Twelve Days Later...

Twelve days ago - January 12th to be precise - I began the monumental task of discarding and tidying everything in my home, and JC's, using the "all at once" method by Marie Kondo.

Here is what has happened so far:

On January 12th, I went through all of my clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry at JC's.   This comprises the bulk of my everyday wardrobe.   This was an eight-hour day.

On the 14th, I went through all of the books at JC's.   In truth, this didn't take long, because we had already culled a lot of books during the holidays.   So I moved on to papers at JC's, and I am still not yet finished.    I spent about two hours on this, and got a lot done.

A few days after that, I went through all of the clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry at MY place.   Ye gods.   Another eight-hour day.

On Monday the 19th, with that pile of papers still eyeing me reproachfully from the table, I decided I would tackle the bathroom cabinets, instead.   Of course, I decided to do this 90 minutes before heading out to meet friends for dinner.   I reasoned that papers would take too long, whereas one cabinet, two drawers, and some makeup shouldn't take too long.   20 minutes at most, I thought, and I can put on my makeup and put my hair in hot rollers while I am culling.

Wrong!   20 minutes.   Hah!   Over an hour later, I had almost everything sorted, and a bag of trash ready to go.

But my makeup will have to wait for another day.

This past Wednesday, my theatre partner and I rented a u-haul, and I finally got some theatrical set pieces moved out of my condo, and to their permanent storage place.   Man that felt great, to stop postponing, and start hauling stuff out!

With the theatrical stuff out of the way, I sat down and tackled theatrical costumes, accessories and jewelry.  Some things - not much -  were pulled for resale or donation, but by and large, the real triumph was streamlining and opening up more space.   I did this by rolling clothing and placing it vertically in bins, and getting rid of unnecessary packaging.    This took, by my rough estimate, another ten hours over a couple of days.

I also tackled DVD's.   I gave away or donated about 2/3 of what I had.  I was feeling unhappy about the giant stack I still had left, until it occurred to me to take them out of the cases, and store them in a box. I kept some cases...

These are the DVDs I kept, taking up a heap of space.

Here are the DVDs, mostly removed from their cases.   Look at the stack of DVDs.   That's how much space they take, minus cases.   I kept cases for JC's games, special edition live concerts that have accompanying books, and cases from videos of theatrical productions I have been a part of (for the time being).

The reason I outline all of the above, is because I have realized a couple of huge home truths here:

1.  I vastly underestimate the amount of stuff I have to go through.

2.   I vastly underestimate the amount of time it will take to go through my stuff.

I want to point this out, in case you are thinking of starting, or about to start, your own discarding and tidying process.

Some other things I have experienced, or realized in this process:

1.   There were items that did not 'spark joy' when I initially held them, but I talked myself into thinking I felt joy.   A pair of beautiful blue satin Badgley Mischka pumps, for one thing.    I set them aside to list on eBay.   As I was working on the listing, I decided they sparked joy after all and put them back in my closet.   The next day, while I was driving to dance class, I realized that that was a mistake, because now these shoes are in the way of things that give an instant thrill when I put them on.   I came home, and listed them.

But what I realized is that if it doesn't spark joy the first time I hold it, it never will.   Talking myself into thinking I feel joy in a pair of shoes or a book is pointless, because now it is in the way of the true joy-bringers.

Note that I use 'spark joy' a lot in this writing.   That is because this is the defining term Marie Kondo uses, when deciding what items you should discard, and what you should keep.

2.   Getting dressed is a much faster process - and thrilling!  Once I am dressed, I rarely change my mind about pieces.   I get the business of dressing finished and move on to other stuff, feeling clear-minded and happy with my choices.

I feel like a million bucks when I get dressed, whether it's going out for dinner, running errands, ballet class, or hanging out at home.

3.   Not once, have I felt any regret over anything I have let go.  I have not missed anything.  I have donated around 15 garbage bags of stuff, and listed another three or four bags worth of stuff on. eBay.   I have also thrown away at least eight bags of trash or recycled stuff.   

4.   I need to be patient.   I am not decluttering and organizing one residence, but two.

5.   This isn't an all-or-nothing process.   I will get to take another shot at this, and another, and another.   I found myself feeling panicky at times, thinking I had to get this all done perfectly, right now, like I'd never get to do it again, and wind up stuck with stuff that didn't spark joy.   Duh.   I can totally go back through my closet or cabinets in another week, or month, or year.   Anytime I damn well please.

I am already looking ahead to another walk-through the clothing, jewelry shoes, and accessories.   I have items that spark joy, that are going to be culled - because now that I have had two weeks of outfits I love, I can see where some of the things left in my closet are ready to be passed along - donated, gifted, sold, recycled, tossed.

It is a very good feeling.


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