Thursday, January 28, 2016

KonMari coping strategy

OK, I'm through my clothing category (also books, most of paper, and working steadily through misc.), but I had some ideas that might help some people with starting the clothing category. After all, starting is hard, especially if the piles of clothes are as high as your bed. (Don't pretend you're not out there. I know all about laundry struggles!)

Get all the clothes together, both clean and dirty, and head to the laundromat. Yes, even if you have your own washer and dryer - I'll explain in a minute. If you have a large family, grab all the dirties and the clean clothes for whoever you're starting KonMari for - probably you at first. Make sure you pick a laundromat with a donation bin in the parking lot - most do have them.

Wash and dry everything, staggering the loads so you're not rushing to pull things out while you're still working on the last load. Take over one folding table, and begin sorting - things that don't fit, that don't feel good to wear, and generally don't spark joy, go straight outside to the donation bin. Fold and pack up the remaining clean clothes to take home.

Now, why would I tell you to spend the money to wash your clothes somewhere else when you have a perfectly good washer and dryer at home? Two big reasons. One, all the dirty clothes will get clean at once, making it a lot easier to see what you really have. Two, getting out of your home and into a clean environment can bring you clarity, allowing you to make decisions more easily. And if you're starting at a very cluttered point, you might not have a large enough clean space at home to spread everything out and make decisions about it.

Once you get everything home, I know you might be tired, but put it away immediately. As you put the clothes away, you may come across more things you forgot about in the drawers or closets. That's fine - you probably have enough clarity to deal with them by now - decide whether they stay or go, and put them away accordingly.

The other idea for getting started is more piecemeal. KonMari usually advises that you take ALL the clothes for the person you're working on, and dump them on the floor and sort all at once. For me, that's not so awful, since I maintain a small wardrobe. For people with a lot of clothes, that could be more than you can reasonably tackle in one day. In that case, get all your shirts and tops together and start there. If you still have a head of steam after sorting, folding and storing your tops, great! Move onto your bottoms. If not, those get done on your next tidying day.

I had one friend say she couldn't get motivated to start at all. It all looked like too much. So I suggested that she just open up her underwear drawer - after all, we all have ratty undies we don't really like. I told her to get rid of anything that was torn, stained, itchy, or rode up funny, buying a 6-pack of Hanes if all that meant she'd be short on undies. Fold, put in the drawer nicely, and admire it for a minute. See how that one corner of perfection makes you feel. She loved the idea! Once you've gotten a start, it becomes easier to, say, move onto the drawer with your bras or socks. Or shirts. Or pants! You build momentum the more tidying you do.

An important note - KonMari notes that sometimes you will experience "detox" symptoms after a good tidying session - that could include bowel trouble, skin breakouts, or allergy flare ups. I think the allergy symptoms are a reaction to the dust, but I'm familiar with digestive reactions to emotions! After a big tidying session, you will probably feel physically tired and in need of a break. Try to allow yourself a rest day after a tidying day. Drink lots of water and eat well, and minimize your physical activity if possible. Take a hot soak with epsom salts. And look at the progress you've made! It didn't get this way in one day - even KonMari says that while she wants you to do things in one go, it takes about 6 months for most people to finish KMing the whole house.

Just remember - if you don't start, you'll never finish! Start. Allow the beauty you're creating to carry you forward.

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