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KonMari: The Life-Changing Magic Of What The Hell Happened To My Living Room

20/10/2015 2:46 AM IST | Updated 19/10/2016 2:42 PM IST

If you haven't heard of the KonMari method of "de-cluttering," you obviously live on Mars (there's water there though, so you're going to be just fine) OR, at the very least, you have never seen Pinterest. Let me say, I was a skeptic. And by skeptic I mean, screw you, Marie Kondo, and the book you rode in on. OK, that's a little harsh. What I really mean is, "No, not one more method of de-cluttering/simplifying/minimizing, all words that just mean getting rid of your things!"

I have a lot of shit. I like all my shit. I have knick-knacks and bric-a-brac and tchotchkes -- and other clever names for things that are really just shit. I've always had a lot of shit. As a child I would regularly plot the fire escape route from my bedroom, a key part of which was what shit I would grab as I fled. For the most part there was a core group of items: my large framed poster of a white tiger (they are RARE), somewhere between one and seven Cabbage Patch dolls, a giant stuffed buffalo that I called Buffy, and my parakeet, Tweety (I was 8, OK? Not every 8-year-old can come up with a clever name for a stupid bird/buffalo.)

See: shit. Important shit.

There is really no anatomically possible way I could have carried all that, so in addition to my poor naming skills, I apparently didn't have a very good grasp of either math or physics -- or both. Probably both. Also Tweety, as it turns out, had a pretty short lifespan, so my worries about his well-being were in vain.

Anyway.

Shit: I have a lot of it. My husband and I see shit differently. I see shit as warm and fuzzy feelings about things happening like 60 years ago, when my favorite vase was made (I like to tell myself that the lady who had it was just a happy person -- who liked aqua and vases -- and not a lonely war widow). Or what about this vintage painting (or 27 -- I have 27 vintage paintings)? Who painted it? Why? What were they feeling? And doesn't it look lovely grouped with the 26 other paintings? My husband is more like, "Why are there 27 vintage paintings on this wall? And where is the wall, anyway? And whose vase even is this?"

Bygones.

I want to be better, or something -- whatever the thing is where you don't have a metric ton of yarn (but it's SO SOFT AND OMG YOU GUYS, I CAN MAKE SOCKS. 600 pairs. Of socks. So far, I have made six. Two were baby socks, so really like five. Five pairs of socks.) I bought Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and -- because I am a Professional Woman who never procrastinates and is always seeking opportunities for personal growth -- I read it immediately (where read it immediately = put it on my shelf with my 271 other books). I was resisting because A. I like my shit B. I am busy C. It's like 200 pages long D. I like my shit.

Also, I don't want to get rid of my paintings. YOU CANNOT MAKE ME GET RID OF MY PAINTINGS, MARIE.

If you don't know anything about this book (see: MARS or lack of Pinterest) let me sum it up: You get rid of things. Probably a lot of things (You can't have the paintings, Marie. Stop asking.). The method with which you get rid of the things is a bit different and once I actually read the book, I felt pretty much like a total moron because her method can be spelled out pretty quickly (but I mean, buy the book and stuff, even though she is totally not paying me to write this).

This is how it goes:

1. Gather all the things (clothes or shoes or 271 books [not her book though] or 27 vintage paintings. Whatever.)

2. Look at all the things.

3. Touch all the things and see if they create a "spark." Whatever that means.

4. If yes, keep. If no, go.

Now, there's obviously more to it than that (I mean if that was it, then I legit just wrote a book), but you get the idea. It's actually sort of genius. (Sorry for all that stuff I said before, Marie.)

So I did it (not with the paintings, though, let's not be hasty). And this is what happened.

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HOLY SHIT.

Yeah, that's what I said too. And that's only about a fourth of it. At this point. I was mostly just really really so super mad at Marie and her "KonMari" bullshit. The only spark I had was the one that was lighting the match I was about to throw into my living room -- where, coincidentally, her book was laying. OK, there were probably more sparks than that. Maybe a lot of sparks. I'm a very sparky person, and I'm OK with never achieving the Tumblr-worthy minimalism of having nothing but a sweatshop woven throw cushion and two cacti in the corner of my living room. What I'm going for is organized chaos. Lots of yarn, but color-coded, and maybe only one variation of an alpaca blend. Moderation and whatnot. And I think I can achieve that. I have faith in "the process" or whatever (aka someone had to pick all this shit up), so I did the thing with the supposed "spark." And? Three big donation boxes, two huge trash bags, and one back spasm.

I said goodbye to a lot of yarn (see: socks, not making any), several vintage vases (Sorry about your husband, Lady From 1940, war is stupid), 37 craft books (let's be real, I am not crafting), a huge stack of Mollie Makes magazines that I have been collecting for five whole years of my life, a jar of 48 spools of vintage thread (that I would never use because vintage thread is crap and also because it was just for decoration, ok), one large globe (reducing the globe total to 12), one Ratt record (because, well, Ratt), and NO PAINTINGS (don't push it, Marie).

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I'm feeling pretty good about these efforts. (Even if I am mourning the yarn.)

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LOOK at all the empty cubbies! ROOM FOR MORE YARNS!

Next on my KonMari to-do list is my closet, and let's just not talk about my 43 pairs of shoes. By which I mean, "No, Marie, I will not be getting rid of any shoes. They all have spark. The end."

I Konmari'ed this shelf. I know it doesn't look like it, but I did, and you stop judging me right now. Because SPARKS, that's why.

***

This story by Joni Edelman first appeared at ravishly.com, an alternative news+culture women's website.

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