Recently, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It was recommended by our real estate agent when we told her we are downsizing everything. She said she doesn’t agree with the spiritual aspects of the book, but that it is certainly a “kind” approach to going through ones things.
I tried to find the book at the library – no dice. So, I spent $10 on a little book I read in one afternoon and then set about to follow her method on Monday, February 5th. We decided we would donate anything that wasn’t trash during this “magical tidying” period for several reasons:
- Giving is an area we have felt “behind” in since the debt became so oppressive.
- The thought of “gifting” the things we need to release feels much more “joyous” than profiting monetarily.
- Donating saves time, which we are short on at the moment.
- Donating gets the items out of the house sooner rather than later.
- Donating allows us to focus our energy on the “magical tidying” process instead of splitting it between tidying and listing/selling/shipping. This means we are releasing so much more stuff because we’re focused on only keeping what we need/use/love.
We do plan to have a moving sale once the house is under contract to offload the items we’re only keeping for staging purposes.
While the process is “kind” per say, it isn’t easy. The concept is to gather every item in the home in a single category and sift through it all at once. For instance, the first category is “Clothing”. You pile all of this in the floor and go through it one type at a time (tops, pants, socks…etc). The idea is to ask yourself “Does this item spark joy?” And then you make a decision based on your answer.
Currently, I’m only sorting my things or things that might be shared but that I feel able to make the decision without input from the rest of the family. I’ve made it through the following categories so far:
- Clothing (the whole family has sorted this category so far)
- “Papers” – documents we’ve been saving forever
- Miscellaneous (basically everything else except Keepsake)
- Office/School Supplies
- Stickers, Craft paper, Scrapbook paper
- Art/Sewing Supplies
The fifth and final category will be “Keepsake”, but I have a long way to go yet to complete the “Miscellaneous” category. I lost count of the number of trash bags we’ve disposed of so far. I know it’s more than 20 though. I also have over 20 bags/boxes of items set aside to donate as well. Yes, we have way too much stuff.
When you pile all the like items together, you are better able to tell how many you have of one thing. Does anyone need 22 extra pairs of scissors? Um, no. The count was at 20 extra but I found two more as I was going through other categories. My pen collection has dramatically decreased as well. I was shocked to discover how many pens I actually had in the house while never able to find one when I needed it before.
I have made some alterations to her method. The major one: I do not thank my things, but rather I thank God for blessing me with these things. I have also had to ask His forgiveness for not being a very good steward over the years. As the number of items I have barely (or never) used continues to grow, it becomes painfully obvious that I need a lesson from Him on stewardship. I am also asking Him to give me wisdom in future purchases and contentment with less. I do agree with showing gratitude for one’s things by taking care of them and giving each item a place to “rest” when not in use. That’s good stewardship of what God has given me to manage.
I’m sure I’ll post more on this subject over the coming weeks (hence labeling it “part one”). Overall, it has felt very freeing to release/gift things instead of clinging to them for a change.