Giving It All Away

I’ve been reading my second book on de-cluttering, The Joy of Less and I was KonMari’ing again last weekend and gave a bunch of stuff away. It felt really good to give my stuff to people who would give it a new life. These are inanimate objects, but humor me. 

Although my couch was old and kind of crappy (I bought it from IKEA in 2008), it was still totally usable and I really wanted it to get a new home and not go to a landfill. After little success on Facebook and with my IRL friends, I asked the intern at my office if she could post an ad on the Columbia University Marketplace on Facebook. I live quite close to Columbia and I knew I had a pretty good chance of finding a new home for my couch if I got the ad in front of Columbia students. Minutes after she posted it, I received three emails and narrowed it down to one after revealing when I could move furniture in and out of my building (there are very strict rules – M-F only). Three roomies came for the couch the day after I got my new one and thanked me profusely via text message after. I never met them but I’m glad some students who are paying high tuition have a free couch. And I’m very happy my couch has a new home.

Next on the chopping block were two yoga bolsters. I had three in my apartment but let’s be real, how many can I use at once? Answer: One, but I actually don’t even use that one all that often. So, instead of hiding the extra two under a chair, like I had been for months, I advertised on my Facebook wall that I had these two extra hardly-used bolsters and won’t someone please come take them from me? They were gone in a day. Yay!

After that I decided to purge my shoe collection. The floor of my small walk-in closet was covered and I touched about 4 pairs of shoes regularly. I did a Marie Kondo and put all of my shoes on the floor of my living room and picked through them. At the end I kept about dozen pairs – enough to be hung in the shoe holder on the back of my bedroom door and tossed a big bag after. Well, not tossed, donated. I also donated a small bag of clothing that had been sitting on a chair in my bedroom for a while.

I tackled the contents of my coffee table and ottoman, too. I was keeping far too many magazines – Time Out New Yorks – that I would ever look at again. So I kept about 10 issues that I especially liked and recycled the rest.

My bookshelves also got swept. When I was boxing up books, I decided to get rid of a few dozen plays that I’ll never read again, and some books that I read, enjoyed, and will never read again. And let’s not forget about books that I never read and probably never will. I’m taking these over to Book Culture on Saturday.

Previously I’d cleaned out my kitchen island and my tupperware (because as long as there is takeaway, there will be plastic containers, sadly).

It’s a privilege to be able to give stuff away and I’m fully aware. 

I’m not done yet, but it’s nice to start the process of streamlining. And please don’t worry, I’m not killing myself. No, no. I just got a new couch and cleaned out some junk – more than ever, now is the time to enjoy my apartment. (That sounds ridiculous, but you get what I mean.)

Summer De-Cluttering

 I wrote this last Saturday. I’m slowly but surely growing out of my former hoarder-self and learning to love de-cluttering.

Yesterday, despite my exhaustion from the hackathon, I came home from a grueling vinyasa class on Saturday morning and started getting rid of things that were needlessly taking up space. 

Technically, I’d started on Friday night. I had a couple of boxes filled with papers and news clippings tchotchke crap. I pared it down to one box after throwing out 10 years worth of pay stubs (are you sure I won’t need these again??) and class registration forms, among other things. 

Saturday morning was for going through the two baskets filled with tote bags and the two baskets filled with purses that I had and got ride of one basket worth of each. I had, literally, 60 tote bags. Who needs that many? I also got rid of about 40 hangers.

There’s also the scanner/printer combo thing that’s been sitting on the floor in my bedroom unused since I moved in and I think I’m finally ready to let it go. Who prints anything at home anymore? That’s what office printers are for, right? That will free up some floor space to buy a bigger desk with more storage, so I don’t need to have any baskets filled with old paperwork. #storagespace 

I should probably go through the things that are high up on shelves in my closet because I sure as hell haven’t touched those since I moved in. Piece by piece, I am whittling down the items de-cluttering my apartment. It is nice. 

I went through one of my wardrobes this week to see what I’ve worn and what I haven’t since I did that whole turning-your-hangers-the-wrong-way experiment a couple of months ago. I was happy and surprised to see that I’ve worn over half of my wardrobe in the last few months (worn stuff is on the left, and unworn stuff is on the right – you can kind of see the divide). 

I knew exactly what I probably haven’t worn: Cardigans. Wraps. Things you wear over tank tops and t-shirts. I’m not wearing ANY of that during winter because all I want to wear when it’s cold are sweaters. Those couple of plaid shirts hiding? I’m probably never going to wear those either. I always intend to wear them because they look super cute on other people but then I’m always like: “eh, sweater.” Because it’s still cold. Really, really fucking cold.

I’m definitely feeling the need to go all Marie Kondo Method again to get rid of even more clothing. Specifically my jean collection. I believe I’ve worn all of two, possibly three, pairs of jeans since I started this experiment. I even found (and immediately discarded) a pair of skinny jeans from probably 6 years ago with a huge hole on the inner thigh of one of the legs (chaffing from when I was 40lbs heavier). I think I’ve worn my black skinny jeans, my blue skinny jeans, and maybe a regular pair of flare jeans. Maybe. (Though probably not, let’s be honest.)

So, I’m feeling the need to purge again. I’ll probably do it this weekend. I wore a sweater from the right side of the closet today and it was actually kind of cute, but it was super itchy, too. 

I’ll just file this under “First World Problems” and call it a day.

KonMari Method

So, like I mentioned the other day, I was reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I just finished it yesterday. I loved it. It was amazing. I spent a lot of last Friday evening going through my bureau and got rid of two bags worth of stuff and re-folded everything.

Marie says you have to be able to see everything when you open a drawer so piling stacks on top of each other just doesn’t work (because you can’t see things) so she suggests folding so you can stand items up next to each other. To my astonishment, it worked. I even have an extra drawer now! I’m working on my wardrobes and walk-in closet whenever I have time this weekend.

Above are three of those drawers. I didn’t think you had to see my sock drawer and the drawer where my tights are. I also used the “does this bring me joy?” method of discarding for my bookcases and I was able to re-arrange and clear out an entire bookcase (anyone want a bookcase?). 

Thank you to my clothes and books for bringing me joy whenever they did. Now it’s time for you to bring job to someone else when I donate you.

So, I’m reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and all of the hype is true. I’m even up to the part about discarding books, and I don’t want to discard them yet – yay. 

Although I’m not ready to pile every single article of clothing on my bed and pick each one up and ask “does this bring me joy?”, I did decide to finally do that thing where you turn around the hangers in your closet and after 6 months you can get rid of what you haven’t worn yet (which would be obvious by the wrong-hanging hanger). 

So, last night I changed all of my hangers and set a 6-month alert on my Google calendar. 

In the meantime, I might go through my things and see if there’s anything I could discard. I’m sick of having a ton of clothes. I rarely go shopping nowadays and if I do, it’s to buy a pair of leggings or a sweater in a specific color. 

If you’re a pack rat or a hoarder, or you sometimes have trouble finding room in your closets or on your bookshelves, buy this book now. I can’t wait to see what I haven’t worn in 6 months.