Cleaning Up

You guys can probably guess by now that when I get obsessed with something I get OBSESSED. This week I have been consumed by an obsession.

This is not some book review and I don’t know the author of this book. But I just have to talk about it. I read this book on Monday called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.


Image result for the life changing magic of tidying up


I have read a few books about cleaning and organizing. I am actually one of those people that likes to clean. And I love waking up to a clean apartment.

I also have no issues with tossing things. I am one of the most unsentimental people I know. In short, I did not think the book would really do much for me.

But, the book sounded interesting. And it was short and relatively inexpensive. So I bought it.

I completely fell in love with it. I have not read any other reviews of her or other blog posts so I can only speak to my own experience. The author is a professional organizer in Japan. She calls her method Konmari. The Konmari method is a way of interacting with your stuff I had never considered before.

Like I said, I am great at getting rid of things I don’t use. Especially when it comes to clothes. If I don’t like something, or it stopped fitting, or the cut doesn’t suit me; it is gone. I do not hang on to outfits in case I lose weight or anything like that.

But the Konmari method is not about what you don’t like, it’s about what you love. What brings you joy? And I had honestly never considered that before.

I mean, I love many of my belongings. But there were, it turns out, even more that I did not.

I have spent every single day this week after work going through my things. And by going through, I mean taking every single, solitary thing I own and touching it, thinking about it, deciding if I loved it.

The first day I did clothes and books.

And you guys know how I feel about books. I had three books shelves all double stacked on each shelf. With books wedged in between the top of the books and the bottom of the shelf above it. Also, there were more stacked to dangerous heights on top of each shelf. I love books. But, it turns out I did not love all the books I owned.

The first day (Monday) I got rid of ten boxes of books. So many that I now only need one book shelf. And nothing is double stacked anywhere.



All the books I gave away. I hope they make someone very happy.


I also got rid of two trash bags of clothes. And when I say ‘trash bag’ I don’t mean some 14 gallon kitchen garbage bag. I’m talking about those big black yard waste bags. I also don’t fill them halfway full so it is a manageable weight like a responsible person. No, I wait till it is crammed full. So full I can’t always even carry them by myself.

I got rid of more than half of my clothes.

At first glance in my closet I panicked. I mean, it looked nice but what did I even have left to wear? Then, I looked closer. I realized that all the clothes I had kept were the ones I wore. Like, the only ones I even bothered to wear, ever. I would be fine. And I have been so far.

The next day (Wednesday) I did papers and jewelry. I have a cedar chest, like those old timey hope chests, and mine was just filled with paperwork. I had old notebooks from high school crammed with stories. Old journals. Every medical document from the last 10 years (and believe me when I say there was a ridiculous amount of those).


20151208_232131 (1)

My first day of giveaway.


I ended up throwing out an entire trash bag just for paperwork. I had three grocery bags of papers to be shredded.

I have to stop for a second to tell you guys that when I took my papers to work to shred I carefully went through them. Luckily. Because I found my birth certificate. I didn’t even know I had that. I thought it was lost forever. Apparently my mother had sent it to me, without notifying me, mixed in with a bunch of unimportant school work.

I also found my living will. Another document I didn’t even realize I still had. And finally, I found my car title. Something I thought I had lost while I was homeless for three months.

I was pretty happy I went through those papers before shredding them.

The final day (Thursday) I went through my closets, craft tables, and kitchen. Marie Kondo recommends doing all this in less than six months. I did it in less than a week.

What can I say? I’m an overachiever. And I really did not have THAT much stuff. Considering.

Now my apartment looks amazing! It’s transformed. It’s so much cleaner and uncluttered and gorgeous. And I love every single item in it.

But, the best part is how much better I feel. It’s no exaggeration. I had so many things I was holding on to. I had things I had kept out of guilt or obligation. I just let all that go. It was like a weight was lifted.

No more drawings from old friends that I didn’t talk to anymore. No more bullshit trinkets that people had gifted to me. No more junk drawers. It feels amazing.

And here is the grand total at the end of all of this:

I got rid of 7 trash bags of giveaway to the thrift store.

I also had 6 trash bags of actual trash.

I had 10 boxes of books to give away.

I shredded 3 grocery bags of papers and CDs to be shredded.

I got rid of 2 bookcases.

I am not saying this is something that will work for everyone. I’m not saying this has solved all my problems in life. But I am so much happier now. I am so glad I read this book.

Has anyone else read it? Does anyone have an experience with a ruthless overhaul of their living space?


19 thoughts on “Cleaning Up

  1. Congratulations!! That us a fabulous accomplishment and just in time for the holidays! I have gone through a massive purge recently when I re-modeled my hone office. It necessitated cleaning out my closet and drawers so I could move the Hunter’s clothes into the bedroom. I got rid of a futon, clothes and STUFF! It felt fabulous! I raved about my office for weeks.

    My biggest dump was moving out when I got separated. I only took the bare minimum and left behind sooo much stuff because a) I wanted less clutter (after I had to get rid of my mom’s stuff when she passed away, I am more aware of stuff accumulation) b) my Ex had picked out so much of it, so I wanted no reminders. As I bought things for my new place, I went very slowly and thoughtfully.

    Today I try to think long and hard before I buy stuff. I avoid stores, fight impulse buys and ask for mainly gifts that are consumables (massages, concerts, dinners, wine). I don’t want to leave my kids a house filled the gills with crap they have to dispose of.

  2. I saw that book in a store and starting reading. I didn’t buy it, but have it on order at the library. I’ve purged a number of times. It feels amazingly good. Time to do it again. I’ve been so anxious lately because of stuff. Too much stuff. My parents and kids are borderline hoarders. It’s hard.

  3. Congrats on your recent purge! I also feel good about being a purger, and I love the feng shui, but reading her book ALSO altered how much I purged. Truly. There are some things I really saw differently after reading her book, and I was forced to admit, if I really want to keep it, I need to make a space for it and honor it properly. I agree, life-changing, space-changing book!

  4. I have to be honest – I hyperventilated a little reading your post. I also love it when things are organized – for example, I can’t cook/bake in my kitchen if there is clutter or dishes in the sink. I have to have everything clean before I begin and then I also clean as I go. Definitely a different style than my daughter, who doesn’t seem to see the mess to begin with and then leaves her dirty bowls and pans piled high in the sink (or on the counter) to deal with “later”.

    When my husband left, I purged a bunch of stuff – but there is still a lot left! I just can’t bring myself to throw out old school work (and we’re talking OLD school work!), clothes that are one size too small, or knick-knacks that people gave me. I always worry that I might NEED it someday, I might lose weight and then I would have clothes to wear, or that my grandkids might like to see my junk someday. Not my JUNK – I just realized that sounded very pervy – I meant the crap I have stored in my house.

    It helps that I have a garage and attic and that is where most of the boxes are, so my house itself is not very cluttered – but it also is a hindrance, because since I only see the boxes in the attic about once a decade and I don’t have the energy to unstack and go through all the boxes in the garage – they continue to sit there. Plus, a lot of those boxes belong to my kids – some who are older than 30 and have a home of their own – but live all the way across the country.

    If some plans I am making for a future job pan out, I will have no choice but to cut my belongings down to a very few (as I would be going overseas) – perhaps I should read her book to prepare.

    • I think it is an amazing book to read to pare down for a move. My thought process was either moving closer to my sister or dying some day. Either way, I don’t want a bunch of stuff lying around. I’m still marveling at how different my space is now.

  5. I am going through that process. I read your post a few days ago and it must have subconsciously stuck because all of a sudden I am cleaning and tossing. I am getting rid of things from dead neighbors and all sorts of crap I have been hoarding forever. I even applied this to my spice rack today. I am also painting my walls white…to celebrate the cleanliness. But there is a force out there that wants me to hold on to things. Its not easy but I will get through this!!

  6. Oh my husband would love if I went through all of my stuff and threw most of it away. I’m pretty good with rotating books though, or buying a book on kindle. Usually I buy it on kindle and if I really, really like it, I get a hard copy of it too to put on display. So my actual bookcase is only around 50 books right now, but my kindle is jam packed. And the library is awesome too.

    MISS YOUR FUCKING FACE! We should chat soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s