I am not sure that the KonMari method of decluttering is perfect for me. In some ways, I think Marie Kondo is a bit too extreme. Still, there are some valid points in her work. For instance, last week I did the clothing decluttering exercise.
I took every single article of clothing I own and piled it into a big pile in my living room. I then went piece by piece and only kept those things that either made me feel good (what she calls “sparking joy”) or were things that I wear all the time and comfortable. I ended up with three large bags of clothing to donate and truly cleaned up my closets and dresser drawers.
Marie Kondo suggests going on to books next, but I just could not face that task today. So instead, I skipped ahead to paper. Who knew that something as seemingly simple as sorting papers could become such an emotional and dramatic experience?
During this quarantine, I have already done a great deal of cleaning and decluttering, but I realized that most of it was big things – furniture, kitchen appliances, my cookbook collection. Things that are highly-visible and impact me on a daily basis in a tangible way.
Today, I dug into filing cabinets, drawers, boxes and various miscellaneous spots scattered around my apartment. I took every piece of loose paper I could find, including files full of papers, and brought them all into my living room. I piled it all up and sat there, surrounded by piles of documents. I went through every piece of paper and sorted into my own version of KonMari piles:
- Throw Away
I also created a fourth pile which, for lack of a better term, I will call “WTF?”
The box of papers to shred is heavy, and today I ordered a shredder from Amazon. I have needed one for months since mine died, but I was saving things up to shred them at work – well prior to the pandemic. Now, not having easy access to the shredder in my building at work, I decided to just suck it up and buy a good one. It will be nice (and cathartic) to shred some of the stuff I threw into that box.
The pile to throw away was small – mostly ratty file folders and things too bulky to shred. Not much drama there.
The pile to keep – well, that has been a journey today. Until I dug deeply into piles of hanging file folders that I had put into a tote a long time ago I did not realize how much I had kept from certain parts of my life that are best forgotten. I had so many emotions today as I touched documents I haven’t seen in nearly twenty years. I must admit, I cried a little – mostly out of frustration and old anger rather than any sense of nostalgia. I was a bit angry at myself for (1) keeping some of this stuff and (2) for ever allowing myself to be in the relationship that generated the paper in the first place.
Ah, well. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.
The pile that now looms large in my mind, however, is the pile I call “WTF?” These are things that I look at and think either “What the hell is this and how did I get it?” Or I think “Dear Lord, why in the pluperfect hell did I keep that?” I sit here now, typing this and staring at part of that pile. I will either throw away or shred most of it, I feel certain, but first I have to grieve a bit and spend some time forgiving myself for some truly f’d up life choices in my past.
Quarantine has made me dig deeply into the dark corners of my mind, and today I am unearthing some old, old crap that I know needs to get aired out and released – but boy, howdy, this is not fun. Isolation is good for this process, though, because I can cry or laugh or shout out loud or curse or whatever – and not worry about what anyone else thinks.
So today, as I trudge through another day of sparkling isolation, I am not alone – my memories are vivid and real today and it feels like I am in a room full of ghosts. I suppose that makes today’s quarantine kind of creepy.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.