I started my summer reading with something my close friends will find hilariously fitting: THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP. Described as a “guide to decluttering your home… Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.” This is serious stuff. My friend, Bronwen, wrote a funny, but somewhat scathing review of this ‘methodology’ but my interest was piqued.
My newest book indulgence inspired the month-long challenge.
This kind of wacky, eccentricity seems right up my alley. Kondo asks, “Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?” Yes, Marie, yes. They do. And I am, admittedly an OCD (mildly) freak who has used a label maker to identify the drawers (by content) in her cupboard. I have a ‘hanger system’. I have come to understand that these routines/rituals/house rules, which others find weird (but which they often concur make complete sense) are what keep me sane at home, creating a safe-haven where I can FIND my things easily and know where they go; this is a necessary process after a long day at work, teaching people’s children, in an environment which is largely chaotic, messy, disorganized and dirty. I’m going all in for this one.
This is my month of KonMari Method. As she advised, I started with SHOES.
Put ALL the shoes in a pile. All items of the same type. Get them from ANYWHERE they might be hiding and put them together so you can pick them up, one at a time, for the KonMari Test.
I made/encouraged my wife to participate also. She and I moving in together, early in our relationship, was less a ‘thing’ than the amalgamation of our two closets. ‘You moved into the DRESSING ROOM?’ our friends would joke. This shared space requires a shared approach. Plus, she’s wonderfully ruthless.
Two women equal a LOT of shoes. A LOT.
Even our cat, Felix, found this process exhausting. He later sought out a comfy spot, on top of shoe mountain, to observe our success.
I am no Imelda Marcos, but I still managed to generate and get rid of an impressive pile. Marie, I feel lighter already.
Imelda Marcos, amongst her shoe collection; impressive for the First Lady of a country that was bankrupt.
Things were not so dire for us. Actually, I cheated a little, keeping a few pairs of VERY nineties shoes (for costumes), which actually makes total sense, because I love Hallowe’en and really, you can’t buy shit like this anymore. I’m just starting, so I expect a few growing pains. Also, I needed to keep my dance shoes, tap shoes, hip hop shoes, ballet shoes…
Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown in February 1986. Philippine authorities took possession of what assets could be found, including Imelda’s trove of 2700 shoes. No developing country can excuse its leaders recklessly decking themselves out this way, while the people struggle to make ends meet.
Good job, Alison. Imelda would be proud … that you had so many to start with; ambivalent that you were getting rid of so many; impressed that so many of the ones that remained passed the KonMari test of asking, “Do these spark joy?”
So, where do you put all these tidy, joy-sparking shoes? In clear plastic shoe boxes, obviously. Another thing that inspires joy…is that once you get rid of the things that are weighing you down, you can make room for things that you really love – and from selling the castoffs to a consignment store, as well as donating many pairs to Goodwill, we have some money to put towards a few pairs we REALLY love. We sold nine pairs for a profit of $58.00 and may list another online, plus we have three reusable bags FULL to drop off for charity.
Tidy and with more room to breathe, my shoes are happier (according to Marie Kondo). But this drew attention to how crowded and sad my other clothes are…
Keep your peepers peeled for the next assault on my personal possessions: The Accessories Department.