When I moved into my own apartment, I left a lot of stuff behind at my parents’ house. For months, my things had just been sitting there. My parents had to stare at the piles of school-related papers that I will never look at again, the books, and the office supplies. And then there were the piles of clothes that I never wore, didn’t take with me when I moved, but couldn’t quite bring myself to give away.
Going through everything felt like a huge job. I was overwhelmed by the idea and I kept putting it off, weekend after weekend, for months. Then my mom read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. It seemed like everyone in the blog world was reading it, raving about it, and my mom had to see what all the fuss was about. Mom filled me in on Kondo’s methods and idea that your possessions should “spark joy”. If you’re looking for a quick run-down, Penelope Green does a nice job of explaining some of Kondo’s practices, while sharing her own organizational experience, here. (I have yet to read the book, but someday I will.)
So Mom shared the advice and I got to work. It took a full weekend, but I got it mostly done. Bag and bags of shoes, pajamas, t-shirts, electronics: donated! The stuff I’d loved to its breaking point: thrown away! Thinking about the potential joy brought (or no longer brought) to me by my junk was a new way to approach the dreaded closet purge. And it helped, I swear! Even the cheesiest (to me) part of the process, in which Kondo encourages you to thank the belongings you discard, was a nice practice.
I’m about to attack my apartment using Kondo’s approach because, really, how much joy can 50 pencils and 20 pairs of running shorts be bringing me in my tiny apartment space? I encourage you to give it a try. Let me know how it goes and please share any cleaning/organizing tips you have.