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.
Writers, don’t live in the piles of your drafts! According to Pam Binder of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, you only need keep digital drafts and perhaps a hardcopy of the latest version.
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.
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
I found out many of my design/art books are worth pretty good money. So before you throw your books out, do the following:
- 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)
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.
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.
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.