Posts Tagged ‘Marie Kondo’

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.

Read Full Post »

Stuff has a weight.


It doesn’t matter if it all has its own place. It doesn’t matter if much of it is hidden away behind doors and in cupboards and drawers. It doesn’t matter if it’s nice stuff or old stuff or ugly stuff or useful stuff.

Stuff has a weight, and I know that because engaging with it deeply the way I am now, I feel it. And so much of it carries the weight of the past.

I wore this skirt in high school. I got this T-shirt in Norway. I wore this dress to a high school formal or during a time when someone hurt me badly. I got this table from my stepmom who disappeared after she broke up with my dad, never to return. I wore this at my wedding. My mom made this. My mom gave me this. My mom owned this. My mom loved this.

I hold on so tightly to my stuff. But none of this is now. None of this is even close to now.

It’s as if this stuff, it proves these things happened. It’s physical proof. Coming from a household where memory was seen as the opposite of reliable, proof matters. I used to run over things that happened again and again because I was afraid I would forget, and by forgetting I would lose myself. And I’d seen exactly how ugly that could be. So I had my litany, like a horror show bedtime story, so I’d remember who I was and where I’d been.

It worked. I remembered.

And I realize now, so many years later, that I know what I know. I know what has happened to me. I know what I’ve done. I know the choices I’ve made, the good and the bad and everywhere in between. I know who has been important to me, who I’ve loved without measure, and I know the difference between the people I know who are safe and the people I know who cannot be trusted.

I don’t need stuff to tell me who I am, or who I’ve been.

Trust me to find something profound in engaging in spring cleaning. Yup, this is definitely who I am.

In The Life-Altering Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo says:

“It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure.”

When I was a teenager and a young adult, there were things in my life I wished were different. Hard things. I thought about wishing they’d never happened. I mean, I did wish I’d had it easier. But then I thought, “Well, I am the person I am today because of everything that has happened to me. And I like who I am. So that is something to be grateful for.”

Thinking this way didn’t make everything okay. But it did make it meaningful, and that was enough for me to move forward, to keep trying, and to not give into despair and rampant cynicism.

This is what I think about now while I make decision after decision about what stays and what goes. I’m not getting rid of the things I really love right now. And because it’s me, that’s a fair number of things. There’s no worry about me going all minimalist any time soon.

But it is not the stuff that matters. And some of this stuff, I’ve been dragging it around from place to place for reasons that are no longer true. If they ever were.

I’m letting go of the things that are heavy.

Read Full Post »