Paring Down

There is something about the New Year, specifically January, that gets my declutter genes sparking. Maybe, it is because I over decorate for the holidays or maybe it is the promise of new replacements. Suddenly, things begin disappearing into large black bags in a corner of the basement. Once the momentum of my decluttering, begins to increase speed, nothing is safe, leading my husband and the cats to run for cover.

Last year, I read about an amazing Japanese organizer, Marie Kondo. Of course I had to get her book, “the life-changing magic of tidying up; the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.” I can’t say it changed my life, as I didn’t strictly adhere to her advice. However, it certainly made a lasting impression and lit my fire for another purge.

Marie Kondo states that she has been tidying since she was a young girl and studied all traditional techniques for releasing clutter.  After many years of trial and error, she claims to have discovered the secret. Her formula is both loving and ruthless. If you love something, keep it, if not, toss or recycle it. I do find, that this philosophy resonates with me. She suggests focusing on one thing at a time, starting with something easy to weed out, such as a specific type of clothing.

For example, you put every shirt you own in a pile, whether it is in the laundry, in storage for another season or unworn with tags. Pick up each item and if it makes your heart sing, its life is spared, otherwise, you thank it for its service and let it go. She advises that you give reverence to all items that have given you pleasure and for those that did not, send them to a new home.

As you gain confidence in your sorting skills, addressing each set of clothing, you can move onto the more difficult and discouraging items such as paper work, books and photos. She claims that once you have finished ransacking and discarding, it is easy to keep your closets and shelves in order. The new found order should bring you peace and confidence. I have noticed, that after a year, a few of my closets are still in pretty good shape.

Though her philosophy may seem extreme; gratitude, recycling and love always make sense to me. Perhaps, I can start over this year with new resolve to follow her advice completely.

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