Thursday, August 6, 2015

More Random Thoughts on Getting Rid of My Stuff

Are you guys sick of hearing me blather on and on about this whole decluttering thing? I'm sorry, but I just can't help myself giving the blow by blow of every category here on the blog. In my real life, I try to keep my enthusiasm on this topic contained, you know, to maintain the illusion that I'm normal and sane and not weirdly obsessed with Japanese organization methods. This blog is my place to overshare with abundance (actually, I've converted a couple of my friends, and it's kind of pathetic how when we get together, all we talk about is what we've recently thrown out).

In no particular order, here are some random thoughts on this fourth, and most intimidating of categories.


"Komono" is Marie Kondo's small word for a huge category. Basically, it's things. All the stuff that is not clothes, books, paper, or sentimental. Which is basically 90% of the stuff in my home. So this was a massive and overwhelming category to tackle.

I know Marie Kondo says not to go room by room, but I couldn't figure out another way to tackle this category other than room by room. I started with the kitchen, did the bathrooms, worked through the closets, the bedrooms, then cycled back again through each room because it just feels so good to throw things out, you know.

When I started, I felt like this category would never end. I mean, it's all my stuff! It was going to take ages to hold every item in my home and search for that spark of joy. And yes, I've spent several months on this category (but I only devote a few hours a week to it, so I suppose I could've been faster).

But lo and behold! I feel the end is near! Just like Marie Kondo promised (is there no end to that woman's mystical and prophetic powers?), when you are done, you will know that you are done. I still have one old stroller I need to list on Craigslist, and a few other items of a decorative nature that I'm working on sprucing up and rearranging, but by and large, I feel "done." Now, when I walk into every room in my house, I feel the peace of less clutter. I know where each item belongs, that each item has a home that does not involve being stuffed haphazardly into an overcrowded drawer.

It feels amazing.


Why, oh why did I let that broken blender sit on top of my fridge for over a year and half? Why? Did I think we were going to fix it? Did I think I was going to give to someone else who would fix it and use it? We had a new blender! Why did the old one still sit up there, visible from nearly every room in the house?

I had grown so accustomed to some of my clutter that I didn't even realize it was there. Even when I "cleaned" my kitchen, that broken blender still sat there, because I just didn't notice it. It wasn't until I was forced to confront and consider every object in my home that I realized it was clutter.

Why couldn't I see it before?


This whole process of "tidying" and cleaning out my life has created lots of moments for philosophical introspection. Maybe it's silly, but I really am learning a whole lot about myself.

Like what do I do with my old watercolor supplies? Once upon a time I fancied myself an amateur watercolorist. It was fun. It was a nice relaxing hobby. But I haven't pulled those watercolors out once since my first was born. So is it still a hobby? Do I keep them if I never use them? Who am I any more? Is this still part of my personhood? Or is it something I once did, but now it's time to let it go?

Also, I'm learning that I really like simplicity in some things, but in other things I like abundance. And it's a bit tricky to find that balancing point. When do you have too many empty baby food jars? Is six too many? Too few?

Existential crisis, I tell you.

Stuff really defines who you are, and it took some soul searching to figure out what to let go, and what to keep.


A year ago, I was scratching my eyes out to move from our tiny little city apartment. We needed more space! We needed bigger rooms! We were a family of three with another on the way, for crying out loud! We needed a house to fit all our stuff in.

Now we are a family of four, and I feel like we fit here perfectly. I feel like we have room to spare (why not have a third baby here?!). I feel completely content.

Who am I any more?


This process has entirely changed my self-image. I used to think of myself as lazy and unmotivated, frustrated by the clutter around me but unable to change due to intrinsic personality flaws.

But! I no longer view myself as an untidy person! I no longer view my home as a cluttered space! I realize that my personality has always craved for organization and order, I simply lacked the skills to achieve it. Now I have them, and it feels so good.

On a day to day basis, there is still surface clutter, toys around the living room and such, but underneath there is order and calm and a place for everything. It only takes a few minutes at the end of the day to get back to tidy, and that is amazing.

Such a stupid title, that "Life-Changing Magic" bit. But darn it, if she didn't deliver, at least for me.


  1. I love your enthusiasm! I go through phases where I am totally obsessed with decluttering, then other times I feel overwhelmed and just ignore it. This makes me want to de-clutter more.

    Nathan thinks I'm crazy since we went from 2 bedrooms to 5 bedrooms and I was getting rid of so many things in the move. I almost took a picture of car full of stuff to take to goodwill and sent it to you since I don't have anyone here to share my de-cluttering obsession with:) I need a sabbatical from work for a month to go through my whole house!

    1. I wish you would've sent the picture! I've totally converted Emmelie too, and now all we talk about when we hang out is decluttering. Just call, either of us would be happy to obsess with you. :)

      Also, so fun you are homeowners now! I hope the commute's not too bad.

  2. You are an inspiration! Marie Kondo should hire you to do an infomercial for her! But seriously, I feel like you took the heart of the book and really applied it to your life--not theoretically, not halfway, but thoroughly and completely. And look! It really did change your life. (I took the halfhearted approach (the komono category scares me), but you've inspired me to retackle it--I think the room-by-room approach with komono is a good suggestion).