Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tidy is as Tidy Does

This will not be a paean to Marie Kondo's best-selling "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up". I won't be plunking down $16.99 as I know it will sit on that giant stack of Books I Will Read Someday. I'm intrigued though and am not about to pooh-pooh it away.

As a "hunter and gatherer" (coined by my friend DG), I don't really want the cure. I'm happy that over time I've been able to find things I love, some of which I didn't even know existed. I've never had a problem getting rid of stuff either. When we sold the big house in New York, the one with the walk-in attic full of stuff we were too lazy to take to the trash, the clean-out was the most liberating feeling.

This is a small house with no real attic, so getting rid of and/or tidying up (depends on how you look at it) is ongoing. I recently gave away a pile of favorite summer clothes— t-shirts, skirts, blouses, dresses— that were still in good condition, still fit and were still stylish. That t-shirt I enjoyed on our trip to Marfa in 2009 just made me feel older. Where has time flown?  I knew I would never wear any again, but I felt a little guilty letting go.

"The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" has legions of fans. I first heard of it from a friend who cleaned out her closet and asked about donating to Dress for Success. I was happy to help her and was positively floored that her whole car was filled. Lucky Dress for Success!

The book itself has four books written dissecting and summarizing it. I read an online feature promising to reveal Marie's secret in two words. It did: "Do it."

Reading the piece I was muttering yeah, yeah, yeah until I got to where Marie says we should thank our clothing for the joy it brought us then say goodbye. I guess my purging of still-good-but-no-longer-loved clothing fell into the category of bringing joy no more. I just forgot to thank and wish them well on their way.

So a belated thank you to those I loved, those I tolerated (though I loved you once) and those who disappointed me after the initial attraction. We are talking about clothes here. May you bring joy to someone else.

Bonus tip (though this may be cheating since I didn't buy the book): Fold your foldable items so they store vertically. That way no more rifling through stacks to find what you want.

Bye for now. I have A PILE of t-shirts to work on.


  1. I decided not to read the Kondo book after the New York Times review quoted her as saying that paper does not bring joy. Sheesh. As a writer, a lover of books, and a collector of old photographs, I decided we lived in different worlds.

  2. I have tried to read it, but can't stop laughing at the thought of sorting ALL of my clothes on the floor, and then, one by one, pick up an old sock or a pair of panties, hold it and feel if it gives me joy. If it doesn't give joy, then I thank the sock or thong or whatever for its service and chuck it. Seriously...

  3. Lynn and Kat— Agreed, agreed. And I didn't read the book either. I was really looking for a way to get rid of those old-but-still-good clothes without feeling guilty. Books are friends!

  4. Michelle and Lynn, My apologies to Marie Kondo. I did read the book and have started to apply her approach. The folding thing is great, but I am not certain I am getting the contact high.