It is late on the third day of the new year, long past tipsy midnight kisses and the initial fortitude of resolutions. Day three; this is where the rubber meets the road.
Three-hundred-and-sixty some-odd days ago, I made my plan for 2015. And I mostly kept it; mostly. Even with a few ups and downs.
Now that year has itself been put to bed, left to linger in memory only. Time for fresh starts and new beginnings.
I toyed with making a real list of resolutions this year, a get-shit-done kind of list because that’s the frame of mind I’m in. Get the prints finished, the show hung. Get back on a damn dinner plan. Get on with what needs getting on – at home, at work, everywhere. Start now. Do it. That’s what I was thinking; but this year I have selected a different way.
A couple of months ago, on the night when I was in the opposite of a hurry, I wandered through Anthropologie, a store of which I am very fond and which, fortunately, is not anywhere near our house. It is a happy, inspiring place to me, even though I rarely ever make an actual purchase there.
On this particular night, however, I acquired two books: the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto’s 642 Things to Write About, and Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I dove straight into the first, which has proven to be a tool beyond measure. What the WordPress daily writing prompts lack, at least for me, 642 Things delivers. I can flip through, open to any page, and knock loose the words.
I approached the second book with a combination of enthusiasm and trepidation, reminded of the friend who years ago introduced me to Michael Pollan’s books by saying I should read them, but that I should wait until I felt fully prepared to make the changes I would want to make once I cracked the cover. I had a feeling that Kondo’s book, of which I’d read many reviews, would be the same. I was correct.
The idea behind the KonMari approach, in case you haven’t crossed its path yet, is different from other organizing and life management systems. For example, one undertakes this work by category, not by room. The suggested starting place is clothes – not one closet, but the entirety of one’s wearable possessions. Place them all on the floor (or bed) in one pile and then go through them item by item, holding each one and deciding whether or not the item sparks a feeling of joy. If not, then the item is given a proper farewell (“thank you, blue shirt, for going so well with my tan pants that now don’t fit”) and placed in the discard pile.
I skimmed the book over Thanksgiving weekend and decided to re-read, in earnest, after Christmas. As I am chronically disorganized, swimming in a house full of crap and always in search of a magic solution, I figured: what the hell.
So I read the book, and I made a plan to start the new year with joy, in the present, just as Kondo suggests, by tackling my clothes, kitchen linens, bed linens and books. I made it through the first one, clothes. It took nine and a half hours; I had my daughter’s help for the last four. It was a remarkable experience – exhausting, freeing, uncomfortable, renewing. I suspect it will be weeks before I am sufficiently prepared to do it again, this time with bed linens (kitchen linens have too much history in them).
It’s early to deliver a verdict, I know. But I must say that when I looked in my closet this morning, the closet where all my clothes now fit neatly, where every single item (yes, including the purple lingerie) sparks a happy feeling, I swear this thought popped spontaneously into my mind:
There is no someday; there is today.