papers: create home thru konmari

For our first-ever Enjoy Life Project, we are working on Creating Home. The first step is to purge my home of the unnecessary, anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or loved. I am using the KonMari method, developed by Marie Kondo, a Japanese decluttering guru and author of two book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up {LM} and Spark Joy {SJ}.  So far, I’ve introduced the project, discussed my criteria and completed my clothes (part I and part II) and books.

Graphic. konmari paper

 Things that are pending weigh on the mind for more than you might think.

The past few months on the blog, I have consistently mentioned guilt.  Initially when I set out to create home for me and my family, I did not think that guilt had anything to do with this situation.  Turns out it was a HUGE part of this situation. This became very evident as I was preparing to tidy my clothes and I realized that my closet and my papers both hold a lot of items that are unresolved.  With clothes, it was the items that I could no longer wear. Or those that I had bought them with the idea that I would one day fit into them. You get my drift. Paper was another area where the guilt was SCREAMING at me. So many papers and resources that I no longer needed. I wrote about the journey in real-time and here is the transcript.

Tuesday, March 5 at 8 AM – I’m waiting on the Buddy Man to wake up and I have moved all the papers out of the literal and proverbial closet and unto the floor.  Here’s my view!

What a mess! I’m sitting on a trunk and I am SO OVERWHELMED! Nervous apprehension is an understatement. I have a headache!!!!!!  I guess there’s nothing to do but jump in and get it done.  Referencing my end goal now.

At 11:15 AM – The Buddy isn’t feeling well. So, I have laid him down to rest.  Back at it.

At 12:30 PM – Something has clicked.  I am SO SICK of sorting paper.  So, if it doesn’t spark joy or if I don’t need it for legal purposes, it is gone! Including notepads from conferences that I attended – into the recycling they go.

At 3:17 PM – Taking care of Buddy Man. Spot tidying in-between checking him out.

Thursday, March 6 at 6 PM – I just finished going through the first past-through of paper, minus my journals and sentimental items.  I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders that I have been carrying around for at least 8 years.  It was cathartic, there were tears at several points.

But looking at that first pass-through of reducing my papers to things that spark joy or at least are useful and needed makes me know I am able to do the hard thing dealing with emotions that I have been staring at me for 12 years or more. In fact, I found a To-do List dated 2011 with the first item being: Clean out papers.  The irony!

I had notebooks from a company that I tried to start.  Mementos from my years of employment that reminded me of the good times and how poorly I appreciate them when I had them.  I also had papers that reminded me of the bad times, seemingly breaking open old wounds, causing me to relive the pain and the disappointment.

In addition, I had seven, SEVEN, notebooks of style and fitness tips that I had torn from magazines and the web.  It was basically Pinterest before there was Pinterest. Most of these ideas I had enthusiastically began but never fully implemented.

Many times, I wanted to quit and dive into a pint of ice cream but I remember what Marie said. Things will get difficult. Just keep sorting. I did and it worked.

Papers. AfterThursday, March 14 at 9:15 AM – As I made the second pass-through of my papers, specifically my style notebooks, I realized the HOURS that I spent planning to live my life rather an actually living it. Gut punch.

Here’s what I have left to keep.

 Wednesday, March 20 @ 1:30 AM – Marie says that by tidying, I’m honing my intuition and ability to act.  That’s why when I was sick and couldn’t sleep, I decided to continue KonMari(ng) my Komono, namely my journals that I had planned to save to Sentimenal.  I think I now know what I need to keep and what I should discard so I gave it a go.

I had six planners which I kept for referencing dates and activities that I have been involved in.

I have a total of 28 journals that have been written in – only 5 of which were completely filled.  They stay, obviously. Fourteen of the of the remaining 23 haven’t even been written in at all. Shame! I gave away 6 of those because they didn’t spark joy. Eleven were emptied of relevant pages that I need to keep for reference and then headed for recycling.  The rest were kept.

Surprisingly it didn’t take me that long.  I finished within the hour.

I can definitely say that my skills of what I want to have in my life currently and what I want to take with me have become clearer during this process.  I think I will breeze through Komono.

I will be back next week with my tips and tricks for tidying my papers.  See you then.

enjoy life…

books: create home thru konmari

For our first-ever Enjoy Life Project, we are working on Creating Home. The first step is to purge my home of the unnecessary, anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or loved. I am using the KonMari method, developed by Marie Kondo, a Japanese decluttering guru and author of two book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up {LM} and Spark Joy {SJ}.  So far, I’ve introduced the project, discussed my criteria and completed my clothes (part I and part II).


When tidying Marie’s second category, books, Marie invites us to ask this question: What kind of books will reflect the kind of person I want to be?

If you read this blog with any regularity you will know that I love books and I love reading.  Books have always sparked joy for me.  They have such a special place in my heart that I devoted the entire month of October last year to discussing their importance to me. I went into the books category fairly confident that the books that I had sparked joy. Even more confident than I was with my clothes.  I had purged a few books from my shelves last year because I had a suspicion then that seeing some of those books was making me feel guilty about past decisions. So, a lot of them went. I didn’t think that I would need to get rid of very many.

And I was right.  I own 193 books. I gave away six of them.  Marie includes magazines in the books category and I had 29 magazines.  I kept 13; three of which were of historical nature and featured Michelle Obama on the cover, eight were for reference as I work on various writing projects, and two were current issues that I am in the process of looking through.

It took me one and a half hours to go through all my books. Seeing them all on the floor was a little unnerving but it didn’t make me shudder. The sheer volume of them sparked joy. I was happy to have so many of them in my life.

Surprising Discoveries

Books that reflected my current life were on the bottom shelves. My books about writing, research, etc. were on my bottom shelves and all the books about my past and former careers: event planning, grant writing, administrative support, were front and center. That struck me as to the value that I was placing on my current situation and how I was hanging onto the dreams of yesteryear. I changed that immediately. And now my goals are at eye-level.  It’s been a very interesting shift.

Unread books can be taboo in both the reading community and Marie Kondo and I was afraid that I would have a lot of unread books.  Shockingly, I only had 15, three of which I let go. And here, as a bookman (a person who loves books and reading), I must disagree with the venerable Marie. “The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it.”  I have a number of books on my shelves that I initially didn’t read or started reading and didn’t finish. But I came back to them later to discover that the time was right for me to read them. Women Food and God by Geneen Roth and The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge fall into this category for me.

Still To Do

85b7544a-7f1e-42bd-be72-14e94a7cd15dI am getting new bookshelves so that I can see all my books. Right now, most them are stored behind each other because while my bookshelf is very wide, it is not very tall. After I get the bookshelves and as I place the books on the shelf, that I will probably purge some more. My bookshelves will be constantly evolving: highlighting the girl I was and showcasing the woman I am now while pointing the way to who I hope to become.

By tidying, Marie says that I am honing my intuition and ability to take action. I love that. I’m going to need it because paper (and all that THAT entails) is next. OH BOY!

enjoy life…

Please ask any questions you may have in the comments. There are no stupid questions and I do enjoy sharing what I am learning. Please ask away.

clothes part II: create home thru konmari

For our first-ever Enjoy Life Project, we are working on Creating Home. The first step is to purge my home of the unnecessary, anything that isn’t useful beautiful or loved. I am using the KonMari method, developed by Marie Kondo, a Japanese decluttering guru and author of two book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up {LM} and Spark Joy {SJ}.  You can check out my intro, discussion of her one criteria, and Part I of Category I: Clothes. Then head back over here for Part II.

Graphic. konmari clothes

It was not my intention to have two posts for Clothes but as I was drafting, I realized that I had a lot to say and the post was getting way longer than it should be.  So, I am back with some surprising discoveries, and bit more about my process and tips for tidying my clothes. It is a little long so get comfy. I will also be answering your questions from the previous Clothes post. Thanks for asking. I have been living with a tidy closet for just under a month so I also wanted to share my observations about that as well.

A Word About Folding

Marie Kondo has a very specific way to fold which is unlike anything I have ever seen.  Her folding method is THE only key you need to maintaining a tidy drawer. Her book, Spark Joy, and watching her show on Netflix provided all the examples I needed to learn her folding method.  But there are plenty of instructional videos on YouTube about how to fold the KonMari way.  A simple Google search revealed over 34,000 matches, some by Marie Kondo herself.

I had been discussing with the Hubby the possibility of purchasing another dresser.  We have an odd number of drawers and he has the extra large one.  After purging my wardrobe and following her method of folding, I sheepishly related to him that our dresser would suffice. Needless to say, he is very much relieved.

Scarves. Before and After

Scarves. Before and After

Look at my drawers before and after.  All because of the KonMari method of folding. Her tip to store vertically instead of horizontally, essentially, placing things upright in a drawer, has changed my life.  I didn’t think I would be able to use this hanging cubby that I purchased from Target during one of my closet cleanouts three years ago but it has worked beautifully.

And the proof of the pudding is in the eating.  They still look like this.  Further,  because I am responsible for putting away the laundry of our entire household, I went ahead and refolded the Hubby’s drawers using this method.  Keeping his drawer neat has been an underlying point of dissatisfaction for me in our marriage since forever.  Petty, I know but I am happy to say that Marie has relieved that irritant.  His drawers are STILL neat after about a month!

I must confess that I didn’t follow her folding guidelines that last time I attempted the KonMari process, three years ago.  You really do need to follow her instructions for maximum effectiveness.

Surprising Discoveries

I do NOT need any more boots.  In fact, all winter I have been searching for some boots that were somewhere between winter boots with fur and dressy boots with cutouts.  And a wedge would be nice.  Kind of like these. IMG_7367

Yep! They were in my closet all along.  I’m so glad I couldn’t find any. It would have been a colossal waste of money. I do, however, need rain boots.  I have worn a crack into my Chooka’s.  I am sad.  I loved those things.

I have a lot of bags and I knew I didn’t need anymore.  Because of the type of bags I own, very structure, I am unable to store bags inside each other per Marie’s recommendation.  But I did purge a few and they are currently in their dust bags, one of them is blue, above my hanging clothes.  I need to remember what I own.  So I haven’t finalized that storage solution as yet. I have, also,  started following Marie’s advice to empty my bag every night into a storage box in my nightstand.  It has helped me switch to wear one of the other bags that I love, all ready instead of carrying the same one for laziness sake.

Then there were the undergarments! Undergarments have always seemed to be more of a functional thing that didn’t really matter.  Well, according to Marie, when dealing with undergarments, we should turn the “joy sensor on full”.  So, thinking that my panties should spark joy is something that I need to get used to. I did throw out anything that was old, had holes or was torn, and wonder of wonders, that number was over seven pairs, over half of my collection.  It is interesting that Marie states that after tidying, underwear is, by far, the top items that clients go out and replace, sometimes that same day. I didn’t replace them that same day. I bought some more the next day.

Undies. AfterAnd I found the neatest storage place to store them. The questions was asked about the lovely and colorful pink and blue box sitting inside my closet. That was a gift from my dear friend, Domonique. Inside she had placed a number of spa items, candles, salts, etc. and presented it to me for Christmas.  Well, afterward, I was unsure of what to do with the box.  Now, it holds my underthings and everytime I go to put them on, I think of her and her lovely gesture.  Talk about sparking joy.


Workout Gear. Before and After

Workout Gear. Before and After NOTE the use of the shoe box lids.

As I stated, I had been thinking we needed another dresser. The drawers in our main dresser are very deep, preventing easy access to clothes on the bottom.  But Marie suggest storing things in layers, filling the bottom of the dresser with folded clothes and resting a removable box or box lid on top of them which will hold other clothes, preferable lighter weight items. It worked. Which brings me to my first tip.


Hang on to ALL boxes that are in good condition throughout the tidying process.  You will probably be able to use them again sometimes in the most unlikely places.

If you are unsure of whether an item “sparks joy”, it’s in-season and you have worn it within the last two weeks, hang on to it.  It is a useful piece and joy can be found in that usefulness. I I have added the item to my shopping list and now am on the hunt for a replacement that sparks joy. Thanks for that question.

If you really love an item, it is highly sentimental, hold it for the Sentimental category at the end of your tidying marathon. I’ve included my wedding dress, shoes and purse; my faux fur coat and a coat from my Aunt; and some running tees, into this category.  I will come back to them at the end.

After clothes, ride your momentum and move to the next category.

Still to Do

My closet doesn’t have a light inside and with my affinity for black clothing, everything looks the same.  I need to get some lighting in there.  Additionally, I still have quite a few feet of storage space that I can use as I continue to declutter my home.  We will see what gets stored back there.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: Over the past year, on and off, I have been slowing working through Anuschka Reese’s book, The Curated Closet. Her process was also very helpful in decided things that didn’t necessarily spark physical joy but I needed to keep.  It helped me decide about a few things that I was on the fence about. That’s where I got my tip for if you have something in the last two weeks, you should hang on to it until you find a suitable replacement.

I also decided to follow Anuschka’s suggestion and store my off-season shorts, pants, and tees in a clothing storage bag underneath my bed.  I have tried keeping all season clothes in my closet before and don’t like it.  My storage bag is like a drawer so it allows for the vertical storage that Marie Kondo recommends. I can see everything that I put it in there.

Marie said that the tidying process represents a huge turning point in a person’s life. I’m already finding that to be true.

Did any of you guys work on your closets at all?

Next Up? Category 2: Books!

enjoy life…