The Bookshelf Cafe News

Finding the Joy in Tidying

Where did February go since my last post? I seemed to look up and suddenly it was March. I imagine many of you will be very glad that spring is around the corner – in fact we had a few days of it last week before being at the mercy of rain and wind again.

One of the reasons the time has passed so quickly is all the decluttering I’ve been doing. Since the previous post on the subject, I’ve taken it to a new level! I was enjoying getting more organised so much that I bought Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. I think I was one of the last to hear about her, apart from the notoriously out of context reported ‘only owning 30 books’ comment – what she said was that we keep what is right for us that gives us joy. After seeing a couple of her videos on YouTube, I decided to buy and read the whole book.

I can now confirm it works! I love her philosophy, that you sort everything by category rather than room, that you discard anything that doesn’t give you joy, then find a place for everything you keep – to which it will return after every use. We had already cleared out about half of our possessions before moving areas almost two years ago, even though we haven’t downsized (yet). And I’ve been gradually decluttering since the beginning of the year. Well, I’m amazed to find that wasn’t enough and a little disgusted about how much we still possessed.

Following the KonMari method of discarding and folding, I now have half the clothes I moved here with – out went anything I was keeping from too long ago, or that didn’t suit, or certainly didn’t give me joy to wear. I was a bit evangelical in telling husband all about it (I’m noted for my enthusiasm!) but he saw what a difference it made to my drawers and wardrobe space and he agreed to do it too. A necessary event, as it happened, since he was holding on to far too many items that would never see the light of day again, on him at least.

No wonder clothes is the first category as it gives the quickest and best results. Next was books. Oh, dear – I’ve managed to part with so many over the last few years that I really thought I’d have a problem. Not a bit of it. Out went all the books that were so old and musty that they were probably adding to my sinus problems, plus those I had never looked at for so long I’d forgotten they existed. But what to do with my OU books and material? Yes, even a lot of that went out, although I’ve kept what is most relevant for my writing research, plus the assignments. What a delight to see books I can now easily read or consult, though sadly not old falling apart paperbacks like those below. I did, however keep any decent hardbacks of my favourite old novels.

I’ve just finished the third category: papers and magazines and such like. My study drawers are now a lot easier to navigate and my mind feels lighter. As an add-on, I decided to tackle all my computer files, as some were a disgrace with all the different versions of stories, novels, articles and poems. What a relief to cut them down to size. I’ve had to pause now to catch up on my other work but next stop will be the kitchen. After moving, then renewing the kitchen last year, we could do with reassessing what we have, need and enjoy. Plus some of it is in the wrong place.

I can’t believe what a great exercise this has been – it’s meant to free our time once everything remaining has its own place. Now I can see at a glance what clothes I have and if there is anything I need to fill the gaps, rather buying something unsuitable because it’s in a sale. So much of what we’ve discarded is good quality so we’ve given it all to local charity shops so someone else can benefit. Since husband pays tax, they get extra and we get occasional letters to tell us how much they’ve made from our stuff – quite a lot at times.

Perhaps now, I can get on with sorting out my writing projects and organising my workshop for the SAW conference later this month.

Enjoy March!