Today was Tasks One and Two of my KonMari Festival. Clothing and books. I got a jump start on papers, and if all goes right I might actually take care of papers tonight, which is Task Three.
So my Cowsin K was into KonMari back in Seattle, before I moved to California. I was intrigued enough to buy the book back then, but I wasn’t intrigued enough to actually read it. It sat in my kindle for four years.
Last month, my friend R started downsizing his life, preparing to move away and also take a vow of poverty, and from afar I saw him systematically squaring away his office and his apartment. I should also mention that he is a clean freak and a maniac. Anyway, he sold off, donated, recycled, gifted, sent home, and threw away most of his possessions weeks ago and drove off with just a suitcase in his trunk. What I noticed during the whole process is that he loved it; he did it joyfully, I think the activity actually calmed him.
In fact, I convinced him to help me pack up my classroom, which was a revelation. He suggested packing strategies, and crucially, he helped me think about what to throw away and what to take with me, listening carefully and affirming my decisions. This is exciting to me, because I stress out about packing. One time, 20 years ago, my sister let me sleep on the bean bag chair while she packed up my kitchen, knowing that I was worthless.
Anyway, I had an unpleasant “grind-it-out” attitude, while R was serene; he enjoys this work. As I said before, he is a maniac. He also made a smug comment that he didn’t read Marie Kondo and he doesn’t have to. Besides, her theories are based on Shintoism, and he can do it with a Catholic point of view. Regard each item as a blessing. Rather than asking if an item sparks joy, R asks if it brings him closer to God.
He bragged that he should write a book, or be a tidying consultant. I asked him if he’d like to write an article for this blog, and he sneered, “No,” disdainfully, and slowly turned his head to the side and play-acted vomiting in slow motion, audibly wretching. Charming!
(Disclaimer: R did not, in actually, turn his head to the side and play-act vomiting. But the story is way better that way.)
I started watching some episodes of the Netflix series and taking mental notes about how it’s going to go. I reported to R that I was ready to convert to Shintoism. To his credit, he said he would support me.
Anyway, yesterday was the day I calendared to start with Task One: Clothing. Well, yesterday I blew it off. I took care of it this morning though, and the process was much faster than I thought; I’m sure I didn’t do it right. Still, I did pretty good.
I did try to follow a Catholic script, which I think R would appreciate. Rather than thanking items before discarding them, I thanked God for the blessing each item brought me. I haven’t figured out a way to work in Mary and the Saints, but I did deal with a little guilt. I recognized that some of my belongings had some original sin.
Anyway, the final score: I donated three bags of clothing, shoes, and towels to Martha’s Village and Kitchen, which is my donation center of choice, and to Goodwill, which is just closer. I donated about ten books; but, truth be told, I have been loathe to accumulate books ever since I gave away hundreds of books before I moved to China in 2007.
So the t-shirts, I took a photo of them properly folded, and when I get to Seattle I will fold and file them properly. For right now, however, I put them in sardine mode so I can move. Underwear and socks: handled. A while ago I bought two dozen pairs of the same sock, and it’s the only sock I wear on all occasions, and since they all match, I don’t bother to pair them. Shorts and pants are all sorted and I feel good about them.
Hanging clothes; I probably didn’t go at them hard enough, I still have too many. I can try again later. One annoying thing: when I’m fatter, my neck measures 18.5, but since there was that period when I was losing weight I have a full set of work shirts that are 17.5 at the neck. For now, I’m keeping both sets of shirts. Obviously my goal is to transition to the smaller size full-time, but it’s not crucial at the moment; my next gig doesn’t have a necktie rule.
Next up: Task Three: Papers.