To Be KonMari Clean (Interruptions)

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.

To Be KonMari Clean (Smaller Clothing Items)

socks to donate after konmar cleanupDon’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.

Socks/Underwears

Bags/Accessories

  • socks to keep after konmar cleanupeverything 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.

Shoes

  • 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

Other

  • 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.

Holey Clothes Are Still Holy

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.

Donate

  • 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

Recycle

Folex Carpet Spot Remover

  • 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.

Reuse

I just don’t have the hear to make other people sort through my old unmentionables, so I saved them to use with Folex, my favorite non-toxic carpet spot cleaner.

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.

Better, Safer Than The Electric Blanket

Forget about electric blanket, stay cold or worry about electric fire, you are sleepless either way. Go with a water heating blanket!

My father never liked electric blanket, why?

  • You can’t sleep on it
  • Hard to keep it clean (Though it says it’s washable, he worries the electrical might be damaged. And it may be safe but the worry keeps him from sleeping.)
  • Direct heat is uncomfortable
  • The EMF, electromagnetic field, should be avoided (This is from me, there are already enough signals bombarding our bodies, we don’t need to wrap ourselves in it every night.)

Aqua Bed Warmer non-electric blanket (heated by water)He was sleeping on a small water heating pad from Asia but it broke down right when the weather turned cold. The option of going back to an electric blanket troubled him.

Not believing that we won’t have something similar in the States, I went searching. And then I found it.

Aqua Bed Warmer Non-electric Heater Blanket by Aqua Bed Warmer. This one also heats by water only better. As of today, he has been sleeping on it for almost a month.

He loves it!

heat_blanket_water_boxIn the first days, he kept saying how lucky he was to get something ever better in the States.

  • It fits on top the mattress and under the bed sheet (Full length means even the feet stay warm)
  • No safety concern (at worst you just get wet)
  • Can keep it on all night
  • Precise temperature control (he likes around 98 F)
  • Gentler heat
  • A quiet heating unit
  • 100% cotton pad cover
  • Very well made
  • No EMF (because it’s water, not wires inside the blanket)

Great Customer Service

Aqua Bed Warmer is one of the brands under Firstech based in the Washington State with its R&D in Alaska.

So I called to ask for more details like the warrenty and return/repair. The person answered the phone didn’t know I was talking about the heating blanket. Most people call about products for their other brands. I took it as a good sign that not a lot of people have issues with it.

He didn’t have much data to go on but told me his uncle has been sleeping on one for a while and he never heard any complaints about it. He didn’t tried to convinced me, just trying to give me as many details as he personally knew.

He said if we got it via Amazon we can return it with in 30 days.

Through out the call, he was very patient, friendly, and funny. I felt it was safe to buy from this company.

Special Notes

Aqua Bed Warmer water heated dual zone blanket

  • It runs from $250 to $450, expensive compared to electric blankets. But to my dad not sleeping well (leads to sickness) is even more expensive in the long run.
  • When my mom put her hand on it she said it didn’t feel hot but when my father lay on it, he can feel it getting warmer.
  • And when we got it, the company gives out a 2-year warranty if we registered the product online.
  • Be sure to measure your mattress so you how will it might fit.
  • The now have the Aqua Bed Warmer dual-zone option for people share a bed.

Answered The Phone but No One’s on The Other End?

My question is finally answered today by an All Tech Considered report on NPR.

  • The bad guys are using robocalls to check if your phone number is active.
  • Once that’s confirmed their computer calls you again, trying to get your personal info to get into your pockets.

The banks are using Pindrop Security to filter out fraudsters but there isn’t much there for us consumers.

What can we do?

  • Just Hang Up
  • Do not talk, do not press any number!
    I once did that by mistake and the call kept coming for many hours.
  • And only call numbers on your debit/credit cards and statements.

Also read my post on unsolicited robocalls.

Please be sure to play the clip especially for the older, less “connected” people.

Parissa Wax Strips, Hair Removal for Wimps

I’m one of those who never shave their legs unless I have to. I much rather be hairy then going through the pain, expenses, and time of hair removal. With an very important formal function coming up, I needed to look for options.

Parissa Wax Strips, Legs and BodyShaving was not acceptable, I’ve touched ladies with leg stubbles, NOT AN OPTION! I also had used the drugstore brand hair softening cream, chemicals, also NOT AN OPTION. And that left me with waxing.

A visit to my local natural food store which has a very strict standard when choosing what they sell yielled the Parissa brand. Parissa products are non-toxic, parabens/preservatives free, all natural, and not tested on animal. The ones I got (summer, 2015) was made in Spain.

While I researched for the pain level, I only found one video that said it hurt. Eventually, I found this video by Effortless Ruth that convinced me to get it. I think the person who said it hurt might not have followed the instructions well.

I read the instructions, watched Ruth’s and Parissa’s video, then in less than 5 minutes I have hairless legs! No Pain, no mess. I’ll never dread waxing my legs again!

Be A Better Writer by Reading Less?

Okay, I really mean reading less of what you don’t like.

Halfway through a thick dystopian novel I thought…

Why am I wasting my life? It is not a textbook for a class I’ve paid for. I won’t flunk life or even novel writing if I just stop.

But I’m half way through, the effort of reading those pages will go to waste.

Wrong, SELF, it has already cost a part of your life, finishing it will just cost your more. Forget it and move on.

I am not sure. It feels like giving up.

No, it’s called getting better with time management. Don’t you want to top your 2014 reading record in hope of catching up with Stephen King (70-80/yr)?

I do.

So, I returned the epic dystopian the next day.

Dear fellow writers,

Life is too short and many intriguing books await. If you promise never forcing yourself to finish a drag of a fiction. I promise I will stay away from thick dystopian books.

Better yet, I also promise to never try to finish another book just because I read the first 25 pages.

p.s. There’s nothing wrong with dystopian tales, it’s just not for me.