Alright, it’s time for a KonMari update. Last weekend I decided to work on clothes. This is the first step. It’s supposed to teach you how to tune into the feeling of joy. I’m not proud to say that I’ve watched videos of other people doing this, and it’s always AMAZING.
When I did it, it wasn’t that amazing. It was kind of a bummer. But I did it.
First, as instructed, I washed all of my laundry, emptied all of the dresser drawers and closet hangers. and then piled my entire wardrobe on the bed. Konmari says to put it on the floor, but that’s where I keep most of our cat and dog hair. Plus I’m 42 years old and sitting on the floor makes everything hurt. Marie Kondo is 30. Big difference. Still, I debated. I don’t want to ruin everything by not following the very first instruction! But finally decided that if using the bed instead of the floor is all it takes to kill my success then I was probably going to fail anyway.
She says, “First, go through your shirts.” Pick up each one and feel it and ask yourself: does this shirt spark joy?
I started with some easy ones. Favorites. Heck yes, this Rolling Stone Obama campaign shirt sparks joy. Look at it! It’s awesome! And when I wear it he’s looking down and laughing at anyone shorter than my chest. Joy, indeed.
But it was sad to come across shirts that used to spark joy but now are tired, stained, torn, and clearly needed to go. You’re supposed to talk to the things you toss, like the fabled Indian thanking the buffalo he is about to eat. I’m sorry, friend. Thank you for being a great shirt. Sorry I never read your care instructions, and just tossed you in cold water with everything else. Sorry I got fatter and stretched you out. Sorry about the block printing ink. Sorry you were poorly made by that asshole at American Apparel. Sorry about the stain — what even IS that? Gross. Sorry.
Note that Konmari talks more about THANKING things, rather than apologizing to them but I was raised by a Mexican Catholic mother, so this is how I thank things.
It was going well, but then I committed a Konmari crime. I started second guessing my decisions. And yeah, pulled a few things back out of the rejection pile. Because here’s the thing, okay? I’m not rich. If that shirt is warm and soft and works perfectly for layering under stuff, then the small stain on the front is nobody’s business. When I can afford to replace it with a nicer one, then hey! Joy-sparking items only. But until then I can’t justify getting rid of something that is useful.
She sort of dances around this kind of thing later, those boring, joy-free things like household tools. Because after she got rid of her joyless screwdrivers she broke a nail trying to fix something and then she realized oh WAIT, having the right mundane tool on hand when you need it sparks a certain KIND of joy. The joy of not being an idiot who tries to unscrew something with your fingernail. But it’s a reach, right? And I don’t want to spend money replacing perfectly useful, wearable clothing in order to learn that lesson. So I rescued some stuff. And you know, it’ll be alright. I got rid of a decent amount of clothing and will be ready to do this again later.
After my remaining clothes were put away, I stalled out. After clothes you are supposed to tackle books because it’s the next easiest category. Oh, man. Ruthlessly going through books means facing a lot of my own bullshit. We have sagging shelves crammed with many ambitious homeschool-related books, novels that I probably won’t finish, how-to crafting books — in other words, books where getting rid of them means admitting failure. Konmari would say to thank those books for teaching me what I don’t enjoy doing. Thank you, books, for teaching me that I don’t enjoy getting rid of books.
And then there are the books I keep because awww I remember reading that to my babies when they were *babies* and even though they don’t remember those stories because it’s been years since they were babies, by golly I REMEMBER. She wisely says to save sentimental items for the end, but for me that includes a lot of books. Still, I’m determined. This weekend I started slowly gathering them all from different parts of the house. They’ll be subjected to the JS (Joy Sparking) test soon.
In the meantime, I started clearing out some catch-all storage areas. Warning: this is NOT part of the official Konmari way. Do as the smart lady says, not as the dumb lady does! But the need to set up our sewing machine led to a cascade of problem solving which ended with me realizing oh my god there is so much crap everywhere. Two giant garbage bags are going away. I’ve decided that for crafty types and for people with kids and just for generally messy people, there needs to be like a pre-Konmari sweep through the house where you get rid of all the obvious junk and start doing some very basic work putting things into their proper categories for later. So! That’s what I’m working on this week and it is either a brilliant bit of insightful planning OR a sophisticated procrastination technique. Either way, stuff is going out the door.