Organization

How do you want to live your life?

Photo by  Roman Mager  on  Unsplash

Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

How do you want to live your life? It's a big question, but when you're organizing, it's an important one.

We all want to live in clean & organized homes - living with mess and clutter isn't pleasant, no matter where or how you live. But what "an organized home" looks like for you is probably going to be different than what an "organized home" looks like to your neighbor.

A big part of decluttering is getting rid of things that no longer 'spark joy.' And the things that no longer spark joy are different for everyone.

While strict minimalism isn't necessary by any means, the fewer things you own that don't spark joy, the easier it is to organize what's left. Most of us hang on to tons of stuff that doesn't spark joy, that we don't like, that we don't need, that we don't want - and all that stuff weights us down.

So, how do you want to live your life?

In your idea world, what would you have around you? What wouldn't you?

10 Fabulous Articles about Marie Kondo (if You are an Organizing Geek)

Marie Kondo: We Should Be Choosing What We Want to Keep, not discard.

Marie Kondo: We Should Be Choosing What We Want to Keep, not discard.

I'm a huge fan of Marie Kondo, and her organization method. I've talked about her book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" before, and got the chance to meet her in person at the beginning of her US book tour. She is thoughtful, delightful, and full of joy.

There have been a plethora of interesting articles about Marie Kondo and her KonMari method recently, so I thought I'd gather some of them together all in one place.

“Keep only the things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest,” she [Marie Kondo] advises. “When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t.”

Her “KonMarie method”, as she calls it in the diminutive and illustration-free volume, encourages a rapid, dramatic and transformative one-time organising event completed methodically and lovingly in no more than six months. It is not an ongoing battle against clutter.

Kondo sees tidying as a cheerful conversation in which anything that doesn’t “spark joy” is to be touched, thanked and ceremonially sent on its way towards a better life elsewhere, where it can discover a more appreciative owner.

“The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment,” Kondo said,

Like any lifestyle guru, Kondo has rules... The central law of Kondo’s method is to keep items that “spark joy” in an owner and dispose of items that do not.

Kondo's promise is about more than just stuff. It's about intentionality and mindfulness, with a sprinkling of Zen philosophy.

Marie Kondo has built a huge following in her native Japan with her “KonMari” method of organizing and de-cluttering. Clients perform a sort of tidying up festival: time set aside specifically to go through belongings. Each object is picked up and held, and the client needs to decide if it inspires joy. If it doesn’t, it needs to go.

Many experts say to declutter 15 minutes a day, working one room at a time. According to Marie Kondo, if you do this, you’ll be decluttering forever. She recommends that you make clutter clearing a special, once-in-a-lifetime event.

“When we take our clothes in our hands and fold them neatly,” she writes, “we are, I believe, transmitting energy, which has a positive effect on our clothes.” She proposes a similarly agreeable technique for hanging clothing. Hang up anything that looks happier hung up, and arrange like with like, working from left to right, with dark, heavy clothing on the left: “Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type, and therefore organizing them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.”

"Although this approach contradicts conventional wisdom, everyone who completes my private course has successfully kept their house in order—with unexpected results. Putting their house in order positively affects all other aspects of their lives, including work and family. Having devoted more than 80 percent of my life to this subject, I know that tidying can transform your life."

"During the selection process, if you come across something that does not spark joy but that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away, stop a moment and ask yourself, 'Am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an attachment to the past or because of a fear for the future?' It’s important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life. The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life."

 I love finding these articles about Marie Kond--I am curious if elements of the Kon-Mari Method were lost in the translation (yes), and more importantly: just who is this person whose seemingly simple method has been transforming lives in the United States.

To be organized, is to be free (Thank you Marie Kondo!)

Photo by  Paul  on  Unsplash

Photo by Paul on Unsplash

If to be organized is to be free, then to be organized once and for all is the dream.

I have been on a mission for more than 6 years to understand "stuff," why we have so much, what do we really need, what stuff do I want—from minimalism, to voluntary simplicity . . .  when does having too much stuff negatively impact our lives.

In late September last year, a friend mailed a New York Times article about Japanese home organizing expert Marie Kondo. Marie Kondo's book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing" walks readers through the KonMari Method of organizing your home once and for all.

It took me a couple of re-readings of the article before I realized I would be crazy not to purchase the book—I am in the organizing business, after all—it’s research!

I read the book twice, at least. There were nights I could not sleep due to excitement, - these were ideas and answers I had been waiting my whole life to learn—they were the missing pieces (I know that might sound weird, but it’s true).

I have been on a mission for more than 6 years to understand "stuff." Why we have so much? What do we really need? What stuff do I want—from minimalism, to voluntary simplicity? - When does having too much stuff detrimentally impact our lives?

Back to Marie Kondo, I used self-restraint and followed the directions in her book exactly—she is insistent that one must do exactly as she says for maximum results. Basically, you won’t be doing her method if you don’t fellow her steps exactly.

Unless I trust them completely, I usually want to rebel when someone strongly suggests something— for some reason I trusted Marie Kondo—through her book, she convinced me that, her whole life, she had been trying to understand the underlying problems people have being organized.

For me, the desire to be organized is something about wanting to be at peace with what I have and what I use—it feels as though, when I am “organized” I will be free. By that I mean, I will be free to stop looking for the "right way" to be organized. The excitement of find Marie Kondo, and the KonMari Method is that it does provide the possibility of being perfectly organized - once and for all.

The organizing is a one time event - centered around eliminating everything that does not "spark joy." It turns out that most things we hold on to don't "spark joy" and can be gotten rid of - which makes organizing what's left exponentially easier.

How strong is the desire to be organized?

How strong is the desire to be free of stuff?

How strong is the desire to be FREE?

xoxo

Jane

Joy was Sparked when I met Marie Kondo, the Creator of The KonMari Method!

Marie Kondo + Jane

How did so much time pass before posting this photo of Marie Kondo? Marie Kondo started her U.S. Book Tour almost two weeks ago, beginning at BookPassages at the Ferry Plaza Building in San Francisco. I like the fact that she does not speak English (or as someone pointed out, maybe she does but unless it was perfect she would not use) and all questions and answers were through a translator--which reminds me, I can post a quick little video, later.

I must say that I was impressed with Kondo's thoughtful and joyful demeanor--and she was as cute as could be! Kondo giggled when someone said everything she owns sparks joy, "Then you are lucky!"

I wanted to meet up with Marie Kondo, if at all possible, and thank her for her life-changing book. Once I entered the bookstore I knew no way, as it was standing room only. The only option was to raise my hand during the Q & A Session. Believe me, I am a shy person in crowds, but I knew I would have to get over my fears and "Do It Anyway!"

Luckily, I was the last person called upon. I was kind of joking, but not really: "I want to go to Japan and study with you, Marie Kondo--is it possible to be "certified" in your method?" There was a bit of laughter and then, "Funny you should ask, we are just starting to certified organizers in Japan and we hope to start in U.S. soon (or something to that effect)." I talked briefly to Ten Speed Press, Kondo's publisher, have sent them an email--time to follow up on that one. 

There is a reason for the title: "the life-changing magic of tidying up//the Japanese art of decluttering" I want to spread this joy to as many people as possible. 

But first, I need to check in and let you know how The KonMari Method has worked for me and where and how I stumbled, so you don't have to.

xoxo

Jane

Time to Organize Life Around Cooking & Baking (at least this time of year)

kitchen 5 VivianJohnson.jpg

It’s already Tuesday and I am only slowly climbing, one minute at a time, out of a Monday slump. Today feels better than yesterday.

Progress Not Perfection.

I messed around with a few items on my to-do list but was feeling off – every thought seemed to trail off to the next with no consistency. Looking back on the weekend I realized I was either busy learning or doing, no time for just being.

There was no point in pushing myself and over-riding my feelings..

If I had gone down that road I would have felt more blue and prickly. I racked my brain for a simple way to feel better, more grounded (and I mean back-to-earth!).

Thank god I remembered cooking, and especially baking, which makes everything lighter, dare I say happier? I feel a bit of shame admitting that fact, how crazy is that? Is baking going to get me closer to my goals—sometimes is it not better to just live and be satisfied with ordinary chores, which is what most of the day is made up of anyway: not a glamorous fact.

Luckily I had a bunch of plantains hanging in my studio (first time ever) that were getting to the over-ripe-ready-for-banana-bread-stage. I purged most of my recipes years ago, so next stop random internet searching which brought me to Nigella (first time ever) and then stops at two of my favorite food bloggers Molly and Heidi. I cannot follow one recipe exactly, so I combined the three into one, taking the powder chocolate idea from Nigella. Yes, I felt more settled down after the experience AND it gave me a break from thinking non-helpful thoughts. And yes, I cooked again today.