Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Organizing Makes me Happy

In pursuit of meeting my goals I've been focusing on figuring out what makes me happy. I find the exercise quite difficult because a lot of things make me happy. So I have turned my attention to what makes me unhappy and try and remedy those. One thing I've noticed that causes significant angst is a messy and disorganized home. 

So I read the book that has been popping up everywhere "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and I have fallen for the KonMari Method hook line and sinker. What she says just makes so much sense, and outlines what I imagine is a more thoughtful life.  

I read the book this September and didn't allow myself to start cleaning because I didn't have time and wanted to dedicate more than one day to the efforts (Mari says that this process should take about 6 months!) So I started in October, a transition month sounded like the right time to start. 

So we are now three weeks through November, and I have only successfully gotten through organizing my shirts, pants, dresses and as of yesterday, my undergarments. This process is much slower, mentally harder and emotionally draining than I anticipated. 

So here is the recap of where I am:

So I started on a late Saturday morning... I thought I was ready, but I was a bit tired, and not in the most decisive mood. So it started by piling all of my shirts in the middle of my living room. First of all, I was shocked to see how many shirts I actually owned. The pile almost made me feel ill, thinking about how we really only need a few shirts. All the rest are completely frivolous in order to satisfy a vein need to enhance myself. I realize that for me, having these clothes is almost admitting that I don't like the person underneath enough, that I need to snaz myself up... 

Ignoring these inner thoughts I started to pull of each piece of clothing and ask if it sparked joy... well I can tell you, a lot of items I own, don't spark joy, I actually don't even really like them - I just like that they covered some aspect of body that I didn't like. I wasn't even using clothes as a personal expression of style, I was literally trying to hide myself. I could have probably thrown out another 50% of my wardrobe, but I work 5 days, and well i need at least 5 shirts for work! And I am not willing to go out any buy more stuff. 

Then I found this whole section of clothes that did spark joy, the idea of them sparked joy. They were my romantic, bohemian style clothes, that I didn't wear, and while I loved looking at them, when I wore them didn't spark joy (because they didn't fit the way I 'wanted' them to). It was so hard to let go of this whole section of my wardrobe, because I was convinced that if I kept those clothes then I was still a romantic bohemian, which all who know me, know that is not true. I am an A-type, tom boy, jock who is still in denial. 

So three hours later (and many breaks) I was only 1/2 way through the pile! The KonMari Method was going to take me years at this point! I picked myself up and tried to make decisions on the last ones, but I had left the hardest ones until the end. So each decision included putting it on, holding it, looking for holes... all things that I think are illegal in the KonMari Method. The second 1/2 of the pile took me another 2 hours. 

So 5 hours down, and clothes everywhere... and having only eaten graham wafer crackers and marshmallows I realized I had to devise a plan so that this process would improve into the future. 

So more than a month later here are the key aspects to assess in order to be more efficient!

Here is the list:
  1. Research where I can donate and what to donate before I start sorting/discarding my items. This is personally important because I wanted to make sure that my clothes would not just go in the garbage (which I have learned they sometimes do - which I will elaborate on in another post)  I also found out that it is important to prepare my items for donation. Nicely folded, hung clothes definitely have a better chance of being accepted... 
  2. Realize that this is not the first time I'll go through my stuff. I'll likely repeat this process another 2-3 times before I can get down to 'enough stuff' - speaking of which have you heard of the 30 item wardrobe? Trying it out for a month may help me realize I don't really need more than 30 items!
  3. Show up with the right mood/energy - I was tired and not particularly decisive that day, I should have recognized it and waited until I had one of those go get 'em days
  4. Play music, fun, energetic, bubbly music - I want to make this as fun and high energy as possible because it is draining - and I'll be repeating it several times, so I want positive associations
  5. I don't need a whole day to KonMari my house. If I prep my items into the small sub-categories I need to organize I can do small portions one evening at a time, while I'm not sure it's exactly what KonMari had in mind, I think it will help me feel like the task is less daunting, and attack it piece by piece
  6. Get rid of the stuff as soon as possible - i left my stuff out and when my mom was visiting she convinced me to keep a few item... Which I still haven't worn!
Since doing this cleaning, I have definitely been thinking about it a lot and dreaming about the day when I have completed it. But I think I have to focus more on the process, and less on the result. I think just having a clean house isn't the benefit of this, it's learning how to let things go, how to figure out what I really want and how to shape my life to focus in on what is important. 

I'm now re-energized and excited to provide update number two!