Alternatively, Step One: Ignore your Children and Pretend You’re a Gorgeous Slight Asian Lady for 48 hours While Cleaning Your Own Room.
Oh my gosh you guys. I have fallen for the sweet, sweet voice of Marie Kondo, Japan’s tidy-er in chief (yes, it’s a title I just made up in my head. Should exist.)
Like many other chubby, hoarding Americans, I saw her delicate features and size 00 waist and was like SHOW ME YOUR WAYS. OR AT LEAST LET ME PAY $16.99 TO READ THEM.
Overall, the ideas were great and totally worth the $16.99. (Especially since I can resell the book on my mom’s group recycle site.) But there were some…um…ridiculous parts. Parts that would never work for anyone in the real world and who also are not on psychotropic drugs.
So here’s my KonMari Method For Real People Living In the United States With Children and Lots of Emotions.
(Yes. I’m thinking of getting a patent.)
Her method is basically go through your things in order of difficult to toss- begin with clothes, then books, papers, then mementos. You physically hold each item and see if it “sparks joy.” If it doesn’t, you don’t need it. And the kicker- you have to gather all your things together in one place.
Um. This was going to be a problem. See, I have a normal sized American house with a normal amount of stuff and, perhaps most importantly, a husband and two children who also live here. I imagine for tiny Japanese ladies who have a studio apartment (she kept talking about her room) and no spawn running around* this makes perfect sense. For me? Not so much.
*I read that she just had a baby. I look forward to her next book, “I’m So Sorry You Guys I Knew Nothing.”
So my first modification would be to only work on my own clothes to begin with. And furthermore, do the whole master bedroom. Because if I’m going to spend six hours holding tank tops and seeing if they “spark joy,” I’m sure as hell going to go through the nightstand drawer and throw out the old febreze and bed chocolate and empty prozac bottles. Go big or go home is my motto.
Above: Before and After
I honestly did not think it was going to be that bad. I’m pretty organized, I pride myself on getting rid of things I don’t use, and yes, I love clothes and probably buy more than I should (don’t ask Buzz about that,) but I was pretty sure I a.) didn’t have that many and b.) didn’t have any that I wasn’t using or loved.
So, just like I begin, oh, everything in my life from grad school to marriage to childbearing, I just leapt in without worrying about it! Come on! Put everything on the bed! Surely there’s not that many! You just have small closets! That’s why you need two of them!
Oh. Oh my.
Oh shoot. There’s more.
Okay. Maybe not as organized as I thought.
Still. Surely everything in here causes me joy, right? I mean, I love clothes. I wouldn’t keep any I didn’t like!
Wrong again, dummy. Turns out, MOST OF THIS SH*T YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE. The thought of wearing it makes you literally unhappy. You just feel bad throwing it away because…I don’t even know.
But! That is like the thing I liked best about this whole book and method and my bastardization of a method. YOU DON’T HAVE TO KEEP ANYTHING YOU DON’T LIKE.
Did you hear that? YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION TO THROW ALL THAT CRAP AWAY.
It’s really freeing.I ended up tossing or donating a huge number of things and my closets are now like 80% full. I was worried I would feel like I didn’t have enough to wear and I’d dread getting dressed.
Au contraire. I actually look forward to getting dressed in the morning, because I like everything that I kept. I love how I feel in the items I kept, and so I’m super excited to get dressed. I haven’t worn yoga pants ONCE since I did this. (I KNOW.) I bought pretty nightgowns and fold them every morning. I don’t want to buy things just to buy them, I want to only buy things I know I’ll love because they’ll have such a special place in my closet.
She also advocates “thanking” your clothes that you’re tossing for the work they’ve done for you. I read that and was pssh whatever lady, they’re inanimate objects. If I can’t remember to thank my husband every morning for getting up and supporting us I sure as hell am not talking to a cardigan. Crazy talk.
Except…sometimes it totally works. Like I had this dress. This gorgeous red Ralph Lauren dress that I LOVED like whoa. I looked soooo cute in it. See?
Except that dress is a 2. I think. Maaaybe a 4. Either way. Not gonna happen. But I could not get rid of it. I loved it. It was ridiculous. Even if for some reason I was ever a 2 or 4 again (BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *chokes* ahahahahhhahahah), I’ve had a baby. Things have shifted. We ain’t never going back to grad school again, yo.
So I looked around to make sure no one was listening (they weren’t- I’d banished them to the family room with the netflix password.) And I thanked it. I thanked it for being so adorable and making me feel so pretty in 2010. 2010 was my year man. I had it MADE. I mean I was alone and lived with my parents and yeah okay some guy left me at a Starbucks because he was contemplating the priesthood, but I LOOKED SO CUTE.
The thanking it? Made it okay. I was able to donate it and move on and realize that it wasn’t making me happy sitting in my bin of clothes that are never ever going to work, it was just making me feel badly about myself now. No, my body looks totally different than it did in 2010. But I’m married. My husband loves me, and my body. I’ve grown an entire person, and am raising these two incredible children. And yes, I’m on medication that caused weight gain about nine months ago, but you know what? I’d so much rather be in this body right now and not be having constant panic attacks. I’m a better, happier, nicer person than I was in 2010, and that’s really okay. So I tossed the red dress, and vowed never to make thanking things weird again.
Overall, my clothes took me an entire afternoon. And then a few hours in the evening to put everything back together. Hardly life changing amounts of time, but like I said, I DON’T WEAR YOGA PANTS ANYMORE. It LITERALLY changed my life.
So, here is the cliffnotes version of my own personal method to step one of cleaning up your crap:
1.) Open Hulu.
2.) Turn on Curious George.
3.) Offer your big kid cookies to leave you alone for a few hours.
4.) Put ALL YOUR CRAP in the middle of the bed.
5.) Dry heave.
6.) Throw away everything that you don’t feel happy thinking about wearing.
7.) Fold the remaining things in adorable little rectangles.Hang up the now pretty dresses and skirts you’re totally psyched to wear.
8.) Thank anything you don’t want to give away. It makes it easier.
9.) Yell at husband about making fun of you for thanking your clothes and remind him he is the reason your body looks like the before picture on a Weight Watchers ad.
10.) NEVER WEAR YOGA PANTS AGAIN.
I know! It’s so simple! (No it’s not.) But still! You can do it!
Stay tuned for the next installment: The Bathroom! OR the room that Marie Kondo prefers to ignore entirely. OR In which I hold my fertility monitor and wonder if it brings me joy.
(Spoiler alert: It does. So much non-childbearing joy.)