I promised you a picture of my sock drawer.
But first, can I tell you how amazing my sock drawer is? I am not kidding when I say I am excited to choose my socks every morning. Because it’s so neat, and I can see all my options, and I can see when I’m running a bit low on socks. And I even have a separate pile of my dance socks so I can just dip in and grab them before heading out.
I had no idea a sock drawer could give me any pleasure at all, but I have had my eyes opened. Yes, it does take a little longer to roll the socks after you wash them, but the extra few minutes is entirely worth it.
While we’re at it, why don’t we take a look at my T-shirt drawer, because that looks pretty cool too.
I finished going through all my clothes about a week ago. In the end I got rid of maybe 40% of my clothes, twenty-one garbage bags donated to Goodwill. A few bags of pure landfill trash in there as well, unfortunately.
Next on the agenda was books. I did them all (except music books, which is its own special category) in one brutal afternoon. My friend came over to offer moral support. There are now stacks of books all over my house that I am giving away, once I box them up and maybe get a response to my email from the book sale I am hoping will take them away. Also a big stack of DVDs, and soon stacks of VHS tapes (why do I still have these?) and CDs.
Again, I am giving away a lot, but there is still so much left over. It is very humbling.
It is an intense experience to be engaging with my stuff in this way. The pure excess is shocking, and the amount of emotion that can come up is quite tiring. I have an actual aversion to buying anything right now. My favorite clothing store sent me an email about a sale and I instantly deleted it. Last weekend a friend mentioned there was a sock store down the street and I deliberately didn’t go that way. The last thing in the world I feel like I want is more stuff.
Marie Kondo says most of her clients take six months to tidy their homes, and I don’t know how they do it. I’ve been doing it four weeks, and I’m already so incredibly ready to be finished. In addition to CDs, which shouldn’t take long, this weekend is all about papers, and I either need to find a shredder to borrow or else I need to pay for a shredding service. Even the logistics of tidying are tricky and boring. No wonder I’ve been putting it off forever and ever!
But in spite of my fatigue at this process, I am still committed and really glad I’m doing it. As one of my friends put it, do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you? My stuff has been owning me way more than I would like. And this process also reminds me of the things I own that I truly do love: my beautiful copy of Hyperion, the wooden dragon I picked up in Bali, my collection of knee socks that keep my feet warm.
And then I can peel back yet another layer and say this: it’s all just stuff, and this isn’t where I want my primary focus to be long-term. It is how I spend my time and who I spend it with that matters, and the purpose of my stuff is to support that.