Sunday, February 10, 2019

FluBritt Goes KonMari - Episode 4

As I've written about my experiences with "tidying up," I've assumed that my readers know the basics of the KonMari method. Just in case you're not familiar with the process, one of the biggest parts of "tidying up" is going through your belongings by category (clothing first, books second, as recommended by Marie) and choose what to keep. To decide what to keep, you hold each item in your hands and discern whether it "sparks joy." If it does, you keep it. If it doesn't, you get rid of it.

"Get rid of it" sounds harsh. There's more to it than that. Before you set something aside to donate or discard, you thank it. It sounds silly, but these actions really have a lot of meaning. First you're identifying what you love and what has real importance and significance in your life, but then you are also expressing gratitude for the things that have served you, taught you about yourself, and fulfilled their purpose.

The bookshelf post-KonMari

Saying "thank you" to my nasty, old, pit-stained shirts felt ridiculous. I did it anyway. Clearly they worked hard on my behalf. They deserved my gratitude. But as I moved on to other things, saying "thank you" became emotional and necessary. I wasn't sad, though. My emotions were a combination of excitement and gratitude - excitement to move on and gratitude because my belongings really had served me well and fulfilled their purposes. And for the things I rarely used, I was excited to send them on their next journey. Marie says,

"I have never encountered any possession that reproached its owner. These thoughts stem from the owner's sense of guilt, not from the person's belongings. Then what do the things in our homes that don't spark joy actually feel? I think they simply want to leave... Make your parting a ceremony to launch them on a new journey."

There are a few items I had to have a special parting with. 

First was my wedding dress... or what was left of my wedding dress after cutting it up to make a blessing dress and baptism dress. At first I wasn't sure if I should get rid of it, but after thinking it through, it became clear that the time was right. I felt especially good about it since the dress had been used for other meaningful things. I held the scraps in my arms and... dare I admit it... put my veil on my head and sat there for a minute, grateful I had no audience. I thanked my dress, thanked my veil, and then set them aside.* 

Another item was my baby blanket. The funny thing is that I never had an attachment to this blanket, specifically. It wasn't "THE" blanket (I don't recall ever being attached to one blanket). But it's the only one I kept from my childhood, and it was super comfy and worn. I held it several times, and I spent a morning with it wrapped around me while I ate breakfast before I thanked it and placed it aside. 

Then there was Scotty's animal quilt. He refers to it as his "Eagle quilt." His mom made it for him when he earned his Eagle rank in Boy Scouts at age 13. After nearly 25 years, it was falling apart. It had holes in it, and the batting was falling out. A few years ago I thought about repairing it, but it would have needed so many patches that the repairs would've made it an entirely different blanket, and the best part of that quilt was how comfy it was from wear. We kept it in the basement for a while and brought it out for camping and outdoor events. It was a great quilt! To say good-bye to it, we washed it (so it would be nice and fresh) and slept with it one last time.

The next morning, I folded the blanket and carried it into the kitchen where Scotty was sitting at the table. I stuck it in his face and said, "Thank your blanket." 

He responded with, "Uh... thank you?"

And then it went away. 

I laughed when this video was posted online the same weekend I got rid of Scotty's blanket:

Some things that were really hard to go through were the mementos and letters from Scotty's mission. As I started tackling those boxes, I sorted through a few letters and honestly didn't want them to be part of our lives anymore. At first I felt guilty, because I felt like I was supposed to want them, but I made the decision to get rid of my letters to him and his letters to me. I don't like myself in those letters, and I can't stand reading them. But I didn't feel it was my place to get rid of letters from other people, like Scotty's friends and family. I didn't feel comfortable reading any of them, so I asked Scotty what he wanted to do with them. He decided he didn't want to keep them any longer. They fulfilled their role at the time they were sent and received. So we thanked them and they went away.

Of everything we released, I think it was the mission items that were the most freeing. As soon as we made the decision, we felt really good moving forward. We have no guilt leftover!

Marie Kondo believes that our belongings have energies and feelings. She likes to tap books to "wake them up." And she believes that her folding method allows us to put positive energy into our clothes through touching them. People might find this idea to be a little bit "out there." I, personally, am not opposed to it, but I probably have a different take on it. I don't have the words to describe it, but there's something. I've felt a sense of sacredness as I've tidied, and I keep reflecting on Moses 3:5 which teaches that God created all things spiritually before He created them physically. I believe that what I have felt is a connection to the Creation.


When I started this process, I didn't intend for it to go this far. I now have voids in my shelf space and a few empty drawers! It's amazing but also disconcerting. I'm all sorts of panicked about what to do with the free space. Should I just leave it? Are there things in my house that would be better-stored in that space?

It's the same kind of feeling I have when I have free time away from my kids. What should I do with this time? I feel so unprepared.

The pressure!

But it's also really fun when a friend comes over, and my house doesn't really look any different to her, but I'm able to say, "Come look at this!" and show her my empty kitchen drawer. 

*People have recommended that I donate the remnants of my dress to Angel Gowns (a foundation that makes burial clothing for babies). I reached out to some of these organizations a while ago, and they are so bombarded with dress donations that they aren't taking any more. Instead, they are looking for people to sew dresses. Those who are willing to sew may use their own wedding dresses. I thought about doing this, but it stressed me out to the max because my sewing skills are very lacking. 


JJ said...

I’m loving these posts. I don’t know if I could do it but I love reading about it.

Liz said...

Can I come see your empty drawers?