Sunday, October 9, 2016

I have UN - KONDO'd!


At 66 years of age, I know who I have been in the past and I know who I will become and who I am now. With all the wisdom that six decades can impart, I have UN-KONDO'd!

In the spring, after reading Marie' Kondo's best seller, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I had religion. I couldn't wait for the promised serenity that would arrive from throwing out half of what I owned, the peace of knowing each day where to put everything, and the joy of seeing all my possessions in perfect, harmonious order. I started with our bedroom and my possessions, as Kondo advises. Jeans were rolled, not folded as she describes, in nice little stand up rows in my dresser drawers. Undies were folded and stacked perfectly in organizers that perfectly matched their folded sizes. Everything I could wear was touched, questioned about its joy provoking abilities, and tossed, donated or kept. Most of my goodies were donated.

Here I am six months later and I have had it. As our seasons change and as I get ready each day for work with a wardrobe choice, it was clear this was not working for me.Here is why and I will first tell why not and then what I thought did work.

Kondo has no idea what it is like to leave in FOUR highly contrasting seasons. We have the current Fall with its need for lighter, windbreaking and rain resistant jackets, shorter boots, and lighter weight scarves. Then there is winter, oh, winter! Does she know those fall boots don't work here in winter? Does she know I and my friends get the 50ยบ below zero boots for winter and wear them every day? Does she know we need lovely weather boots for winter party dress and therefore various colors and styles?  All these boots need a spacious home and are not summertime wear. Does she know when visiting up here it is polite to bring a pair of slippers in your bag to change into so as not to drag snow, salt and slush into the homes of friends? We need slipper storage! We are also serious layer people up here. Every sweater or blouse worn in winter has some sort of underneath thing going on, like a tee or turtle. And if we are going to be outside  there are thermal undies under that. Let's see. We wear special socks, special gloves and mittens and layers even under our jeans and work pants. In her perfectly aligned closet there is none of this. Oh, she has you consolidate all seasons into one closet, Spectacular fail there! Not to forget Spring, there are muck boots for outside till the mud season subsides, and those lighter jackets but in Spring-y colors to help us escape the depression of one long cold winter. Summer? I am convinced Marie lives in eternal summer, the better to make her organization work!  Think sandals, sneakers, tanks, shorts, ad nauseum needing to be in with all those boots and slippers. They have to get in that closet with their friends too!

Space.  Does Kondo know how much space all this stuff takes? Uhh, big NO! Houses up here have basements and lots of closets for a reason. There is one closet for one season and another closet for another. She does not have a clue about the seasonal traditions of transitioning and moving said wardrobes from the far away closet  to the bedroom closet.  I moved all this stuff today and my soul knows that I am now ready for winter. Summer, 2016 is over and done.  I know my fifty below boots are found and still wearable. I know my pretty, strappy, metallic sandals will be their for summer evening socialization with friends in 2017. Marie may have joy in tidying, but she has never known the joy of marking the seasons as they pass with the movement of a wardrobe.

Her must have order of putting clothes in the closet.  This totally did not work for me and was the BIGGEST reason I had to un-Kondo. I set up my closet exactly as she describes, all those long things  on one end graduating to the shortest things I own on the other. WTF? Really, think about it. Is that even logical? For the past few weeks I have been so distraught about reaching into the deep dark end of the closet to find the deep, dark pants I own, pushing everything out of the way and hopefully coming up with the pants I want. THIS DID NOT WORK. My closet is, just my side, 8 feet wide. so decent enough. Doing it her way put the pants hangers behind the wall on one side or the folding doors on the other. It just sucked getting my clothes out in the morning.

What did I keep about Kondo-ing? There is some good about it and much was just a spot off of what I was already doing. I  love that she is so organized but one can be more organized with more stuff, too. Dear Readers of this blog for some time: you all know I am an organization freak and can't function creatively till all my tiles are lined up in perfect rows. It frees my mind to just be creative when they are. It works for me and I get that it doesn't work for others and that is OK. So I do appreciate some of her organizational ideas and they will stay. Here are a couple:

Clothing  stacked in rows and folded her way. I have been doing this for sometime with one difference. I roll. My dresser drawers have rolled up jeans in them so that when I open the drawer I can see them all and pick what I want. One drawer has colors. The other has denim blues. Why roll? It cuts down the wrinkling and eliminates the infamous "knee fold". I really like looking in my drawers at this display. It works. Her book also made me re-organize my closet so my undies and bras, socks, bags, hats and shoes are all right there in my face, stacked in little totes, folded neatly and ready to be chosen. I open the doors in the morning, reach up to the shelf where I can clearly see my underpinnings, grab each one I need, then my external garment choices, some jewelry and head to the shower. There is no looking elsewhere for anything for work and it makes my start of the day easy.  I have even, as a result of the initial Kondo-izing, a hanging organizer for all my jewelry, I just reach for my baubles. I can pull everything together facing my closet and not taking one single step left or right.

I am glad I read her book. It was definitely a motivater. But her methods,  for the most part,  didn't work for me and I am glad I didn't go the whole house route of Kondo-izing now.

Today was spent re-doing the closet and all my clothing. It now works FOR ME.  I loved how this marked the change of seasons and that I was now ready for whatever winter threw my way. That's what it really is about, what works for you and Marie's method may not be it. I look in my closet now and feel peace. My pants for work are directly in front of me as I open the doors. The tops are right next to them. Things I rarely wear but still need, like a gorgeous black suit for funeral occasions and some "party" outfits, are in the back recesses waiting for their necessary moment, not stored  in graduating size mode. Each category of clothing is organized by color. Be still my heart, that so makes me happy!  My wardrobe storage now works much better for me, functions wonderfully, IS organized and makes me feel good when I look at it. Now I can go downstairs and start sewing.

What are your experiences with Kondo-izing? Tell me I'm not alone..............Bunny

44 comments:

  1. Honestly I never understood the Kondo movement. Maybe because I purge constantly and like to keep things organized. Maybe it's because I like all of my stuff. But I'm glad that you kept the things from the book that worked for you and held onto the organization that you were living with. It's been interesting to read the post-Kondo or living with Kondo posts.

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  2. I read parts of the book but I thought there was too much mushy nonsense for me (socks don't have feelings). Also, I figure all these kinds of books should be put into the perspective of the reader: what works for the author doesn't always work for the reader. Remember that she is Japanese, and accommodation there is very different from the US. They literally don't have the closet space, where you or I would.

    My 2c: take away what is useful for you, discard the rest.

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  4. Life isn't one size fits all. Try things and if not happy move on. That is maturity.

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  5. I read the books. I learned a trick or two. I wholeheartedly agree with you - what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. I always seem to jump on any article or book that is going to solve my life's problems by helping me with organizing and storing. Reality is - it's not a once in a lifetime experience. Every single day you have to keep up with putting things away, keeping things tidy. There is only one person who knows how and what you keep, and that is you.
    (Isn't it amazing how much stuff we need just to keep ourselves going through 4 seasons?)

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  6. I've been happily ignorant of the Kondo thing! But you mention some approaches that I already use. My clothes closet is arranged by garment type, within that - length, color, sleeve, and so on...lots of organization in my wardrobe and chests. I enjoyed this post - and I totally get the 4-season thing. I used to have them, now I'm one season and it does make a difference. And in the end - whatever rocks your boat!

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  7. What a fun post! I also agree that finding out what works for oneself is the way to go. Other viewpoints help clarify one's own. I enjoyed your journey!

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  8. What brings me joy in my wardrobe is what I can still fit into that makes me look something less than a barge. :)
    I spent the first 25 years of marriage in a very small house, so I was a purger by necessity, and now, by habit.

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    1. Your first sentence is priceless! Amen!

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  9. I read the book and discarded a lot of things per her outline-- for me the heart of the book is keeping what gives you joy and that worked for me and was life-changing in a lot of ways. But I don't put things away according to her suggestions-- though it is fun to fold t-shirts and store them standing up on their sides.

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  10. I read the book while my life was in disarray after the death of my father, moving my mother into care and downsizing my own home due to a pending move. I thought it might centre me but discovered quickly it only added to my stress. The best part was the new method of rolling socks which I loved to filled y husbands sock drawer. He, however, did not feel the need for such perfect bliss and it distressed me further to find the drawer a mess each laundry day. So, long story short, I will continue my slow purge, forget about the many dollars spent on moving belongings I was not yet ready to part with, and try to find homes for my things in this new place built in the early 1800s with no closets at all.

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    1. I lived in one of those closetless colonials many years ago. It was a challenge! Luckily, the place was huge and we had a room filled with garment racks. It was a charming old home.

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  11. Rearranging the way I organize my drawers (setting clothes on their edges instead of stacked) was genius. Now I can see all my sweaters, t-shirts, etc. I totally agree with you about the rest of it. My spatula doesn't exactly bring me joy, but how would I cook without it?

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  12. My experience is pretty much the same as yours! Pretty much the only take away I got from her book is how to fold clothes efficiently. It made a lot of space in my drawers. I agree that a lot of her advice is impractical - sometimes we just NEED things, they don't necessarily have to spark joy or whatever. And that animistic relationship she has with her possessions is a bit WTF.

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  13. I live in a basically warm, tropical climate (Houston, TX) and I switch clothing (closets) twice a year. I get bored with wearing the same garments all year long and enjoy changing my color palette. My closet is very organized by placing garment types together then arranging by color within the types. It makes me happy to see my mostly me-made clothes in such an orderly space. I keep my fabric similarly organized so it makes sense to me. I also purge garments and fabrics as I sew/buy new ones. I say do whatever makes you happy! So glad you are back!!! Karen

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  14. I never read it as the whole idea of minimalism does not work for me. I like the stuff I have and when I don't then I donate, toss, store as appropriate.

    I hang the vast majority of my clothes - I hate folding. I fold sweaters and tee shirts/tanks and casual clothes. I only own a few pairs of jeans. I remember hanging my clothes by color once and realized that was so absurd and not appropriate! :) the one area that stays truly organized is tops - sleeveless, short sleeves, long sleeves.

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    1. A kindred spirit! Nice to know I am not the only one who will never live in a tiny house with only 100 total things. :)

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  15. I must have had my head in the sand because I never heard of Kondo! I am glad you developed a system that works for you. I have some work to do organizing my clothes. I still have my summer clothes out! I definitely have to move things around soon!

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  16. So glad I am not alone! Some of the folding ideas have worked really well, the rest not so much. Probably the biggest take away is deciding if something is really worth the space in your home. I think I had my own lane at Goodwill for awhile. Haha!

    In addition to seasonal clothing, let's not forget the seasonal bedding! The wool blankets, comforters, and flannel sheets all need space.

    Probably the one thing I could not agree with is how she deals with books. I love books and the thought of ripping out the pages of interest and tossing the rest really bothered me. Better to make a photocopy of said pages and then pass the book on.




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    1. We are hoarders in my house and I am guilty of owning a mountain of books. This used to drive my husband crazy until I subscribed to Scribd. Now all my books are digital and I get to read as much as I want without adding clutter to our house.

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    2. Her book destruction really stressed me when I read it. Much of her handling of paper did, for that matter. Nearly every library has at least one annual book sale per year. Donate those books, people. They will go to good homes or be put on the shelves if needed. I could never kill a book like that.

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  17. Interesting! I am another one who never got the whole Kondo thing. I could use more organization in my life, but I knew that wasn't going to work for me. It sounds like it was a great exercise, though, because you have more clarity!

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  18. I found the concept of getting rid of those things (usually gifts) that didn't bring you joy liberating. But I still have too much stuff. Every year, I discover that I can live for months on a very basic wardrobe with only accessory changes. Much of the stuff in my closet could go. :( (By the way, don't shortchange yourself; you have seven decades of wisdom: 0-9, 10-19, 20-29 and so on.)

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  19. Meh. I read about the concept of what would give me joy, decided that her ideas did not,and so didn't buy into them. Sorted. It seems like just another complicated way of being neurotic to me.

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    1. OMG. This. Exactly this. It just seemed way too WTF.

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  20. i am totally the opposite to most of the people here so i thought i would chip in. i Kondo'd about 2 years ago and i love it. my things have never been so easy to find and my wardrobe has never been so tidy.

    I don't think she tells you to get rid of half your stuff - just the stuff that doesn't "spark joy". clearly there needs to be another category for necessities that it doesn't seem like she covers off - who has a potato peeler that sparks joy? but from reading what you have written, you already have and know the things that spark joy - your glittery sandals and spring jackets, as well as the necessities to cope with your climate.

    for non- US people, we just don't have the storage space that most US homes do, so perhaps the need to have less is less pressing?

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  21. I read most of the Kondo book, got started on my wardrobe and got rid of things I really wasn't going to use--the first pair of jeans I made which was now worn out, OK, I can live without them. I got as far as organizing the dresser drawers following her advice and decided that was as far as I could go with the system. Living in northern New England I need a variety of clothes of different weights. I like her drawer organization but that is all I have adopted from the system. Her idea of destroying books is sacrilege. I do think about how I'd love to throw away all the bills--they certainly don't bring me joy--but that wouldn't be very practical, nor would getting rid of useful records. Thank you for sharing your take on Kondo-ing. I agree wholeheartedly.

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  22. I enjoyed reading her book a lot, and I don't think I implemented any of it! The idea of only keeping what brings you joy resonates with me quite a bit, I have a good bit of 'stuff' hanging around because I think it's too good to dispose of it, but having it hanging around just stresses me. The 'Kondo method' gives me permission to let go of it. It's a direction I was moving in anyway, but reading the book has clarified things.

    As others have said, take what suits you and leave the rest.

    On the climate thing, I really wear similar stuff most of the year. Jeans and tees in the summer. Jeans, long sleeved tees and jumper/cardigan (jumper = sweater) in the winter. A raincoat in the winter with a warm layer under it is usually OK, though I have a seriously padded coat for if we get snow or frost. There is no need to pack away half your clothes at any time though.

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  23. I think there's a huge cultural difference that affects how the Kondo book reads and works. Not only Japan vs. rest of the world, but small apartment vs. house with full basement and/or attic and garage, and sometimes a barn. It's really not much different advice from other books about decluttering, but rather than the usual "do you use it and how often?" method, she went with "does it bring you joy?", which I think plays well with the mindful-ness movement that's been going around the last few years. And yes, I thought saying thank you to things as you put them into the discard box was odd. In general, I think she just came up with a clever way to get people to root into those dark corners and get rid of things that are filling them up but not really working for us. And not feel bad about getting rid of things.

    And I do have a spatula and a veggie peeler that bring me joy. The eggs don't stick to the spatula and the peeler is nice and sharp and doesn't rust. Maybe joy isn't quite the right word, but I really appreciate how well they work.

    I keep thinking I should give her method the full try, but so far, I've only done the kitchen utensil drawers, and a half baked version at that. I haven't decided to dedicate the chunks of time to giving her method (or anyone else's for that matter) a proper try yet. I've got sewing to do!

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  24. Like Carolyn, I am also not on the Kondo team. Perhaps some people are so overwhelmed by stuff that Kondo's ideas offer some relief. I am not, and lots of things--like paper--bring me joy. Good for you that you discovered your own methods that work for you.

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  25. It's interesting how many people are not-very-Kondo. The thing that puzzled me was the concept of things giving one "joy." Like the reader with the peeler and spatula, I have things I use because they serve their function efficiently. "Joy," to me, is something that happens when a baby is born. I do like belongings cleaned up, neatly folded, etc. and I do get rid of stuff from time to time. But being Kondo-like is not and would not be a way of life for me. And don't let me get started on the book thing.

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  26. So glad I never bothered to read or buy her book to make me change my ways. We clear out books to make way for new ones, never throw them out but donate to local groups. My wardrobe is stretch pants and knit tops for sitting on the floor every single day pinning hems so the closet is filled with hanging folded over pants in a rainbow sequence with tops hanging above those in rainbow sequence. A few dresses, no skirts and a robe hang by themselves. Whatever I have in the closet brings me joy that I can breathe and move in them otherwise they get donated regularly. Gardening shoes and boots live in the garage and an entryway closet has rainwear and one coat in it. No special occasion clothes or party clothes live here since we moved 15 years ago. I think those of us who are racing to 70 get to make our own rules! So glad you have re-claimed your seasonal and regional reality, Bunny...hooray!

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  27. Great Decision! I find Kondo too restrictive; too many rules.

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  28. Bunny we live in 750sqft, my "closet" is an unboxed in closet system with about 2.5 feet of hanging space for me, and the husband has the same in two ayers because he of course lives in separates, whereas I am adress lover and so I need the length. The cubes up the left side are for his "smalls" which are in baskets, and I claimed a cubby for my jeans and pants and one for scarves and pashminas. I have the three drawer dresser for my own smalls and unders, and three flat plastic bins under the bed for my off season wear.
    Upstairs in my studio I have a lot more rack space for "her" costumes!
    I haven't read her book, it just makes me ant to roll my eyes. But I do feel a growing consciousness of quality over quantity, which we sewists have always had a bit of a handle on I feel, and I am choosing to not hoard and acquire, and no more RTW except underthings and things I can't be bothered to make. I have my summer wardrobe down to about 12 garments and am working to do the same for winter, plus the overs and other things needed to make it all work in various weathers.
    This comes from living in a smaller space, being busy and a natural acquirer and love of maximalism, not for me a Scandinavian or Japanese inspired white box with one sofa! So to strike a workable balance is my gal, while also being as conscious as I can be as a city dweller about my footprint on the planet.
    I am with you. I will happily hurt the feelings of my socks to have it work for me! xo

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  29. I read it and thought, "not much actually brings that woman joy." How on earth would she be an artist or seamstress or anything when she tosses out good tools and uses a kitchen pan for a hammer? But I have many hobbies, am perfectly at home with clutter, and don't give a diddly if my socks are thanked. So there was no'un-kondo-ing' for me to do.

    I like having seasonal clothing and supplies for my art/etc projects and I save seeds for my garden, which I'm sure is unacceptable in her world white empty box world. Thank goodness I didn't read the bit about tearing up books. Horrifying!

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  30. Thank you all for your great comments on this topic. I think Leigh's comment, justs previous to this, says it all. May all your clutter bring you joy. For creatives, joy just does not come from living like Kondo.

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  31. As always, your post and these great comments made me smile in recognition, chuckle and do some soul-searching. I have read the book and thought it was even a bit too woo-woo for me. But I will say that years ago the British series "Life Laundry" and then several of Peter Walsh's books did get me to look at my stuff with new eyes. I think that is what her book is trying to do but with more structured rules. I am fortunate to have a home and space for my belongings and interests....sewing, felting, reading, gardening, hiking, biking, kayaking etc. And my gosh, the seasonal changes are just as you described. But I do have to keep watch on myself and make donating/removing a regular routine so just reading a new version of organizing can inspire me. But throwing everything I wear into a pile, just the vision of that is hilariously funny...while the tearing up books is just sad.

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  32. Not just you. I read the book, loved it (and gave it to a few folks as well) and have done clothing and books so far. I love the idea of keeping things only that inspire joy. BUT - my boyfriend and I live in a 300 square foot apartment. We SHARE a 3 drawer dresser and one 4 ft wide closet. We live in 4 season NYC and also do various sports AND I'm a musician so I have various evening wear type things in addition to casual and office wear. The idea of not swapping stuff out...I tried it and it never really worked. I keep very few shoes but due to seasons I have rain boots, snow boots, sneakers, hiking boots, 'fashion' boots, then summer sandals, etc. In 4 season living, not keeping many shoes still amounts to about 15 pairs just to cover all these things. Then I have my dance clothing, hiking/outdoor clothing and my performance clothing. I had it all jammed in the drawer (along with long underwear, summer and winter PJs, etc.) and it was just goofy. So I swap out my summer/winter clothes and hiking stuff I use only a few times a year is in the BACK of the closet. I think she has great ideas and, as I said, it was great to get of things I was keeping out of obligation or just lazyness but practicality must reign. We seem to experience more weather and do more activities than she does. I've made it work for me (love the folding!) as much as I can but swap out for my sanity!

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  33. You are hilarious! I loved this post for its honesty. I have two toddlers. No way do I have time to roll clothes AND get them put away. Folding is faster. For the kids, I hang a complete outfit up, lest Daddy send them off to daycare looking like rummage sale castaways. I, too, live in a four-season climate. Beyond clothes, I love decorating for the holidays. Yes, it's a "space waster" to store boxes of decor that only come out for a month or so, but holiday decor brings me joy. I'm not going to stop that, either.

    Thank you for such an honest post -I loved it!

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  34. Whew,...I have felt so guilty for not reading her book! I feel as though I just went to Confession...and I'm not even Catholic. Bottom line I choose form over function. My closet is my she-shed and I enjoy walking in there and seeing beautiful things - especially the fabric and garment construction. Yes the pants are in one section and dresses in another while skirts and tops never merge. But what is so inviting is that the sections are color coordinated and interspersed with the occasional burst of color or sequined item that makes the closet look interesting and luxurious. There are numerous items that I will never wear again due to size or appropriateness but I love looking at them. Some because of the memories and others because the fabric is so fabulous and a piece of art. I don't believe there is a one size fits all system.... closets are too personal.

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