Can you believe we’re already six weeks into 2016? Is it just me or has time flown by? I feel like I spent the last six weeks cleaning, organizing, and purging. Wait, that’s because I did. I only took one weekend off to go snowshoeing up in the mountains near Big Bear. Other than that every weekend I’ve been tacking a new area or section. Cleaning, organizing, purging. What started all of this you ask?
Last year it seemed that everywhere I turned The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up by Mari Kondo was a topic of conversation. After all she’s managed to garner herself a bit of a cult like following. So, I figured I would pick up a copy to see what all the fuss was about. Luckily for me, the library had an audio book version.
Every year I go through and I do a “big clean” of sorts. Usually just takes me a weekend. It works for a while but than, life creeps back in. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a messy person and I believe everything has a place. Sometimes though, things get out-of-place. After this whole Great Purge of 2016, I now understand why, but I’ll get to that later.
I’m notorious for multi-tasking. I always have multiple projects going on at any given time and many times they’re big projects (building a headboard, building a dining room table, working on a quilt, etc.) and I don’t exactly have a garage or dedicated work space for these projects. I’m not Martha Stewart. Haha! So, I work on these projects in whatever area I can. I’ll move my dinning room table out-of-the-way so that I can spend a weekend making a rug for example. With that being said, I sometimes have to leave incomplete projects out to dry or because I have to go to work. I’ll work on them a bit every day until they’re done. This means sometimes that projects can feel like they drag on and on. Also, I try to get out as much as I can and last year I did a lot of hiking and exploring and this year I have plans of doing more of the same. That means that projects are sometimes piled into a corner or stuck in the closet until I can get back to them…a month later. Eek! Also, last year, a friend of mine stayed with me on and off for a couple of months and that took a toll on the place. By the time the holidays rolled around I was feeling like a completely disorganized hot mess even if I had managed to get a lot dome over the course of the year.
So, I decided to read the book and give it a shot. What could it hurt?
In the book the author, Marie Kondo, really stresses the importance of going through all of your belongings and asking does this spark joy (aka are you skill using this, do you love it, does it make you feel happy, etc.). There’s also a method to how you should go about tackling everything starting with clothes, then moving to paper, and things. She also assigns emotions to everything and, while, I thought that was a bit of a stretch, my socks do not have emotions, I do understand the need to respect and appreciate my belongings.
I didn’t exactly follow everything in the book. For me, I started in the kitchen as I thought it would take the longest to get through and the one causing me the most problems. My spices were all over the place, I had multiple bottles of the same hot sauce, practically empty bottles of things, things turning to green mush in the back of the fridge, etc. From the kitchen I moved on to tackle clothing, then paper, and finally miscellaneous.
In the end, I went to the Goodwill twice with a full back seat. I could have waited and just gone once, but I had to get this stuff moved out of my way in order to do more purging. Plus, Lexi loves to go anywhere in the car. So, I piled everything into the back seat and tossed her in the back of the Subie and away we went. I also, took some of my larger items like a metal stool, wooden frame, shelves, etc. and set them out on the street. They had found new homes within a couple of hours. Yay! I also created a pile of stuff to sell on ThredUp, Postmark, and Offer Up.
Through this process, I discovered I’m a paper hoarder and the paper portion was a larger undertaking that I thought it would be. I’ll tell you all about it in a few days. In the meantime just know that I took bags and bags and bags and bags, out to the recycle. I have one last batch of paper that I need to shred and then I’ll be done. Also, I hold onto things thinking I’ll repurpose them. Sometimes I do. Sometimes, they sit in the cupboard or closet for a couple of years. Case in point would be an old duvet. The down stuffing was coming out all over the place and for Christmas 2014 I had gotten a new one but held onto the old one. You know, just in case. I drug it out of the cupboard after a year and within seconds it looked like I had de-feathered a bird in the hallway. It was time to get ride of it. It was just taking up space and leaving behind a mess to clean up.
I would say, at this precise moment, I am 95% done with this whole undertaking. Yay!!! The final result: Freedom.
It feels so incredibly amazing!!! I was able to get a bunch of miscellaneous projects crossed off the list while I was at it too. Things like making a new bedskirt for the bed. Previously, it looks like it was waiting patiently for El Nino to finally hit and bring us a great flood. Haha! I also was able to institute some small little upgrades so that everything I was keeping would have a proper home. I hot glued some clothes pins inside of the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink so that I could put away my dishwashing gloves and sponges for example. In the bathroom, I found some cute white shelves at Ikea and got them up one evening.
There are still things to do around the place, but then again, there always will be. But for the most part most of the projects that I have been working on over the last year have helped to make this place feel a little bit like home and a little bit more permanent, at least for the time being. It’s also given me a sense of freedom.
What’s left, you ask?
Kitchen: replacements for dishes that have been broken, serving utensils and steak knives, an ice cream maker, a couple of proper aprons, to name a few.
Dining Room: my bar lives in between my dining and living room and well it’s still missing some of the essentials like a cocktail shaker, bourbon, etc. I’d also like to stain my chairs a weathered, sun bleached grey. They feel a little out-of-place at the moment.
Living Room: I’d like to add another lighting source to a couple of the corners to brighten the space up in the evening and make it easier to read in there. There are two frames in which I need to fill with photos and mats. I’m in the middle of a project that needs to be hung above the TV to round out the gallery wall space.
Bathroom: I’d like to get some fresh towels for the space as mine are looking a little ragged. Also, I need to seal the ladder that I use as a towel rack so that I won’t leave marks on the new towels.
Bedroom: There are a couple of frames that need to be filled but that’s about it. My closet will be undergoing a re-vamp of sorts too.
Misc: I’m on the hunt for some new gear in order to keep exploring. I’m not searching for new stuff just for the heck of it either. I have to replace my daypack as it was so beat to hell and the water proof backing had come off. I had it for more than a decade and when I wasn’t using it my friends borrowed it for adventures. Also, my hiking boots died on my Mt. Whitney trip so those need to be replaced. I’d like to tackle the JMT and need some lighter weight and more advanced gear to make the trek.
There’s a sense of freedom that comes from having a good clean out. I feel lighter and know that everything really does have a purpose and a place. There are a few things left to do and I’ll get them accomplished in the coming weeks. With the majority of this behind me now I know that when it comes time to move, which I have a feeling will happen this year, I won’t be taking anything with me that I want or need. It’ll make everything go much more smoothly.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. But I don’t plan on having to do it again. I’ll be more selective in the things that I bring into the house moving forward and be more willing to find a new home for the items that do not bring me joy. Life is too short to hold onto things that don’t inspire.
Has anyone else read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up? What did you think? Who is planning a Great Purge this year?