. Form exercise habit.
11. Focus on my diet hardcore.
12. Spend actual real-time with friends and foster relationships.
13. Develop meditation practice.
14. Spend less than $100 a week on shopping (including groceries).
15. ?

I am leaving my list open-ended because I am not sure how it is going to develop or if my order is illogical. When I was writing it, I was struck by the idea that I can combine some into others, maybe do more than one at a time. I am not sure how I want to proceed.

I have already finished Marie Kondo's first book The Life-Changing Magic of Tiding Up and am reading Spark Joy, her follow-up, I am going to devote my next challenge to a blog about how it works for me. How does this Japanese mentality apply to an American home? Does the concept of joy mean enough to make way through the house-full of belongings I own?

I got to tell you all about how the first purge time.

Till then, what is on your list? What have you wanted to do, but have not gotten around to doing?

Career: Be a tree - grow in place

In an age when research says millennials change jobs 4 times before age 32 an d job sites advise switching companies to advance in your ...