11/08/2016

Why I Got Rid of 70% of My Belongings

Good morning friends!

Full disclosure: this post turned out way longer than I planned. I had originally intended to break up my journey with the tidying process into many blog posts, but I find I have so many things I want to write and share with you that I am wrapping up my tidying series in one blog post. Here it is.

I have finished the KonMari method and I think I ended up donating 10-12 Jetta-fulls of stuff. “Jetta-full” is my new measurement meaning: trunk + backseat + driver seat completely filled. This blog post is mainly to mark “complete” on this task as well as to reflect a little bit on what the process has meant to me. Getting rid of my excess belongings allowed me to find what I truly like (I had no idea that I love floral things and jewel tones. Call me a grandma, but they make me happy).

I also had no idea that tidying could be such a physical journey of self-exploration. It is like taking a trip without leaving your home.

I began this process in October 2015. It took me a full year to “complete” the KonMari method. 3 rounds of tidying, specifically. I did tidy “rapidly and all at once” as Marie Kondo suggests, but full disclosure, I did have to do it 3 times total to get to where I want to be. Some categories I had tidied sufficiently the first time and didn’t need to revisit (I.e. Sentimental items, I have one box for this in my closet and I’m happy with leaving it that way). Others definitely needed attention (see: clothes, kitchen/pantry, books). Even as I write this, it doesn’t really feel “complete” in my mind yet, as now I have to address the “tidying wake” of maintenance issues such as fixing my closet door that’s been broken for the last year, fixing a medicine cabinet, and finalizing some kitchen/bakeware details. But alas, I am going to write this post anyway.

Clothing and shoes were obviously tough categories as I imagine they are for most first world women. We are bombarded by advertisements and play the Comparison Despairison game with ourselves on social media every day; it is HARD to change our perspective on fashion and clothing.

When we detach our self esteem from the external — materials, fashion, even makeup — we are free to express ourselves and to feel beautiful without the aid of the latest trends.

Tidying my clothes did make it much easier for me to stop spending money in this area, though. But I’m not going to lie, I visited the mall this past Friday to deal with some phone issues and to enjoy the holiday decorations, and I felt myself slowly falling into the vortex of the “I need this sweater, it’s just like so cute and I don’t really have a lot of sweaters and even right now I’m a bit chilly so I could proooooobably use this…”

Nope. Nope nope nope. I nope’d right out of there. I did wander into some of my favorite stores to “window shop.” I felt the fabrics, appreciated their beauty, but remembered that my wardrobe needs were few. I didn’t buy anything on sight, making a pact with myself that if I felt strongly enough about an item, I could come back another day or order it online. I still haven’t bought anything 4 days later. We all have our own mental tricks we use on ourselves to stay true to what we set out to do, and that was mine.

Some of the hardest items to give away: my tennis racquet I’ve had since 8th grade. I love tennis, but I can never find anyone to play with me, and I don’t want to pay to take lessons at an athletic club. I figured I probably needed a new one anyway, since that one has never even been restrung (and all the tennis players gasped in horror). Hopefully someday I find a reason to buy a new one. 🙂


Another hard area to tidy: my hobbies
. I donated all my art supplies: watercolor and acrylic paints, paintbrushes, colored pencils, drawing supplies… everything. I wasn’t making time to paint like I used to, and every time I opened up my linen closet, the remnants of my days of art making were staring me in the face. It didn’t feel great. I won’t even get started on my knitting stash… but now I’ve committed to working on ONE project at a time. Right now, that’s knitting! Hello winter, I see you.

And finally, the last category that was personally difficult to purge: books. To say that I love books would be an understatement. I know many of you can relate. When I’m among the books, I feel home. When I breathe in their musty scent, I feel at ease. A little anecdote I love to share is from this past September when I went on a young adult retreat. I was nervous despite the fact that I knew a handful of people. I was placed in a completely new environment, and I did my best to leave my phone in my cabin to “unplug.” Upon visiting the chapel where we were able to spend personal prayer time as well as celebrate mass on Saturday and Sunday, I wandered up to the second floor. The chapel was small and made of pine, clearly a labor of handmade love. The second floor was an open U-shaped loft with two spiral staircases, looking down onto the rows of chairs, benches, and the altar. The walls were made of alternating widows and tall book cases with incandescent lighting under the shelves, displaying the books they contained with pride. In front of the book cases were big and inviting rocking chairs. I plopped down in a rocking chair in front of a book case, let out a (silent) sigh of relief, and thought, “Ahhhh, my friends. There you are.” All of my anxiety dissipated and I was able to relax and enjoy the retreat despite being out of my comfort zone. I LOVE BOOKS

I went from owning probably around 70-100 books (including cookbooks and textbooks kept in my office at work) to about 18. Find the titles I kept here.

My favorite hidden space would have to be my medicine cabinet. I love that little makeup case. And the ease in which I can get my daily morning routine items in/out of this cabinet has removed so much frustration and stress from my day, beginning first thing in the morning.

So where did my stuff go?

  1. Clothing: Sold at Plato’s Closet ($67.57), donated the rest.
  2. Books: Sold a few books on Amazon.com ($30.06). Could have sold the rest at a used bookshop, but I had too many to carry and decided to donate them instead.
  3. Djembe drum: Sold at Guitar Center ($30). They buy used musical instruments!
  4. Old FitBit: Sold on eBay ($39.50). Got half my money back! Not bad.
  5. Old Phone Case: Sold on eBay ($6.50).
  6. Old 2007 MacBookPro + iPhone 4 (no longer working): Recycled at the Apple Store via Apple’s recycling program.

Selling stuff takes patience and time, but it’s worth it. It is also a nice thing to donate items that someone would actually want i.e. not just donating your “crap.” So keep that in mind as you embark on your tidying journey. 🙂

My life since tidying:

  • My condo takes literally an hour or two to clean top to bottom. Just straightening up takes ten minutes.
  • I have more free time than I know what to do with.
  • I save more money than ever before.
  • I have less distractions. I feel more connected to God, to myself, and to others.
  • I actually like the decor (although few) items I have. I’m not restless trying to come up with new design schemes to make myself like my condo more.
  • I invite more people into my home.
  • I spend SIGNIFICANTLY less time on weekends running “errands.” It felt like I was always running around and felt exhausted every Saturday. When I think about it, I was just managing things. Buy this, bring this back, exchange this, look for this, buy this, return this, exchange this. It. Never. ENDS. Until now.
  • I actually do the things I said I always wanted to do. I keep a running list on my “Notes” app of “things I make time for” (note: the wording here is intentional. Not “Things I want to make time for”, “Things I DO make time for”) so when I find some free time, I revisit the list and do what I said I wanted to make time for before I began the tidying process! This helps to keep your vision for your new life within sight and remember why you started.
  • I go out of the house more.
  • Owning less books means more frequent visits to the public library and borrowing books from friends.
  • I engage more in my community.

Truthfully, sometimes my newfound freedom is uncomfortable. Sometimes I find myself watching hours and hours of Netflix because I don’t know what to do with myself. That’ll be my next challenge.

Have you done the KonMari tidying process? What has been your experience? What was the hardest category for you to tidy? What are you hoping to create more time and space in your life for? Leave your comments below!

Related Posts:

Tidying Part 2

Tidying Part 1

 

 

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