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.

 

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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.

 

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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).

 

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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?

Shake and Vomit

This is a gem of a story. I actually had completely and utterly forgotten about this event. I don’t know how. My brother reminded me of this story yesterday and I laughed so hard I almost puked. Again.

 

My family is not an affectionate or loving family. We did not hug, or touch each other in any way. Like, ever. Not even when I was a child. Which is one thing that makes this story so strange.

 

Once when my brother and I were both in high school, we were hanging out int the kitchen together. I suspect we had just finished eating an after school snack and were cleaning the kitchen. You didn’t leave messes in my house.

 

Even this level of messy makes me anxious.

 

For some unknown reason, my brother picked me up off the ground and started shaking me. Like, shaking me up and down, the way you would shake up a soda to be a dick.

 

This shit is funny!

 

I don’t know what possessed him to shake me. And he didn’t know when I asked him why yesterday, either.

 

We laughed and I said, “Stop shaking me or I am going to puke!”

 

But I was laughing and after putting me down for a second, he picked me back up and shook me again. Still laughing, I again threatened to puke on him.

 

And instead of stopping, he shook me again.

 

 

 

Like a vodka martini.

 

I puked all over him. All over the kitchen. All over myself.

 

Two gifs, one post… Sorry.

 

 

 

Right then, we heard my father pull up. We surveyed the mess and looked at each other.

 

We started cracking up laughing. In fact, we were laughing so hard, I was crying. We knew we had to get the mess cleaned up before my father got in the door.

 

Just remembering the story made me laugh harder than I have in a very long time.

 

My brother yanked off his vomit soaked shirt and I grabbed the kitchen towel. We mopped up the pile of vomit with a speed never seen before.
We got the kitchen cleaned in record time. We threw the vomit-y clothes and towels in the washer and started the load. And my brother and I were upstairs laughing in our rooms before my father ever made it in the front  door.