Monday, October 12, 2015

One Question That Will Make You a Better Writer, Make You a Better Wife & Mom, and Even Clean Your House (no, really- I have the before and after pictures to prove it!)

Back in June I wrote about this totally life-changing method for decluttering (aka, tidying) called KonMari.

Just so you know, it's still life-changing. Life has been changed. So much.

So much that I had to share it with you again!

First off, let me show you that photo of that drawer from my last post in June:

Isn't it lovely?

Here is that same drawer today- I literally stopped writing this and went upstairs, opened it, snapped this photo. No rearranging or retouching (though it is at a slightly different angle and more clothes are showing and I didn't have as much natural light, so it's not "glowing" quite as much).

Still lovely! How is that possible? (notice there's a pale green shirt absent- I decided at some point over the summer that it didn't spark joy. So I plucked it out and put it in my donate pile. Easy joy!)

The reason it's still lovely is this: this drawer sparks joy. And everything in it sparks joy. So when I put these, my favorite clothes away (I'm kind of a clothes horse, so I have a lot of favorites), I feel happy to do so.

The question that I mentioned in the title of my post is this: 

Does it SPARK JOY?

Does your home spark joy? Do your belongings spark joy? If they don't, it's time for them to go (just your belongings, not your home). Because when your home is a wreck and your stuff is shoved in, stacked, smooshed, and you have to work hard to find things you need, you are not feeling the joy. Once that load is lifted, when you are able to open closets and smile, when you open a drawer and can clearly see everything in it nestled happily in its own spot, you can breathe.

And when you are happy and you can breathe, guess what else you can do? You can WRITE! Because finally, you have a home that isn't screaming CLEAN ME!!!! in your head, drowning out all your great ideas and suffocating your creativity. There is a palpable change in the energy flow of a home when it only contains items that spark joy, items that are joyfully arranged and stored respectfully.

When this was lurking behind my master bedroom linen closet, the last thing I felt was happy and ready to write:

I can practically hear everything in there crying to be let out, to have space, to not be getting lost and crushed. UGH!

But this? Holy cow, does this ever spark joy! Everything in its own spot, with its own breathing room. This sparks joy. This- towels, toilet paper, and hair products, of all things- inspires me (yes, this is the same closet- and the books are part of my gift stash, lol). 

One of my favorite things about the KonMari method is that she encourages you to not only declutter your stuff, but to mindfully choose what you keep (does it spark JOY?) and then, because you have chosen to keep it, to respect it, and to mindfully display/store it in a way that also sparks joy.

Another horrifying before. (Does anyone else think it looks like a few of these items are actually trying to climb out and commit suicide? SO SAD. Don't do it, purple bottle! It's not worth it!)

And after. 

I still haven't totally finished with this yet- most of these items are things whose categories I haven't yet tackled, but I was able to get enough out that did fit in the other categories that it's looking a LOT better.*

Another before. This was under my bathroom counter, with the blue basket on the floor that usually lives on the top shelf.

That one green bottle on the top shelf and the gold one on the bottom have just given up completely. I can't say that I blame them. 

And after.

Looks like I still need to wipe down that shelf a bit (oh, the delights of a flash in a dark space). But the top shelf has just the two items you see, the bottom has the first aid kit and hair dryer, flat iron, and curling iron (which I will be getting a holding container for soon).

Kids' books before- no, we do not normally keep them in a massive pile on our living room floor (convenient though that may be), we gathered them from all over the house as per the KonMari method.

The living room kids' books after (they each selected their favorites for their own rooms as well):

The (gulp) coat closet in the foyer before:

And after we took everything out and I announced 1 pair of shoes allowed in the closet per family member (with the exception of the snow boots)- everything else goes in bedrooms:

My bathroom drawer after (didn't take a before- but trust me, it was scary):

A few more "afters" with no "befores"... nightstand drawer... 

(I realized one of the reasons things were getting lost in here was because it was so dark, so I added some pretty black and white floral toile contact paper in the bottom. Joy! And as you can see, I have not yet KM'd my writing utensils. Another category. Another day.)' medicine cabinet (nothing but mouthwash, ibuprofen, cough medicine, thermometer, Vicks vapor rub, and some stuff for their fish tanks)...

...and our kitchen medicine cabinet, which was so bad before that I had a cardboard box of overflow sitting on the kitchen counter *cough*hoarder*cough*, and the cabinet itself was stuffed, and whenever I wanted to find something 6 other things would fall out. At least.

Now it's separate baskets for pain meds, cold meds, tummy meds, thermometers, and a first-aid kit, each  in their own spot. No more will I come to this cabinet, feeling sick and miserable, and end up feeling more sick and miserable (and sometimes even tearful) having to shuffle through old, expired medications and weird, goo-covered bottles just to find some relief. I did my future sick self a big favor by cleaning this up for her.

Can't you just FEEL the positive, joy-sparking energy flowing through these open spaces?!

The purpose of this post was not just to show off my progress (well, okay, maybe a little- I'm so freakin' proud of myself!) but also to show you that if you're in a similar situation- drowning in clutter- there's another way to do this, and if I can do it, then you can too. And your family will get on board. My husband was so thrilled with my progress that he went through his clothes all on his own, then his nightstand, and he helped me with the meds (and he wasn't doing any of it in his usual 'if-we-don't-get-some-of-this-crap-out-of-here-I'm-going-to-LOSE-IT' way either!) I have tried to declutter in the past, and had some short-term success with it, but Marie Kondo finally taught me HOW. 

I still have a long way to go- many more categories that need some joy, like pots & pans, cleaning supplies, my books (gulp), and craft supplies (heaven help me), but I am excited to keep going because I can feel the change, and it is thrilling. I can only imagine how incredible it will feel when the whole house is this way. 

So again, if you're in the same boat (and I know this is a downfall of creative people- we're messy!) and you need something that will work, THIS IS IT. That's all. This is it.

I will keep you updated as my house progresses. :-)

*In the KonMari method you declutter by category, not by area of your house. So when it was time for us to do medications, we gathered every single medication from every location in the house- bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms- and sorted them all together. Makes you realize how much you really have, and makes you really think about where you store it.

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