My Tidying Story

My co-workers and roommates will agree that I’ve always been more than a little bit addicted to moving furniture around and transforming spaces.  I’m sure they would also agree that I haven’t always kept a neat and tidy space for myself.

When I was 21 I moved back home from Toronto, into a small room with no closet.  At this time, I recognized the need to downsize – and downsize I certainly did.  I moved on many remnants of city life – my fashionable curtains went to a co-worker, and my drawer divider to my sister.  I kept what I was able to, incorporating my favourite cooking implements into my parents’ kitchen, and gifting childhood books to nieces and nephews.  My dresser was packed, and I dedicated a shelf in my room to other items that typically would have gone into a closet (essentially everything that did not fit in my dresser).

A few years later, I finally experienced success on the fitness goals I had wished for since high school.  Dropping 60+ pounds, I swiftly moved from XXL to XL, to Large, then (a bit more slowly) to Medium, at each stage discarding the clothes that no longer fit.  This cleared my wardrobe quite a bit – but I became addicted to fitting into newer and smaller clothes, and I began shopping a little bit too regularly.  I dedicated a bag hanging on the back of my door to discards, and anytime I felt “frumpy” in an outfit, I’d wash it then discard it in the bag.  When the bag was full, I’d go through a category – shirts or pants or tank tops, get a bigger discard bag going and give it to a co-worker or friend.

I had become obsessed with having a clothing collection that made me happy, and getting rid of things that didn’t – but I didn’t yet fully understand what that meant.

I first encountered The KonMari Method a few years ago in an article on Facebook titled “This Japanese Woman Wants You To Throw Out All Your Books” to which I said “heck no”, and continued on with my life and the ways I already knew how to clear.  I’ve always loved my book collection, and I have always kept it well organized.  By author, series, theme, books were a very hard thing for me to let go of.

Movies, on the other hand, have become so accessible – I had no problem pairing down my DVD collection to keep just my favourites, knowing that I could easily find any movie I wanted to watch online.  Music has also become super accessible with Apple Music and Spotify, there’s not really a need to own CD’s anymore.

On my 26th birthday I received a Kindle, and it was a doorway into treating my books the same way I treated my DVD’s:  Just keeping & displaying my favourites.  Around this same time, I found a health coach to help keep me on track as I had reached a plateau in my fitness journey.

Can you guess the first thing she asked me to do?  Declutter.  Why?  Because decluttering is the act of clearing space in your life, leaving room for the things you really want to do.  Of course, I explained to my coach that I was already a decluttering master, using my clothes as an example.  “Well,” she said, “is there anything in your life other than your clothes that you think could still use a bit of clearing?”

I acknowledged I could clear my bookshelf, my desk space at work, and perhaps my work inbox.  Then I excitedly got to work, and I got rid of more books than I could have ever imagined.  Little did I know that I would soon move on even more of the ones I chose to keep.

On a trip to Windsor, my younger (and much fitter) cousin was clearing his closet – and with joy I realized I was at a size that I could actually benefit from some of his hand-me downs.  After going through two bags of his cast-offs, my Aunt Terry asked me to give him a hand organizing his closet.  I figured this was a fair trade, and pretty well-suited to my talents, and we made some big changes to his system.

I wish I’d known then all that I know now!

On my drive home, I encountered a new Podcast series about improving one’s life, and I listened to the episode on “Clearing”, as I was inspired after helping my cousin.

On the podcast they discussed digital clearing, ways of moving on old items (the Buy Nothing Project), and at one point made a reference to “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo – a name I instantly remembered, and in that moment I decided it was time for me to read her book.

I later downloaded the audiobook, and one night was barely 45 minutes in when I was overcome with the need to declutter immediately.  I listened to the rest of the book that night, decluttering with my own method rather than the Konmari Method, though feeling very inspired.

The next day at work, I transformed my desk space yet again, this time fully employing the Konmari Method, and I started to delve deeper into learning about Kondo’s folding method and other special opportunities, such as her online course and in-person Consultant Seminars & certification program.

I applied the method at home, and got rid of way more clothes, and way more books, and I finally dealt with my paper!  I really got on a role, and when I received an invitation to attend the upcoming Consultant Seminar in San Francisco, I knew everything was unfolding in the right time.

Pictured: My “closet shelf” after I applied the Konmari Method to my very small bedroom.

Almost immediately after doing this new round of tidying, I found my life started to flow more smoothly.  I picked up my fitness level after being on a plateau for a few months, I started having this idea to start a new business, and I even met someone and started dating again.  The magic really happens when you create space in your life for what you want to experience — and that is the magic I am excited to share with others!

 

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