Spring Cleaning 2020
Today we changed our tiny space quite a bit, we have a bathroom attached to one room, then a short hall with a small and regular room. I changed the room on the end to a bedroom, which means blocking out light, I changed the room near the bathroom to a school, my son moved into the small room with my daughter and I moved the books and toys out of the hallway.
I don’t know yet if my husband will love it, hate it or somewhere in between. I just needed to move things to clean behind and organize and got carried away with spring cleaning fever.
I almost completely finish cleaning our living area, school area, and sleeping areas, but the kitchen and bathrooms are not all the way decluttered yet.
I’ve been through the Kon Mari process a few times, but I think this time I will finally get to the set point where everything is useful or sparks joy.
Kon Mari organizing is a Shinto approach to home organization from a Japanese author who was a life long organizing enthusiast and also Shinto priestess. Made popular in the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
Clothing (45 Total)
The first category is clothing, right now, all my clothing, jewelry and bags are pretty well managed. I have 1 pair of sandals (1) I can wear for everything, willing to get more shoes but so far don’t need to, I have a new work out shorts and shirt (3), I have a marital art’s uniform that is four pieces (7), I have my wedding dress I wear on Chinese New Years once a year plus two jackets that are a set with it (10), I have the dress my grandmother had her funeral in (11), I have a pink dress, a red dress, a yellow dress, a green dress, two blue dresses, two purple dresses (19), I have one hat (20), I have underwear to change after a workout (40). I have two pairs of earnings hoops and small flower studs (42), I have a small coin purse, a small bad and a drawstring backpack. (45 items, 12 outfits). That feels right for me.
My husband doesn’t have many clothes, but what he has I made peace with and don’t worry about. He isn’t a minimalist, but what he has is very close to what a minimalist would have without having to re-buy formal clothes or interview clothes. Women’s clothes are in a way easier because a simple dress can be used for everyday or for work or for an interview, I think so anyways.
My daughter has a few dresses two yellow, one black with dinosaurs (which is the only one she wants to wear), a school uniform, a toga she likes to wear, and a blue dress (6), two jackets, one light and one heavy (8), a few socks and underwear (20), about a dozen earrings (32), a few necklaces (34), pink shoes, blue shoes, indoor slippers (37), a few bracelets (41), a butterfly purse (42), a few rings (44) and some dress up clothes that I consider as play clothes more than clothes which fit in a bus box play chest. Her favorite PJ shirt (45).
My son has about three pairs of shoes (3), maybe 8 pairs of socks (11), warm PJs (12), a polo shirt (13), a collar shirt (14), a vest (15), two pairs of pants (17), two jackets (19) and cloth diapers (39).
We live in a pretty small foot print, but I’m not 100% if it is “tiny home size”. I’m pretty interested in living in an alternative home such as a container home or perhaps a converted bus or tree house, but I’m not sure about a tiny house, it seems claustrophobic. We live “small” but not necessarily tiny as far as I know. I’ll measure soon.
Kids Clothing Hack
Designating some clothes as play clothes was nice, it took the space of a box we already had that doubles as a seat and that means that my daughter can have some dramatic play materials without stressing over each item as if they were normal clothes items.
We have a lot of shoes to donate on our next walk, I really hope I remember to take them, some of the clothes I would want to donate were really too beat up, stained or ripped so, that is not really realistic in our area there is an abundance of used clothes in better condition and the cost of transporting the clothes as far as they would need to go to be appreciated would be far more than paying for clothes to be purchased in those far locations instead. Once I wanted very much to send my old martial arts gis to a school I visited in Brazil, but for the same cost as shipping I could buy new gis or double the amount, it just didn’t make sense in the end.
Location Based Kon Mari Fusion
I always do a combination of location based organizing and Kon Mari organizing at the same time, because that’s what works for me. I started with toys, school supplies, clothes, cleaning supplies.
I mostly use the one touch rule, grab one thing and put it away, and I mostly mess up one room at a time and pick up that room until it is clean, I put away things one at a time, I have to make many more trips, but it’s much easier mentally and I don’t have to make a lot of different staging areas.
I separate trash, recyclables, grab a large blue trash bag for extra sized trash, move donations to the hall closet as they come up and have only one table top staging area for clutter and items.
Since I am watching my kids while I do this I can’t use the floor or that wouldn’t be safe because my son is less than 1 so he wants to eat small items. I like doing it as a family though I can ask right away if I pick up something that isn’t mine.
Most my clothes are right behind a door on a hanging rack, some on a shelf right next to that, my daughters in her room, my son in the school room near the bathroom where we change and dress him since he is not yet 1, my husband has everyday stuff in an end table and formals in a quarter of the hall closet. His backpacks are nested, our family luggage set is nested, it takes very little space that way, so that our seasonal LED trees fit in that small closet as well. For a Kon Mari enthusiast it’s interesting to realize a lot of our clothes are hung, we just don’t have much. I find folding isn’t as good for dresses and my daughter and I wear dresses, my husband and son have much more folded clothing than us.
For years I’ve been trying to get rid of that 80% of unworn clothing and for myself and my daughter I have. My husband has a reasonable amount and is not a minimalist, so it’s not my place to hassle him about reducing his things, he has the right to decide that for himself (as long as his storage isn’t over flowing then it becomes a family issue that I try to be as tactful as possible with).
Today was a school day for our home-school preschool, but inspired by Japan having the students clean the school I thought what better way to have a school day than by organizing our school so it is easier to use.
Since last October I felt my new baby didn’t give me a chance to organize between feeding both kids, keeping up with laundry, teaching, being tired, but now that I have more energy it went well and also because I wasn’t trying to do it on the weekend in “borrowed” baby sitting time, but rather just all together with the kids having fun playing around me and being amused by the sight of me.
I often don’t realize when I’m not being proactive until I’m ready to stop.
I think I would like to write a book about organizing and minimalism and also hoarding (since I come from that background on both my father and mothers side). But I’m not yet sure if it will be a “later” project vs the “next” project.
My life has been improved by organization, being a minimalist allows me to live as a writer vs wage slave, lets me enjoy my kids instead of always cleaning too many things, it suits me well kind of keeping my spirit at peace and mind more clear for writing, I don’t know how much is the right amount for anyone else, but I know living about one’s right amount is such a burden and although it maybe a long road to declutter no one at all can stop you if you want to, they may look hurt that you discarded their gift, but they can’t stop you, they can’t force you to live with a closet filled only with the gifts they wanted you to have. Hurt feelings can be repaired by spending some time doing something fun together, but wasted space makes cleaning harder, makes you more crowded, takes the room you could use for something you love. Example we have a keyboard now to play piano, it takes just a bit of room that an unwanted extra blanket could have taken up or a long unused toy… My daughter learned Fur Elise on the keyboard, I hope to relax on it sometime soon, that doesn’t happen with the same volume of extra blanket or unused toy.
The next Kon Mari category after clothes is books. Clothes was supposed to be the easiest, but I’m not sure it is, but it’s easier for me to go in order than debate what would be easier in a process that is not that easy no matter the order. Books may be my hardest category, right now there are board books for my son in front of the music basket where he can get them, he has the perfect amount 5 or 6 (but all good ones he is interested in looking through), my daughter has too many gifted books she doesn’t ever try to read, but I am going to allow her to decide which to keep, they don’t take up too much space, but something about the unwanted books makes going through the books less fun. There is a leave a book take a book, free trading area by the nature center, I will ask her to take as many as she can there to get more that are actually interesting. For me, I have a book I want to let go of, but I’m having trouble. It’s out of print. I don’t need it, but because it’s out of print I am worried to let go of it. It’s a good book, “The Love Project Way,” I got it because it is the real origin of my favorite quote “Be the change you want to see in the world,” Ghandi said something longer and similar, but not that, it is very often attributed to Ghandi, but it is Arleen Lorrance who said it in the way that has become very popular lately. My martial art’s green belt to me means “Be the change you want to see in the world,” in my school we pick our own color and we define our own value to it. A tribute to Bruce Lee, my martial art’s hero, who said a belt just keeps your pants from falling down. To have the belt matter, we define our own value we want to strive towards and explain the color ourselves to each other in a self leadership exercise.
I won’t have an updated count until later.
I haven’t counted my ebooks, because we share a family library it seems silly to delete ebooks that someone else may want to read, therefore, I won’t. Perhaps I will make my own “book list” page someday and delete the ones there that I wouldn’t need anymore, but deleting them from the family account doesn’t make sense since my father and sister like to read, and someday my kids might.
I’m sure I don’t have too many physical books right now, they are scattered though some in the school, some in the hall closet. I suppose I should move them all to the same place when I count them. My husband beats me at books he has zero books.
This one is a mess, we don’t have a good system for the mail, between what is awaiting action vs being kept. It would help if I kept post it notes and a highlighter by the incoming mail so I could mark my husband’s mail for him without filing it away where he doesn’t see it. For me my school notes tend to get messy. I digitize a lot of projects, but then I have to face organizing my ideas on Google Keep because if I want to use that system to organize my mind and life and it has too much trash clogging it, it will make searching for what I do want harder (and also there is limited data for free and even though I’m okay for now I don’t want to use the space unwisely or unmindfully).
Summary (February, 17th 2020)
Usually I only organize once a week, so I prefer to make a note of where I was this week to get back into the flow faster next week:
School Room 👌 (Clutter on Top Shelf)
Kid’s Bedroom 💖
My Bedroom 👌 (Clutter Behind Electric Fire Place & Tape Cords for Safety)