Seriously, How Much Meaning Can You Give a Sweatshirt?

Alright here’s the deal, it’s the end of January and already I feel like I have been more successful this year than I was ALL of last year. Literally. As you know, I have been on a mission to be more positive this year (a little more joy sprinkled in never hurt anyone either). I have been working on eating healthier, following a regular workout regimen and blogging more. So far, so good. There was really only one more thing left- ORGANIZATION.

When it comes to tidiness and organization I’m not the model candidate. My husband actually is the one who likes things purged, neatly stacked, and orderly. He’s the “less-is-more” guy. I am more your neighborhood “let’s-keep-it-in-a-general-pile-over-there” gal. This is tolerable until you have several piles lying around and you no longer know what’s in each of those piles. This is when my husband steps in:

  1. He declares a family emergency (him: “stop everything you’re doing please”).
  2. He labels us as ‘hoarders’ (me: “we have to stop binge watching that show”).
  3. He proceeds to get rid of everything.

He even once tossed out a perfectly fine shoe rack that we totally could have used in our porch right now. I still fume about that secret purge and once in a while give him some side-eye.

Needless to say, I have been on a tidying frenzy. I have been obsessively watching DIY and organizational videos online thinking of new ways to make better use of our space. My husband turned to me the other night and asked me why I was folding his underwear like a baguette. I laughed uncontrollably because he probably remembers the time (we had just moved in together) when he ignorantly asked me if I was going to fold his underwear. I remember feeling incensed, then scoffed at him and walked away in a fit of laughter thinking “who do you think you are? I don’t even fold my own underwear!”

Fast-forward many years later, my spontaneous burst of energy and inspiration came from a certain Japanese organizing guru. konmarieIf you haven’t heard of the name Marie Kondo you must be living under a rock. I am convinced of this. Why? Because it seems like she quite literally exploded onto mainstream media overnight. She honestly became the new kale- trending and everywhere! If you search her name on YouTube you will find her tv appearances from all the major networks decluttering the messy offices and homes of notable broadcasters. She even has her own show now; popping into people’s homes and asking them if their holey underwear sparks joy via a translator (how embarrassing for the translator that her job is to ask people if their 10-year-old, decrepit underwear ignites their soul). Okay, maybe she doesn’t do that. I have no idea because I haven’t watched any of her shows or even read any of her books, and frankly I don’t plan to.

When I first caught a glimpse of one of her segments on tv I found her one-size-fits-all methodology to be unrealistic and uninspiring. How is it possible that her “art” of tidying can apply to all types of households- from the cleaner ones on the spectrum, all the way to the extreme hoarders? Then I realized there was a simple reasoning for her process. She explains that homes in Japan are typically much smaller (maybe even a quarter the size of a regular North American home). Thus, as a culture and as a result of their smaller living spaces, Japanese people are less prone to collecting “things” and they only make room for what matters. So I realized the problem wasn’t with her KonMari philosophy; it was us as an oversaturated society in constant need of acquiring stuff, stuff and more stuff. This made all the sense in the world. However, I still couldn’t understand the concept of taking your clothes piece by piece, examining it, putting it up against your cheek to recall sentimental memories of you and this sweatshirt, and then deciding whether or not it sparked joy. Then you were supposed to fold it delicately in a specific way (all taking up more than 30 seconds of your time). While 30 seconds is not a long time, it is more than I have to fold one item if we’re looking at a laundry basket full of socks, underwear and miscellaneous garments. Plus, I thought, what was so wrong with the way I was folding things before?

Then I tried it- just out of curiosity though and because I got sick of looking at my dresser like a tornado had blown through it. drawerSo 20 minutes into refolding our clothes like my life depended on it, I wasn’t entirely convinced because my neck started to hurt and my back could have used a deep-tissue massage. However, once I was complete I actually felt accomplished and the amount of space I saved just by folding it like that really blew me away.

In conclusion, her simple folding practice did wonders for my drawer space. Once in a while after I dump the clean laundered clothes onto my bed (ready to instinctively revert back to my old folding ways) I am reminded that if I want to stay organized I must fold the KonMari way. I learned a few things during this process: I no longer need to buy anymore leggings for as long as I shall live (30 should be enough to last a lifetime), not all white basic tees are made equal (I kept them all), and you will never catch me professing my deep affection for a piece of fabric that had me at “on sale”.

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