Since returning from my travels it has been an interesting process of readjusting back into a hectic and beautiful city. First off I needed to collect all of my belongings from various locations where things had been stored. I had things at my friend’s house where my boxes and bags were being used as extra areas for her to put her things on. Then my brother had taken an excess and last minute packing that I needed to move. Then I had my bag that I had taken traveling with that needed to be unpacked.
Suddenly going from one big bag and a small backpack for seven months to boxes and boxes of things was quite a lot to process! I am so lucky to have so many clothes, books and trinkets. But I was having this feeling that I don’t need to have so much. Probably not the best time to have that thought! It would have been better to have that moment before I left so there would be less to store!
The turning moment came when my parents called to tell me that they had repainted the ceiling in my room at their house. I need to point out here that I did technically move out when I went to uni. I have been storing things in my room like old paper work, belongings from my childhood, clothes, books, toiletries, and random things from travels over the years. I think as it was the first time my dad actually had to move all of the things out of my room and fix something in the walk in wardrobe. There’s A LOT of stuff in that room! It gets hidden away with the wardrobe and bookcase. My dad made a request to come and sort out my things as he didn’t believe I needed to have copies of Vogue from 2006 or mobile phone bills from 1999. In fairness I have not touched anything in my room for a few years other than to add items. Mentally I wasn’t quite ready to tidy it.
I was sitting with a friend in her office discussing my dilemma of going to tidy up and having concerns around how to do it along with making sure what I sort out gets sent off to the garbage/charity/keeping. She reminded me of this great book called the Art of Tidying by Marie Kondo. I had read about it in my studies and hadn’t really given it much thought. I picked up a copy to read on my Kindle and set a date to go to my folks house. My next task was to read and immerse myself in the book. It is such an accessible book and I made notes on how to approach my belongings. Marie’s approach is very easy and anyone can do it. It is based around sparking joy and being very specific order on how this is done with a formula on how to tidy. Marie has a very clear idea on how you should keep your space once its been cleared out and how to look after your belongings. I finished the book and went home to tidy. I prepared for my time mentally and with necessary items – plastic bags, boxes, tea and chocolate biscuits (biscuits are a cheat I know). I sat in my room before I started and imagined how the room would look when I finished. In my head I imagined a clean, relaxed environment with minimal items on the surfaces and the wardrobe that feels so fresh & tidy. I think I envisage a Scandinavian / Japanese simplicity. I followed the book to a tee. I spent about 8 hours sorting my stuff. I did have a moment of overwhelm as there were some boxes I didn’t even open. I definitely made a dent on the room. I separated the junk to be dumped in one room and put the items to go to charity in another room. Between the two I would say it was about an even split of 15 bags with a few boxes in each pile. That is a total of 30 bags plus some boxes to go out.
I had run out of mojo by that point but I really felt that I had done a lot. I think I need to spend another two sessions clearing through the rest. It was a liberating experience to go through and clear out really old letters that had previously had a significance at a point in my life. I felt a clearing in my mind when I threw the items out. I am applying the same principle to my apartment tidy up. It’s been a great experience. I think regardless of how your space is there are lessons to learn from the Art of Tidying. Clearing out old clothes was interesting. There were a few bits that were hardly worn or new and things that no longer fitted along with dresses I used to wear 10 years ago. It’s great to know that these will have a second life in someone else wardrobe or be recycled through a charity. It was amazing to rediscover little notes and letters from loved ones. I talked to my parents about making sure the things were cleaned out as I had designated and not returned to my room at a later date which in the past had happened. I think there were only two items that my mother scurried away with. Family do have a habit of wanting to keep things just in case. Clearing out has really helped my mind feel more focused and energised to tackle other tasks. I feel more appreciative of the things I have kept because they spark joy for me. Overall the book was a huge help.
Check out Marie Kondo’s site – tidyingup.com for insights and tips.
The picture featured at the top isn’t my room! Just need to clarify that fact. I will add one once I download it from my phone.