I have a new hobby. It’s very satisfying, cheap and helps reduce stress. Big time. Some may know it as decluttering but I like to think of it as ‘konmari-ing’. It mostly involves throwing all my possessions into black bin bags and driving them around in the car till I find somewhere to dispose of them.
I’ve become a bit obsessed.
Earlier this month I blogged about my new year goals. I felt that this year, there’s a lot I want to change and the best way to do that is in small steps, to keep the end goal in mind and change things permanently and slowly. There’s no point going crazy.
I think so far, I’ve found most success with the decluttering. I’d been thinking about reading Marie Kondo’s books on how to declutter for some time now, as I followed many of my blogger pals who’ve tried the process. Up till now I didn’t have the head space for it. I didn’t want to pile more pressure on myself about not keeping a tidy home.
At Christmas I picked up Spark Joy from my local Waterstone’s and the timing was perfect to start making the New Year changes I wanted.
I started with the clothes as instructed by Marie, and over a weekend, reduced my own clothes to my favourite pieces, got rid of a ton of tops and well worn / grey bits I was hanging onto ‘just in case’ and made some changes with storage. I found my clothes were strung out across a few wardrobes, so I brought them all together, folding all my going out dresses into one drawer and swapping storage space with the long suffering husband when I realised he had even less space than I had.
The results have been quite startling.
First of all, I’ve become more creative with what I’m wearing. I’m finding it easier to accessorize outfits, with scarfs to match skirts, necklaces to brighten up blouses, shoes easily accessible. I open up a drawer and I see everything clearly, there’s not much rooting around, pulling things out to try on – it’s definitely saving time.
Secondly, I’ve become more aware of my clothes, how they make me feel and how a material feels. I feel great when I wear something that’s comfortable, colourful – something that makes me happy. I’m refusing to wear any bust up, grey pajamas / clothes, which to be fair, as a new Mum, has practically been my uniform for the past year. This all helps in making you feel better.
I’ve started ironing. Seriously. I now see that clothes when ironed are easier to store and I WANT to do it. Ironing is usually my least favourite house activity. Marie Kondo has changed my life.
By throwing out a lot of my repugnant bits, I can see where I’m lacking in practical clothes, like cardigans, underwear, proper fitting bras, boots. It means I can now go shopping for these, but when I do, I won’t just be firing anything into the basket, because I’ll be thinking – do I really need this? All this reducing has made me look at how much we consume – how much we spend, how much we are marketed to or rely on fast, cheap purchases for fleeting moments of joy. I’m looking for long term clothes love baby.
There’s a long way to go. I still haven’t finished all my clothes makeover, there’s a few drawers to go and all the clothes that were at some stage in the laundry process have to be looked at. But I’ve tackled most of the kids’ clothes and I did the hot press a few days ago.
I have never felt so satisfied staring at my hot water tank.
Mostly, the husband doesn’t understand it. He throws his eyes to heaven and tells me I’m boring him as I squeal with joy and tell him to open up a wardrobe door to discover the magic of tiny rolled materials behind it.
But he’s started to change too. Putting things away. Throwing a few things out. I know he’ll never read the book so the best thing I can do is to encourage him in his own decluttering and leave a trail of empty black bags across the landing as bait.
After clothes, according to the Kon Mari method is books. I finally got new book shelves built into my writing room in January and in the process sorted through many of my books. I found it hard to get rid of most however, as I’ve still so many novels to read and a lot of books mean things to me, so it’s not in my interest to throw them out.
There’s still lots to be done in the room however, so I’ll save the before and after pictures of the shelves until it’s finished. We need a trip to IKEA to complete. (Can you contain yourself with the excitement?)
The next stage is paperwork and I have a huge bag of it sitting up there ready to be processed. I’m quite looking forward to that as I know I’ve tax to claim back and by finally getting round to it, I’ll actually make a few quid.
It’ll be weeks and probably months before I get the house organised to the way I want it and the way that will suit our family lifestyle best.
We have an attic that could easily be featured as a highlight on the programme Hoarders right now and we may need to hire a skip to sort it out. But we will. It’ll happen. As will all the decor change. When you declutter and discover parts of the floor and walls you haven’t seen in oh, five years, you suddenly realise how much fresher the house would look with a lick of paint. I can’t wait to lick the paint!
Before I started this whole decluttering thing I took some photos so that I could see the difference and look back and say – I’ll never be like that again. I’ve put some of them here but there are a lot more. I am willing to expose the absolute squalor I have been living in. Why not? I can guarantee most normal people have piles of crap strewn about their house and are at a loss as to what to do with it.
I think you need to have a few things lined up before you can commit yourself to the change.
If you are super busy, stressed out and just about keeping your head above water in the schedule of life, then launching into a major tidying renovation is just going to leave you even more stressed. You need to have a bit of time to dedicate to it. I have this, knowing that I’ll be finishing work very shortly.
You also need time to rest. After the clothes sayanara weekend, I was absolutely exhausted.
You’ll need to finish the book too. I was dying to jump into everything while reading, but I’m glad I waited till the end.
So there you go. Are you inspired? Do you think you could spark joy too? I”ll have more updates soon as to the progress in this little pigsty.