KirKath Method, Step Four: SO MANY FEELINGS

Oh man. The memorabilia portion of the KonMari Method. The part that even stops cute, skinny little Marie in her size five tracks.

It’s rough, guys. You’ve spent three or four days wading through clothes, books, old tampons. You’re tired and cranky and frankly have reevaluated everything from whether empire waist shirts EVER worked on you to your method of family planning, and also why don’t you wear high heels as much as you used to? And what does that mean for you and your family and the world in general?

(Hint: Very little. You’re just tired and usually carrying a child now.)

You are in NO MOOD to go through things that make you want to cry or be in college again. You are finished. You want to actually enjoy your life in your awesome, rectangularly-folded home now. You want to kick back on your sofa with the carefully curated cushions and enjoy a glass of wine that will be the first thing since Thursday that actually sparked joy. Mostly you’re tired of your mom and sister calling to make sure you haven’t thrown out your husband and/or children yet. This isn’t fun anymore and frankly IT NEEDS TO END.


But you can’t end it until you do this (almost) last step. You have to go through all the crap you have shoved in boxes and envelopes in your closet and desk and even in helpfully labeled bins named “Kathleen Memories.” The boxes your parents have either dropped off because they thought you might want to see this stuff! (No they didn’t. They wanted it out of their spare bedroom so they could have a gift wrap station.) or made you go through before you got married or they refused to show up at the church (Guess which one happened to me?).

All that stuff is standing between you and BEING COMPLETELY (almost) FINISHED WITH KONMARI’ING YOUR HOUSE.

And you know what? I have no advice. You literally just have to do it. You know what to throw out by the point. You’re ruthless. You know you don’t need eight copies of the honors convocation booklet from when you received your bachelor’s degree. One will suffice.

So instead I took pictures of the most emotional/funniest/most embarrassing things I found during this part.

So pour yourself a glass of wine, sit down on the couch, and get ready to decide if you need all of the cards your late grandparents gave you or just like the last (FYI, I have all the feelings, so I kept all of them. AND I REFUSE TO BE ASHAMED MARIE.)

First, I found a ton of yearbooks. For someone who was homeschooled for most of my educational career, I have a surprising number of yearbooks. My favorite are from my one year of high school because they contain so many, many hilarious things.

Like how awful the hair and makeup and fashion was at a midwestern suburban high school in 2002-03.

And how my husband’s wife’s entire family is all up in there because oh yeah, we all went to high school together. (God is laughing hysterically right now. I know He is.)


I look super enthused to be there, don’t I? This was one of the last years of what my sister and I refer to as the “polygamist hair.” Combined with square-cut scoop-neck t-shirts from Kohl’s, it’s a pretty sexy picture.


I also found the above gem, from my grade school. This was an informational booklet they published when I was in K4, and I was obviously the cutest student there (and had nothing to do with the fact that my mom was president of the Home and School Association) so I was supposed to be on the cover. But then somebody’s parents gave a SHIT TON of money and she ended up on the cover. I was relegated to the inside philosophy page. This was in 1993. I’m still mad.

It’s super funny what you remember though. I remember this picture being taken vividly. It was the end of the year in K4 and they came and took me over to the K5 room (the teacher in the shot was the K5 teacher at the time). They told me to just touch one of the balls on the abacus, which I thought was weird since we weren’t counting or anything and I am nothing if not a stickler for realism. And they had the teacher hug me, and her hands were all sweaty. Probably because she wasn’t used to holding five-year-old girls tenderly and being photographed. I don’t know why they did that. But it’s funny now.

Except the part where I was kicked off the cover. That ticked me off.


Also found a picture of my sister, who refused to smile for the photographer because he was, and I quote, “creepy.”


Okay, this made me cry. It’s a thank-you note that I wrote when I was ten to my grandparents. And unfortunately since I don’t want to be stalked and killed (I’ve been watching a lot of Criminal Minds lately), you can’t even see the sweetest part. Their address is my address now. And it makes me so happy. Also weeping-inducing, we found this in my grandpa’s office when he passed away in 2008. He had saved all of our thank you notes and kept them in his office for over ten years.

Brb, just having a breakdown.


Okay. Okay. I’m back. This one is funny. We used to live in a county with a large Latino population, and Wal-Mart stocked candles and stuff for Day of the Dead and other celebrations specific to Latino Catholicism. Well we were at Wal-Mart one day when Squeaks was like two, and she saw this candle and would not leave it behind. “It’s Jesus! Mommy! Jesus! I love Him!”

Well you can’t say no to that, can you?

Just try to ignore the headless chickens and skulls and other random Santeria shit in the background

She slept with it in her bedroom for MONTHS until I was able to spirit it out and hide it far far away because yes it’s awesome that there was so much sharing between the Afro-Caribbean religions (I have a degree in religious history- I know my stuff) but we live in the suburbs now, sweetie, and I really don’t want your non-Catholic grandparents thinking we slaughter chickens and stuff.

(They don’t. This was a long time ago and I just wanted to make sure.)


Aww! My master’s thesis, a copy of the final edit submitted to the graduate school. Approximately five seconds before I got married, ten seconds before I got pregnant, and fifteen seconds before I stopped thinking critically about anything except the mythology of My Little Pony.

Oh well. I used to be smart.


Ha. This one is hilarious too. I received this in the mail a few weeks after I graduated, for my work with first-year students my final year of graduate school.

This is hilarious because I SERIOUSLY phoned it in that year. Like, I still have not read Heart of Darkness you guys, and I taught a unit on it. I swore I was not going to do small group work for no reason, except I did it almost every week because I got home at 3:30 this morning and I am DONE y’all, talk amongst yourselves. Wake me at 2:50. I’ve got to catch a bus.

I entered final grades from Six Flags and read Real Simple Weddings while proctoring the final, for God’s sake.

Still got an award. Natch.

Aww, a montage of Baby Buddy items. I saved the pregnancy test when I found out. (The first of a billion I would take because hi, my name is Kathleen and I have anxiety disorders.) It’s totally gross because, you know, it’s a pregnancy test, but now, almost four years later? I’m glad I have it. Buddy’s tiny hospital bracelet from when he was born. I almost threw this out. I wanted to remember nothing from that time in my life, but I was like “no, that’s weird, save the stupid bracelet and just don’t look at it again.” He was so tiny! That went around his leg. His little chicken legs. Aww.

And Squeaks’s big sister bracelet that they gave her. She refused to take it off for so long (and I was so insane I didn’t notice) that she developed a rash under it. That’s funny now. At the time it was not so funny. Or maybe it was. I don’t remember.


The sign I hung up on my bathroom door at home before I got married. My dress was hanging on the other side because I figured that even though I didn’t care about anything about the wedding, I probably shouldn’t show up in a wrinkled dress. And I figured my dad was going to barge through there and it would rip and I would have to buy a third dress.

Yep. Third. I bought my first one when I got engaged, and then gained a lot of weight because of my child and had to buy a second one.

I was not pregnant. I was a virgin when I got married. I just didn’t realize how much work raising a two-year-old took and how adept at eating my feelings I was.

Luckily the sign worked, and I only had to buy two versions of the exact same dress.

(I also had to do that for my sister’s wedding, but that was actually knocked up, just like you would think if someone had to buy two wedding dresses.)

IMG_9177 (1)

This is what marriage to an engineer is like. He didn’t want to have to write icky sentiments more than once. So he literally just directed me to the letter he had written.

This is hilarious.

All kidding aside, he’s a wonderful husband and the letter was beautiful.


And finally, the last card my grandpa ever gave me. He died seven months later before another major occasion. He always spent so much time picking out cards and pored over the messages and so you knew that every one you got was as if he had written it himself.

And remember how touched I was that he had saved all of the things we sent him? I shouldn’t be surprised. Because I saved everything he sent me too.

Next time, after I stop sobbing, we will discuss the final step to KonMari’ing your Big Fat American House- EVERYTHING ELSE.

(It makes sense. I promise.)



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