If you’re following my series of posts on organizing and decluttering using Marie Kondo’s methods, then you know that I’m not exactly doing it in the recommended order. By all rights, I should be on fiction or kid’s books, or my cookbooks, but I don’t have enough boxes and I really prefer to be doing a category or subcategory in one go.
Also, if you’re committing to doing your whole house then there are these weird in-between stages and resultant clutter.
So before I tackled another big project, I decided to break it up and work on a few small ones and since I’ve been unearthing office supplies from all over the place, I thought those would work. I also have an unwieldy box of stationery, and the less said about my gift wrapping junk the better.
Beautiful, ain’t it?
The funny thing is with these subcategories is not just finding out how much stuff I truly have, but also discovering my truly bizarre organizing methods. In the file box that normally houses the note cards and stationery, I also found: 3 small blank books—one of them partially filled, an assortment of post-it notes, wooden clothespins, a bunch of letters people have sent me over the years, and 1 harmonica (because that totally is a logical place to put one).
I chucked a lot of the greeting cards. They were either oddly specific or just weird. I also got rid of some of the note cards. If they were unwrapped, they’ll go to someone who can use them. Otherwise, bye bye. They did not spark joy.
Gift wrap and accessories were not too hard. I’ve dealt with the mess before. The problem I think is not how much I have (although I did purge some ribbon I’ve just never used and some tacky bows), but with my storage solution. I can’t think of a better one at the moment and I need to tell myself to hold off on that for now (although I liked the suggestion I saw on Pinterest of mounting one of those plastic bag containers to hold the paper rolls). I can revisit all of this once I’ve gotten through everything else.
And then there was the subcategory of office supplies. I am a little surprised that this was all I had.
For some reason I must have inflated the amount in my mind. I know I got almost everything. I emptied every drawer I had. I expect a few more paperclips will pop up here and there. In the end, though, this wasn’t too bad. If the ink had dried up, out the pens and highlighters went. I assembled all the blank notebooks and pads and will try to keep them in one spot and use them as I go. I’ve been doing that at work and it seems to be a functional method.
Kondo is a big believer in using what you have to organize. When I started this, I was doubtful because most of my shoe boxes had been recycled and I didn’t have a lot of spare stuff around, but as I’ve emptied tins and boxes, they’ve been coming in very handy. I cut the lid off the tops of one of the boxes I used for filing paper, set that inside my filing cabinet, and then put all the other smaller lids and box halves in it for the supplies.
Again, I’m not in love with where I’m putting the finished subcategories, but it needs to go somewhere temporarily. Once I’ve gone through more, I know I’ll have a better sense of the space I have to work with.
In any case, I think Kondo is very right about trying to keep all of a category in one place. It won’t work for everything I have, but it will work for enough of it. I don’t live in some massive home. I can walk the ten steps to the office to find paperclips or fifteen to the bathroom to find emery boards. They don’t need to live in every drawer I have.
- Things are beginning to hit home with this process.
- I need to stop buying for lives that I will never live.
- I need to really be discriminating in what I acquire.
- I need to let go of guilt about purging things that were gifts.
- I need to get past the mindset that “the fill-in-the-blank goes in this drawer/cupboard/closet” like it’s some commandment from on high.
It happens innocently. You start out maybe with a limited amount of space. Your little end table starts out in your bedroom until you have something better, but when that happens, it never occurs to you to empty out the drawer. And the next time you do tidy, because you’ve stopped seeing the items, you’re tidying the drawer, not finding a logical home for the items in it.
I’m probably boring people with this. It may not be for everyone. And that’s totally cool. But it’s working for me.