Konmari Adventures

“My criterion for deciding to keep an item is that we should feel a thrill of joy when we touch it.” – Marie Kondo The life-changing magic of tidying up.

To be honest, only one or two items of my clothing sent a shiver of joy up my spine. Most of them sparked a memory, a regret, a story. (Poor Barbara had to to me listen to me travel down memory lane when she came over to help me declutter on Friday afternoon. Thanks, BW!) I like my stuff. I just don’t love it.

So the process is this: hold an item of clothing in your hands, ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” Yes? keep it. No? toss it.

So I gave or threw away about five or six garbage bags full of clothes. I have about one-quarter of the clothes I started with. image

This is before.

And this is after

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It took me two afternoons. I have several empty drawers now. (I have two dressers and I think I am going to get rid of one of them.) I am trying to love what I have.

This is such an awesome concept — Keep what you love. I love these housekeeping movements. I was a big fan of Flylady. Because of her, I keep my sink clean and shiny (her first rule).

I do believe our culture is too materialistic. We have too much. And we think accumulating more will solve our problems. But our stuff needs tending. We have stuff and we have to think about it. Our stuff swamps us — does not free us.

I learned about Marie Kondo’s book and movement from a NYTimes article and from a friend in a writing group. Konmarie-ing is becoming national obsession. So is minimalism. I wish I were a minimalist. I have noticed when traveling — like when we were in California at Christmas-time — the less I have, the less I worry about. And the more time I have to read a book, walk in the park or ride my bike. It is, after all, experiences that delight us, not things.

Less stuff means less housekeeping and more time for Facebook. There is a popular Konmarie FB page – and a Flylady friend and I started a Declutter FB group to post our goals.

Incidentally, my blogging has been sporadic in 2015. I have felt ambivalent about writing without pay, getting too personal, and besides, I have had so much work — teaching, editing, writing. But this summer, I am aiming to post every Sunday morning. I am rebooting my business and my home life. I am trying to keep what I love and discard the rest. I love blogging. It sparks joy.

Tending Twilight

the day darkens. i get too tired. i find the housework oppressive.

i ask for help, then don’t want it. like in the decluttering. i don’t know why it bothered me. what to do with the tapes from my old show? leave me alone.

Today #snowday #gopark #riverside #park #urban...
Snow day in Riverside Park via mbcoudal

the snow — more of the same color of the same grey sky.

i like when the sky is a crisp blue, like today. then i can forgive the weather gods. i can go on. but when dark and grey, i want to stay in bed. i have only a few weeks left of winter. i would like them to be azure blue.

i would like blue sky days. but after all the grey — why is grey so like death?

i go to Florida — old people, malls, alligators.

for a few days, i sleep in a twin bed, and laugh with Nicole and my brother, (and dad and Marty). we talk about creativity.

Tonite at the lower school #sunset #riverdale ...
Lower school sunset in Riverdale via mbcoudal

that is the start of my spring. and that is followed by the buds on the trees in Riverside Park.

my kids get older, get away from me, find fault in me, our apartment, why don’t we have nicer floors?

the sun does not ask for thanks. so i try to just give light too. just do my job — mother, wife. but the endless giving becomes a chore.

sure, the sun must want a thank you. the grey day gets no thanks. for it takes my energy. it does not give. it is the negative ion. i need the positive.

the wind whips and the shadows blend into dark night. i know spring comes after winter, always taking me by surprise. then the summer. lighter, longer days of laughter, hugs.

we are destined for spring.

Laughter is the language of the soul
Laughter is the language of the soul (Photo credit: symphony of love)

I wrote this in a writing group last weekend. Here’s more writing from a blogger in the group: Wendy: the prompt that made me cry

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Sorting Socks

Part of my problem with sorting socks is that my kids don’t mind wearing non-matching or nearly-matching socks. I wish wearing mismatched socks was a trend when I was a kid.

I know it’s Election Day. I woke up feeling confident that I would win. Er, I mean, my man Obama would win. So while I’d like to blog about the 2012 election, I thought I’d post about finding happiness a little closer to home.

Yesterday, I was super excited to declutter. Crazy, right? I sorted more than 50 pairs of socks and it took me hours! These socks had hung around the bottom of the laundry basket for several years, years when my kids’ sock sizes grew from child to adult-sized.

At the bottom of the basket, I found toddler socks. Yes, it’s been a while since I dug down that deep.

My kids are teenagers. So after a momentary fling with nostalgia over those cute little toddler-sized socks, I tossed them away.

I’ve never enjoyed sorting socks. People say, “Do it while sitting in front of the TV at night.” But I don’t watch TV.

I found inspiration for this boring activity from this blog post, 29 Ways to Declutter. It seems Deb Smouse is saying that there’s a spiritual side to decluttering. I like that. Her post begins with this quote:

Clutter is a physical manifestation of fear that cripples our ability to grow. – H.G. Chissell.

When I left my job six weeks ago, I thought, “Great, now I’ll have time to do all those things I’ve always wanted to do, like sort those damn socks in the bottom of the basket.”

Yup, I’m finding satisfaction in getting to the bottom of the barrel and finding my kids’ childhood.

Incidentally, I’m renaming this blog, To Pursue Happiness and I’ve rolled all my blogs home here.

With starting up Boot Camp For Writers and kick starting my freelance blogging career, I just don’t have the time or energy to post on all four of my blogs, so find me here! For the month of November, I’m posting every day.

Facebook group for home organizing

This is totally embarrassing. I had been doing a lot of stash and dash at my desk at home – work papers, teaching ideas, bills, notes for blog topics, kids’ school papers, my art projects.

I posted a picture in a closed Facebook group, 2012 – Out With the Old Declutter Group. The group, founded by Alison, is a way for about 30 eclectic friends and acquaintances to hold one other accountable for making and keeping our home organizing goals.

And one Saturday in January I posted this picture:

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I saw what I needed to do. I told the group I would clean my desk. So, little by little, throughout that one day, I organized. I found things I had been missing, like my wedding ring. I also found a still life of a pear that I’d painted and thought was pretty good, so I framed it.

To organize my papers, I grouped like with like. I filed some papers in my file cabinet, started a binder full of curricula, threw out papers, Christmas cards, my art.

And then I posted a pic of the finished, decluttered desk:

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It felt so good to make my home space pretty and functional. And I didn’t need to hire personal organizer. I just needed social media — my online accountability group and my camera phone. Priceless.