To Be KonMari Clean (Clothes on Hangers)

Continuing with my KonMari process, I tackled the “clothes on hangers” sub-category.

For me, they were the old business outfits and dresses that I’ve stored away in another closet that I couldn’t possibily fit into my own.

clothes on hanger before konmari  cleanupOther then the volume of clothes, this was very easy. They were too small but still in very good condition so all of them went to my favorit 100% volunteered local charity. And of course, there were many other ways to give your old clothes second lives.

In my previous post, I mentioned how I thank my out-going clothing by folding or arranging them nicely before I delivered them to charity shops. A lady at the shop mentioned how nice it was to received them this way. Not only my old clothes got more appreciation, it brought the volunteers joy while they work.

Back to clothes on hangers. Here are my notes:

  • I had bought a bright yellow, waterproof, stylish jacket with a hoody to fulfill my promise to my designer cousins. I love the jacket but never wears it. Now it has room to breath on the hanger, it sparks joy every time I see it. I wore it on walks in the fall rains and very happy to find out that it’s warm and really waterproof (Style to me often means impractical.)
  • I wished I’d donated these quality garments much sooner. I found some spongy padding on hangers turned to sticky dusts because they are so old, I worried that the charity shop might not get as much money out of them.
  • Do keep the dry cleaning bags for until you are done with the entire cleanup. Use them as light garbage bags (tide the hanger opening). Or in our area, home shredded paper are required to go into a clear plastic bag, so I saved it for the document clean up phase.

clothes on hanger after konmari cleanupAfter the clean up, there are only three things left on hangers that I don’t wear often.

  • 1 long coat for super cold winter
  • 1 jacket (mentioned above) for rainy spring/fall days
  • 1 dress for all formal occasions

I love that I can actually see the backwall of my closet now.

To Be KonMari Clean (Clothes-Tops, Bottoms)

As instructed in Marie’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, I started with clothes.

From one of her Japanese tv appearances, I learned that you should never take anything out of your room for this. I decided to work by the subcategory so I’d have the room to sort and fold. And again by the order suggested in the book.

The check list here is posted in my room and I gave myself a sticker as I finish each subcategory. The the gold stars you get when you were a kid.Tops pile before KonMari sorting

And no worry about not being overwhelmed enough that I’d go back to my old way again. I thought I did a “deep cleaning” last year yet I saw I still have so much more.

Pick What You Love 1st

When I saw all these clothes, I didn’t know where to begin. Then I saw the corner of my favorit summer shirt peaking out and remembered I need to pick out what sparks joy.tops pile after KonMari sorting

When to Take Short Breaks

There were moments I wanted to give everything away and moments I worried I’d have nothing to wear when the weather tunes.

bottoms pile KonMari sortingThese were the irrational moments I took breaks. I also remind myself that if I didn’t keep going, I won’t be able to sleep in my bed then I got right back to it.

Showing Gratitude to Not-Keeping items

It felt funny literally thanking each item because it feels like an empty gesture (it’s a very Japanese thing to do but I’m not Japanese). But I also didn’t want to skip this step, especially after thanking so many times.

donate and recycle excess clothingTo show my respect, I folded every piece as if it’s going back into my closet (also very Japanese but this one I can do with sincerity.) Even if it’s going to be recycled, I still folded it.

This is also a good opportunity to inspect each item for it’s proper destination. More explanations in Holey Cloth Are Still Holy.

Storing

I’m going to wait until all of my clothing are sorted out so I can position them logical, accessible way so I’d never have to “remember” where I put what.

My room is a mess right now but the vision of my dream room is fueling my effort.

Notes

  • When Marie says keep what sparks joy, I think that includes the items you need.
  • Remember to do this by yourself in the room, you need to be the one making the decisions.
  • Do this in silence, it will help you stay mindful and being in the zone.

Side Effect

Unsubscribe from sites I’m no longer interested. I can always sign up again when I need to later.

To Be KonMari Clean (Day 0)

A Stranger at The Bar Made Me

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie KondoForced to sit at the the bar because there were no other seat, my next stool neighbor chatted up with me and the barkeep. The barkeep was about to get married and they both had to downsize.

The bar neighbor, Ron, made us promise to read this book. “It will change your life!” He was so passionate about it, I agreed and got on the waiting list at the library.

Awaken by Synchronicity

Months passed, right when I was dealing with super heavy workload and personal responsibilities, it became available to me. (Have you noticed many good things often show up just when we are ready for it?)

I opened book tired and needing a nice break but it woke me from my self-imposed slump of material prison.

Unstuck Myself

For many years now, I’ve been complaining about never having enough time, I can never catch up with people’s demands. “Why are you wasting my life?” I often wanted to shout.

When I read that the author, Marie Kondo, was angry with her family members for not keeping the house clean, I knew how she felt. Then she realized things didn’t change because she still had things in her room to tidy away.

OMG! Exactly why I am still spinning my wheels in my own mud.

I was stuck because I blamed everyone and gave away my power to fix things.

What you don’t love (in your room) hurts you

Marie KondoMarie advises us to visualize the end result before we even touch a thing.

A flash of myself in a corner of my room jumped out at me and I am readding in a cozy sofa chair with my feet on a matching ottoman. And on the wall next to me has a large Zentangle drawing I did myself.

Then I knew why I have to leave my house everyday. It’s not only because I don’t want any distraction when I write, it’s because I have no place to be by myself in my own house. My room is by no mean stuffed to the ninth but it’s still oppressive all the same.

I don’t even have a place to just sit and day dream in my room and that is detrimental to a writer.

I am so tired all the time because my things are sucking the life out of me. Why on Earth do I think I am a minimalist? I was kidding myself. No wonder I don’t have the energy to pursue my dream of writing novels.

Operation KonMari Clean

Tomorrow, I’m staring with clothes as Marie stresses that the order of the process is VERY important. Here a few notes though…

Work by sub-category

To avoid family members from “repurposing” things (i.e. into their slumps) I need to pile the clothes in my room when I sort them. I already know I have way too much to pile everything piece of clothing into my room and still have the room to sort them. So I’ll have to do this by the sub-category. Tops being most of what I own anyway, I am sure I will still be horrified by my pile.

No radio, no music

When I was recovering from a near breakdown last year, I found myself turning on the radio or TV then ignore it. One day I decide to keep my car radio off while I ran errand, my irritation went down, I became a better and more caring driver.

So, silence only for me while I ask “does this spark joy?”

I can’t wait to get started! I don’t remember the last time I wake up all excited about the day to come. May my inner spirit guide me well on this journey.

On Writing by Stephen King: Note to Self (2/2)

Adding to my pervious post: Note to Self (1/2) here are more note on On Writing by Stephen King.

Plotting

  • Stephen King distrusts plot
  • Lives are largely plotless
  • Plotting and spontaneity of real creation are not compatible
    [ I feel the same way. When I’m forced to turn in a plot, I feel my characters are puppets/flat/dead when I want the characters to tell me where to go and they have the right to change their minds. ]
  • Stories are found things and writers discover and excavate

Description

  • How-to + how-much-to
  • Must learn from reading and writing a lot
  • First visualize what you want readers to experience, then transcribing it into words
  • begins in writer’s imagination but should finish in the reader’s imagination

Theme

Ask yourself

  • Why bother writing it?
  • What is it all about?

Writer’s job

  • 1st draft (during/just after): read over and decide what it is about (might be hidden until now)
  • 2nd draft: make the theme even more clear

Revision

2nd draft = 1st draft – 10% (word count)

On Writing by Stephen King: Note to Self (1/2)

I’ve wrote about what I learn from On Writing by Stephen King about being a writer. Here I begin to take notes from the part of the book on writing skills.

On Vocabulary

Use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful.

  • No need to be ashamed to use short and precise words
  • Don’t force unfamiliar “big words” into your writing
  • Use the first word that jumps into your mind

Avoid Passive Tense

  • Why? It’s weaker, harder to read, less clear.
  • Why? It’s the voice of a timid, fearful writer.
  • When? If using a subject brings up passive tense, try switching the subject.
    Example: "The body was hidden." vs. "The killer hid the body."

Adverb Is Not Your Friend

  • Why? Avoiding it will lead to a better expression. Example: “He closed the door firmly” vs. “He slammed the door.”
  • Why? It’s lazy and uncreative.
  • Why? Adverbs are weeds among good writing.
  • Where? In dialogue attribution:
    • If you write in active verbs, the readers should already follow the speakers’ emotions without adverbs. Adverbs only weaken the writing.
    • It’s best to use “said”, also 1 of the Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. And avoid over using attribution verb, like he “gasped”.
    • “…” he said, with a flush. This is an adverb phrase–a taller weed.

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen KingA friend recommended On Writing by Stephen King after I shared my challenge with plotting out the rest of my first book. Though I never read any of his books, I know he must be pretty good to keep his readers asking for more.

He shared two things that surprised me the most.

He is a slow reader

Since English is not my first language, I’ve always thought being a slow reader is one of the main reason why I may not ever be a good writer. I guess he just kicked the crutch I’ve been using to drag myself down.

He reads for the fun

Almost all the writing books tell me to “study” other books for the plot structures or the writing techniques. Something I could never do. If the book is good, I just want to read it, If the book is uninteresting, I’d stop to save myself time for work or another book. It’s good to know Stephen King, a great writer, reads for fun, too.

Some reviewers of this book did not like that Stephen spent good part of the book on his life journey to be the writer he is today, instead of going straight into the how-to-write part. I thought it is good to remind people to look further back than his successful career.

Hyphen Needed?

Other than a word being forced apart by the right margin, I have no idea when to put a hyphen between words. Thanks to Woe is I by Patricia T. O’Conner, I now know the rules.

  • Use hyphen before the noun:
    – Gail is the blond-haired gal
  • No hyphen after the noun:
    – Gail is blond haired.
  • Alway hyphen:
    self-, quasi-
  • No hyphen:
    – Make sense before a noun even when each is used on its own.
    – Marty is a happy healthy boy.

That vs. Which

Woe is I (3rd Edition) by Patricia T. O’ConnerBorrowed Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English (3rd Edition) by Patricia T. O’Conner from the library to see if I should get a copy for myself. Not five pages into the book, she solved one of the big mysteries in English for me.

Even for native English speakers, the choice between using that and which is often made by the “that sounds right” guideline. I’m all for using one’s instinct but when I put my pen to paper, that method doesn’t work.

According to Pat, this is how you know:

  • Use THAT when the clause carries the point of the sentence, otherwise use WHICH
  • “…[comma] THAT blah blah blah.”
    “…[comma] WHICH blah blah blah, …”