Category Archives: organization

Breaking the rules (again) – KonMari

Even after all this “tidying,” I’d be lying if I said my home was in order. It’s not. As I declutter spaces, I start moving some stuff out. For instance, when I did the clothes, I unearthed a lot of creative writing and a whole host of items for other categories. So now I’ve got these piles all over the place. Piles of annoying little, pesky things. Things that belong in the komono category.

By Marie Kondo’s rules, the next thing I should be decluttering are books. And I plan to.

Except I have rather a lot of them. Like everywhere.

And in the meantime, I have all this stuff all over the place. So once again, I’ve decided to go a little out of order.

I tackled what retailers call health and beauty products (meds, makeup, skincare, etc.) which I thought would be easy. Ha!

For someone who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, I have a scary amount of it. Or had. I just chucked quite a bit. Also, I had an insane number of travel sized things–and yet somehow every time I take a trip, I end up buying more. Every time I have a cold, I end up at the drug store buying a bunch of very expensive OTC meds and cough drops. It has to be pitch black for me to sleep, and I have several very nice sleep masks, and yet I can never find them. I have three first aid kits and, again, can never find what I need.

I am going to see if I can put an end to that.

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Clothes II – KonMari

I am really happy with the final result of going through my entire wardrobe.

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Clothes I – KonMari

I am in shock.

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Papers II – KonMari

It took me the better part of a week, but papers are done – KonMari style!

To review: 4 boxes (okay, 3 boxes and 1 expanding file box), two file drawers, 1 bill-paying basket, and I don’t know how many other stashes of paperwork here and there.

If you missed the last post, this was the before (not the full horror of the before, but still):

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Papers I – KonMari

Starting with papers may have been a bad idea.

The benefit to starting with clothes is probably that you have comparatively instant gratification. You can see the results pretty quickly.

Papers are hard.

New plan: after papers: clothes and then books.

On the other hand, I now totally get why Marie Kondo commands suggests that you find absolutely everything in that category first. It’s because every time you realize you have more, there’s this horrible sinking feeling of doom.

To quote Stephanie Pearl McPhee, “ask me how I know.”

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Decluttering plan – KonMari style

My copy of The Life-changing magic of tidying up finally arrived.

I read the whole thing. As a book, it’s not that dense or long. Also, I couldn’t sleep.

Right now, my work life is beyond stressed. I’m coming home to a messy house feeling exhausted, anxious, and out of control. I don’t sleep. I have some health problems that stress and insomnia aggravates.

What I do know is that when my living space is orderly, I feel more in control. I need to be in control right now.

So I think I’m gonna do it. The whole apartment.  Which is roughly 1100 square feet, three bedrooms, living room, dining room, front room, kitchen, bathroom, linen closet, 3 bedroom closets, coat closet/storage. Basement is done except for some stuff that’s going straight out to the curb this weekend for bulk trash pickup. Don’t need to organize what isn’t there.

After reading the book, I think I had the basics of the KonMari method down already so I don’t feel like I did anything wrong with my two little subcategories (linked here and here). She suggests starting with clothes because most people are not that attached to them. As I think I wrote in an earlier post, clothes are hard for me and I do feel attached to them, so I am going to change up the order.

The plan:

  • Papers
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Komono (Japanese for miscellaneous) – I expect this to take a long time, but hey, slow is better.
  • Memorabilia

I’m ruthless about paper and I don’t have an issue with books. I mean I have a lot of them, but I like to weed my collection regularly. Then I’ll tackle clothes and the rest of it. I’ve found some nice worksheets online that I’ll be using.

As for the how of disposal, if it’s good enough to be donated, I will donate. I generally do not mess around with consignment shops or selling, but if it’s worth it, I’ll do it. Otherwise I shall recycle or trash the rest. No one needs my ripped vendor t-shirt and I have enough rags already.

I’ll try for before and after photos of most of the projects.

Flying Blind with KonMari: Part 2

About two or three years ago, I started small-batch canning. I was strapped for cash and it was a great way to make my CSA produce last and to create comparatively inexpensive holiday gifts. Plus, the product is so much tastier than what you get at the store. But there is a downside.

As you can see:

canning before

My mom has this nice built in shelving in her basement where she puts all her pantry items. I do not have such a thing. I have a section in a basement that the Blair Witch would probably be at home in. Basically, I have this table. In the winter, it also needs to hold the window a/c unit.

So usually what happens is that I force my brother to come over to help me move the a/c unit downstairs, and I do a panicked amount of tidying and then we get it on there. At Christmas time, I make multiple trips downstairs, trying to distinguish the jars meant for gifts from the jars for home consumption. Also when I am putting up preserves, there is usually a lot of rummaging around trying to find empty jars.

The other big problem with canning: rings. See when you can something, you’re supposed to remove the rings because they can rust and then you can’t open the jar. Only when you give a jar to someone or open it, do you put the ring back around. So they usually have to hang out somewhere.

Okay. The container drawer was a success. Rather than attempt to sort everything out in the nasty Blair Witch basement, I thought about doing it KonMari style.

Please understand there is no joy to be sparked with this stuff. I mean one Ball canning jar is exactly the same as another Ball canning jar. But if I understand her correctly, it’s important to see what you have and to handle everything you have.

canning staging

I saw a few reviews and a few blog posts of people critical of this kind of process. I get that. At the same time, sometimes it helps to see just how much you have and moving it to another space allows you to do that.

By going through everything, I was able to put all the holiday gifts together. I now know how much I have of everything else; that next summer I will need to go through the hell of making green tomato relish; that I have more than enough apple butter for the winter; and that I have three jars of stuff I should probably use because they are approaching the 3-year mark.

9 empty cardboard boxes got broke down and tossed–even if half of the people I gave jam to gives me the jars back, I won’t be able to fill 9. They’re in the recycling bin.

The lids are now in one of my plastic containers and in one of the few empty cardboard boxes I kept.

I also came to terms with the fact that if I haven’t used quart jars in 3 years, it’s unlikely I will ever do so. They’re going to a friend.

And maybe if I didn’t verbally say goodbye to those quart jars, I was able to acknowledge internally that having them taught me I don’t need to waste my money on them in the future.

canning after