- The Question of the Felonious Friend (An Asperger’s Mystery 3) by E. J. Copperman and Jeff Cohen
[ With his Mom’s encouragement, Samuel turns his Asperger’s personality into a business of answering questions. Like The Rosie Project, I can see some of myself in him. I appriciate learning about Asperger’s while experience Samuel’s “research” process. Going to start from book 1. ]
- The Darkness Knows (Viv and Charlie Mystery) by Cheryl Honigford
[ Set during the golden era of radio, 1938, Chicago. A murder at a radio station. I suspected the murderer early on but did not know the motive, that means I had to read to the end, good trick! ]
- Crosstalk by Connie Willis
[ At first it read like too much “texting” but as I read on, I saw the effect was intentional and carried a lot of hints. I did skip many places near the end, didn’t need the repeated info. Love how Willis is able to fuse the mystic with technology in the plot. Her last books were about WWII and time travel, loved it! ]
- Lady Cop Makes Trouble (Kopp Sisters Series 2) by Amy Stewart
[ Now Constance Amelie Kopps works as a police person, the story tells the struggle of breaking into the male only career. Miss Kopps still manages to solve the case! ]
- Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d: A Flavia de Luce Novel (Book 8) by Alan Bradley
[ Flavia came home from Canada, learned that her father was in the hospital. She began to ventur out to London and we also continue to see her grow with age and events in her life. ]
- Nemesis by Catherine Coulter
[ Her 19th FBI thriller, my first of hers. Love the relationship between all characters. This one invovles two cases the main FBI married couple has to work on their own, though they helped each other as well. Might try another one of her books. ]
- Deep Dark (Tracers Series 10) by Laura Griffin
[ This murder mystery invovles the police, white and black head hackers. The romantic relationship plays a major role. Good choice for a romance reader who also wants read a serious mystery. ]
- Girl Waits with Gun (Kopp Sisters Series 1) by Amy Stewart
[ A historic fiction, centered on Constance Amelie Kopp, a real person, who with a sherif’s help fought the local silk company boss. ]
- The First Time: A Time Travel Romance (The Sunflower Series 1) by Bernadette Pajer #1 Pick!
[ Amazing flawless time travel romance! I couldn’t put it down, read my review. ]
- Cinderella Six Feet Under (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery 2) by Maia Chance
[ This was as fun to read as 1 and 3. Along the way, you grow to know the charaters and develop feelings about them as you would a real person. ]
- Snow White Red-Handed (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery 1) by Maia Chance
[ I read the 3rd book first, found this one just as fun, it kept me guessing. It’s interesting to see how Maia weaved the Snow White story into the mystery. ]
- Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery 3) by Maia Chance
[ Picked this up from the “interesting read” section at the libaray and it was interesting. Though I haven’t read the first 2 books, the story still works. An important element is based on a fairy tale abut it’s a mystery not a fantasy. Fast paced, no boring parts, good read. ]
- The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo
[ I’m usually not one for general fiction but the fast paced and interesting details brought me along to the end. ]
- The Forgotten Soldier (Pike Logan Thriller) by Brad Taylor
- Gasa-Gasa Girl (Book 2 of Mas Arai Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
- Summer of the Big Bachi (Book 1 of Mas Arai Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
- Snakeskin Shamisen (Book 3 of Mas Arai Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
[ Hirahara is amazing, the hero in her story can be 20 something like Ellie Rush or a 70 something gardener, Mas Arai. I enjoyed the mystery while learning some history about Okinawa. ]
- Seven Threadly Sins (A Threadville Mystery) by Janet Bolin
[ I think my taste may have changed. Though the story moves in a good pace, I wanted something different, something with more dimensions. Naomi Hirahara might have spoiled cozy mystery for me… ]
- Grave on Grand Avenue (Book 2 of Officer Ellie Rush Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
[ Though Ellie is 20 something, I did not feel like an old lady when I read this. Hirahara did a great job writing as a young person and still keep older people on track. ]
- Murder on Bamboo Lane (Book 1 of Officer Ellie Rush Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
[ My first book from her. Love the fast pace progress, Asian immurgrant culture/conflicts, interesting plot. ]
- The Plague of Thieves Affair (Book 4 of Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery) by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
[ The wife and husband team of mystery writers have done it again. The reason I love reading Marcia Muller is because her series don’t turn boring. This time the detectives work their own cases. I did solve the simplist one quickly but enjoyed the crime solving process all the same. ]
- Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott
[ Mainstream book is usually not my thing but Super Librarian Nancy Pearl suggested it, so I read it. Harriet’s own narrative was the most intriguing and the thread of the book. It calls on you to look beyond your own percecptions of people in your life. There are always more behind the other person, why each one turned out and acted in certain ways. ]
- The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet
[ Once again the English in this fantasy is a hard to understand for me (English is my 2nd language.) So though many said this was a funny book, my struggle only allowed me to enjoy the darker side of the plot. I do like the surprising turns of events and how he uses words (when I can understand them) ]
- City of Stairs (The Divine Cities) by Robert Jackson Bennett
[ Recommended by Super Librarian Nancy Pearl. I usually don’t like fantasy but this one focuses more on human mind and spirituality. Choose to read deeper into it like the main character Shara would looking closer at the reality-miracle confused city. ]
After a 3-month interruption, I am back on the KonMari Clean horse. Here are some updates and document cleanup tips.
Living with less
With less clothes, I noticed changes in behavior:
- Live with alternatives instead of buying more (living with less is my new default mode)
- Donated more items I kept during the clothing cleanup (became even more conscious of the “sparks” of my things)
- Buy only what I needed (better able to resist the lure of a sale)
I have never been so thankful for the digital age. Though being an “old school” writer, I’ll never be without pen and paper, I love that I don’t have to keep a hardcopy of everything.
Remember to shred your old drafts, just to be safe.
Sorting documents, what to keep?
Most of what I had were old statements and were almost all shredded after I read through these articles.
Shred your documents
Since I can recycle shredded paper with residential garbage collection and I have a cross-cut shredder (strip-cut is not as secured), I decided to shred as I sort. I tried to mix different types of documents when I shred, cautious or paranoid? Could be both, ha ha!
If you don’t have a shredder or you have a lot of confidential documents, look for free document shredding events in your area.
Learn the recycling rules
- Can you recycle shredded paper?
- How do they want it? Our collector asks us to put shredded paper into clear plastic bags. (I saved the dry cleaning protective covers from the “clothes on hanger” phase, tied the hanger ends and used it for hold the sheredded paper.)
- Can photo paper be recycled with regular paper? In our area, you can recycle photos but only if they are shredded.
After I finished sorting through my clothes the KonMari way, I tried folding and storing her way and my way. In deed, her way is better because her way:
- Ends up with a cleaner presentation (not showing folds and sort by colors are part of cutting down visual noise)
- Keeps the spots for items removed (if you fold it right, it should stand on its own, which means when you take one item out, its place remains opened for restoring.)
How to fold the KonMari way
This video is in Japanese, but it’s by far the most instructional one I’ve found. Below, I’ve listed the important points in the video: (hopfully my translation is not too far off)
- Smooth out your clothes, infuse your love and gratitude into the item.
- First fold in half but keep the end unlayered, then fold in third so it’d stand up on its own.
- When folding long sleeves, distritube the thickness before folding.
- Note: in other videos, she mentioned that if it’s smaller you don’t have to fold it exactly the same way but never ball up your socks!
It looks like I am 3 books short from last years record of 24. As a reader and a writer, I can only aspire to be at Stephen King’s productivity level.
Here is the list of books I’ve read all the way through and it includes some I read, more like studied, for work. Books I gave up reading are not listed.
- The Insider Threat (Pike Logan Thriller) by Brad Taylor
[ This is the 8th Pike Logan novel yet I am still amazed at how Brad manages to take things from many different directions and tide everything up without missing any details. ]
- You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter by Dr. Joe Dispenza
[ I’ve always believed that mind over matters, Dr. Dispenza not only presents scientific evidences, he also offered an user friendly way to make your mind work for you instead letting your aimless mind live your life. POINT: brain-emotion-physical connection. Non-fiction. Recommand! ]
- The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne
[ The main character, Melissa, opened her own personal “adviser/shopper” business as Honey and helped many clueless male clients. I loved her business ideas and struggles between being Mel and Honey. Fast pace, twist, and funny. Observation: this English author writes almost like an American. ]
- The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
[ Fun to read an Australian novel, different wording but closer to US English than British English. Love the tension and suspense in waiting to see what the characters might do though not the usual material I’m interested in, marriage, old-relationship, motherhood, etc. ]
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (人生がときめく片づけの魔法) by Marie Kondo (近藤麻理恵)
[ It CHANGED my life as promised. I felt better on the 2nd day of cleaning my cloth out (read KonMari related posts.) In her Japanese videos, she said to just try it even if you don’t believe it. I didn’t need to, it made perfect since to me. I have so much stuff, I’m only up to the document category after 1.5 months into it, but I know I have to do it right so I will never have to do it again. ]
- Lair of Dreams: A Diviners Novel (2) by Libba Bray
[ It’s a thick book but Libba didn’t let the middle fall flat. I love how she strings words together like an artist with beads. I do recommend reading the two books together. I waited so long for the 2nd book I forgot most of the 1st one. ]
- The Agency 4: Rivals in the City by Y.S. Lee
[ If you are new to The Agency Series, read The Agency 3 review. Lee writes great characters, even though I had guessed the plot, I still wanted to know how each person would react as the story progress. And I love how she weaved history, race issues, and mystery together. ]
- The Intern’s Handbook: A John Lago Thriller (1) by Shane Kuhn
[ John Lago is an trained assassin who found himself as he finishes his last assignment. Lots of twists in the book, good use of words. Found it a bit screenplay-ish which does works in this novel. ]
- A Discovery of Witches: All Souls Trilogy (1) by Deborah Harkness
[ Interesting concept of uniting witches, vampires, and demons, like nations on Earth should. However, I wasn’t interest in parts of book about wines and European/religious history, took much effort to finish this thick book. ]
- Survive the Unthinkable: A Total Guide to Women’s Self-Protection by Tim Larkin
[ Read as part of my research, found his Target Focus Training makes most sense among other women self defense books. He asks you to become more aware in the first place and for women to take the power back from their attackers. ]
- Edison Effect: A Professor Bradshaw Mystery (4) by Bernadette Pajer
[ Wow, this is the best Bradshaw case yet, Professor grew into a modern man and I didn’t guess the actual murderer. ]
- Capacity for Murder: A Professor Bradshaw Mystery (3) by Bernadette Pajer
[ Bernadette is getting better and better, the relationships between people are getting deeper and the plot is even more interesting than the the first two books. ]
- Fatal Induction: A Professor Bradshaw Mystery (2) by Bernadette Pajer
[ Perfect series for engineers who want to read for clean fun, I had guessed the ending early for the first book (A Spark of Death). This one is more complex and has more interesting science and history. ]
- The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley
[ Flavia left home for the first time, she has to survive in the all girls boarding school and solve a mystery at the same time. All the while, she realizes she misses her sister and how she turns out to be much like her mother who she never really knew. ]
- I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella.
[ Best romance novel I’ve read so far (No sappy romance for me, thx!). It’s funny and it has depth. As we discover the characters, we also discover the plot. The story runs on constant warp speed so I’ll need to read a few other books until I can read another one of her books. ]
- The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine.
[ A perfect book for people who love their sisters. A reminder of how we help each other survive. (read my review) ]
- The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman Book 2) by Graeme Simsion
[ Though the 2nd “Rosie” book didn’t hit me as hard, it’s fun to see the struggles in a relationship during a pregnancy. To me, though Don has issues with reading emotions, I think all expected mothers will encounter as many problems as Rosie. And it seems if people can be honest with each other without taking it personally, everything might work out sooner and easier. ]
- The Rosie Project (Don Tillman Book 1) by Graeme Simsion (Must Read)
[ The best self-help book I’ve ever read and its a ROM-COM fiction! I see so much of myself in Don, I am applying what he learned in my own life. Read my reactions in 3 parts. ]
- No Fortunate Son (Pike Logan Thriller) by Brad Taylor
[ Brad as skillful as before, begins the story with multiple threads, with actors in each thread serving for their own interest (as they logically should), created hit and miss for the heros Pike and Jennifer. ]
- Son (4 of 4 in The Giver Quartet) by Lois Lowry
[ Written a while back but still reflects the negative side of human nature that is still true today. The conclusion offers one way to see the evil, also a way to resolve it. ]
- The Body Snatchers Affair (Book 3 of Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery) by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
[ The wife and husband team of mystery writers are at work again. Of the two cases, I managed to solve the first one pretty early on. The thread though out this series is the relationship between the two detectives. Being written by a real life couple, the ups and downs between them ring true. ]
Folex took the top spot because unlike Naturally It’s Clean Carpet Cleaner, it leave no oder and no color residue.
Folex is cheaper, too. As of today, the best price I saw so far is from Bed Bath & Beyond with their readly availble 20% off coupon. 2nd best place to look is your local independent hardware store (where I first discovered it). And when all else failed, there is always Amazon.
Both Folex and Naturally It’s Clean are made in USA and I believe they only clean, don’t disinfect.
On my first read of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I realized my design career no longer sparked joy. And for the first time in many years, I stopped blaming clients for not letting me go because I was actually the one who couldn’t let go.
Little did I know, this revelation even helped me clean out my books, too.
Declutter, make money, donate
- Check the trade-in values on Amazon.com
- Sell to local secondhand bookstores
- Donate to your local library (in our area, most branches sales book to raise funds)
- Recycle (hardcover books might not be accepted for residential pickups, check with your garbage company)
Combining the sales to Amazon traid-in and secondhand bookstores, I made almost $100. That is more joy for the rest of the KonMari process.
General (books for fun)
- Kept 0. Lucky for me, our library almost always has what I am looking for and more.
Practical (reference, cookbooks)
- Kept 2 for writing novels
- 2 dictionaries (Japanese, English idioms)
- 3 Adobe CS books (running an old version, so best to keep on hands)
- 1 Mac OS book (can’t search for answers if the Mac dies)
- 4 Computer language books (still running WordPress sites)
- A box of reference books for my next book/series, not in English, items not easily found here
- 1 baking book
Visual (photographic, art)
- Kept 0
Design related books
- Since I finally decided to end my design career for good, I was able to let most of them go. It felt like I am telling myself and the Universe that I’ve declared my intention to move away from design and focus on writing
- Kept only what I love the most, patterns, graphics from old catalogs and products.
- Paper swatches and print samples. Be sure to remove metal bindings before recycling the paper. The metal binding might contain unknown combination of metals that can not be reversed into pure forms again.
I only had ones for graphic/web design, so I didn’t keep any but these are what I’ve tried.
- Sold on ebay before, expensive to ship because of the low price point. And it’s a lot of work to package them. Unless you do this for a living, it’s not worth the effort.
- Local secondhand bookstores didn’t want them
- Recycling them turned out to be the only option
All my books fit into one single shelf with space left over.
This may be a long term project
Before I go into tidying up my books KonMari style, I feel it’s important to say that this is turning out to be a long term project. After all:
- It took years to accumulate all that I have.
- Doing what I can to throw as little as possible into the trash (i.e. recycle/reuse whenever I can) takes up good amount of time to search and organize.
- Demands from family and work often interfere with your cleanup plan.
Expect life’s interruptions
After I finished cleaning out my clothes, I discovered that my city was doing free electronic recycling and paper shredding that weekend. Since this only happens once or twice a year, I broke Marie‘s rule and skip ahead to documents and electronics that I’ve already set aside.
More space on my desk, more space to create
The paper I had shreaded are old drafts of my past and current work. I called my writer’s association and learned that I don’t need to keep every scrape of notes and drafts as I was told years ago. All I need to do is keep electronic versions of my books. If you want to be extra careful, print a hard copy of the latest in case your hard drive died.
Now have more space on my desk to work through the book category.
Don’t have many pictures here, the rest of the clothes subcategories are mostly small items too numerous to record. It was getting in the way of the KonMari cleaning process.
- donated all sports socks (worn only a few times)
- donated new stockings that I removed the packaging to save room
- downgraded old underware for carpet spot cleaning
- everything in this subcategory fit in one box, placed with the unmarked side out. Marie said any text or decoration on the box would add visual noise. Try it, it’s true.
- donated all trinket jewelries. Though they are still cute, I don’t wear them anymore.
- gave away most hair accessories, only kept the claw clips that I always use
Clothes for events
- own 1 dress, I chose it because it would work for all events. If you care about having the same dress in all different event photos, then I don’t recommand it.
- donated all pumps excpet for one black pair that my feet love
- Kept 5 paris of sandals, so I have a least a pair for my flat feet when I send the others out to be resoled. All the “inactive” sandels are packed into one box. To avoid seeing text (visual noise), I placed the label/item list under the box.
- I’ve been living with 1 pair of running shoes (my everyday shoes) for a long time and have no need to get other kind of shoes
- kept two sets of beddings (need to clear these out so I can put things back into my closet) for rotation
Use what you have, keep what you’ve earned
As I’m posting this a month after the clothes cleanup, I have more tops and socks to go to the donation. When I was sorting, I thought I needed them but as I live with my “renewed collection” of clothing, I find myself finding ways to use what I already own and often there is no need to buy more.
What do you do with all the clothes you don’t want to keep? Go through this in order so you can get the most of the your old things.
- Bring your best items to a local/church thrift shop first. If possible pick one that is all volunteers so all the money would go to the needy.
- For the not-so-good items (i.e. just good enough to go out in), go to places like Good Will or Value Village
- For cloth with holes and damages, recycle them. Check with your own garbage company if they recycle cloth.
- Look for a local recycle company that accepts textiles
- When all else fails Good Will seems to take cloth in any condition.
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.
Other 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.
- 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.