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.

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