The KonMari Step We All Skip (And Why It’s So Important)

the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up

As everyone knows, the first step in the KonMari process is clothes. Dive in and tidy any shirts, pants, and other apparel that doesn’t spark joy, thanking them for what they have provided you before moving on to books, right?

Wrong.

In “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo says:

Before you start getting rid of things, take the time to…visualiz[e] the ideal lifestyle you dream of….Think in concrete terms that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.

This was the main reason I have had trouble decluttering my wardrobe (if you’re a regular reader, you know this is a constant battle for me ), as I wrote about in “Find Your Wardrobe, Find Yourself.”  For me, not picturing (and being honest about) my ideal lifestyle didn’t effect tidying books, kimono, or even memorabilia, but showed in the large and completely incohesive closet (and dresser, and coat closet, and shoe racks (multiple).

However, this doesn’t just apply to clothes. Not clearly seeing whether you would like to start holding formal dinner parties could lead to unnecessarily holding onto fine china, not to mention the cabinet to keep it in. Not being honest about whether you’re really going to take up skiing could lead to boots, poles, and skis gathering dust in the basement.

So do not skip this step. Visualize the lifestyle you want to work towards (avoiding the Fantasy Self trap that is easy to fall into with the KonMari method), get as specific as you absolutely can (I literally planned what a weekday and weekend would look like from waking up to bedtime), and write it down.

And then? Knowing what sparks joy and needs to remain in your life to reach your goals becomes a breeze.

Hugs from Hobbiton,

Veronica

What I Learned from Another Failed Project 333

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. – Henry Ford.

Back in early April, Courtney Carver of “Be More with Less” sent out another Project 333 challenge (You can read up on the challenge and its rules here.) Although I had attempted Project 333 a few times before and always given up after two or three weeks, I  decided to give it yet another go.

So, two months later, I have finally quit. Except not really. This time I stuck with the challenge long enough to learn some very good lessons about how many clothes I really need, what I need in a wardrobe (hint: Not real pants), and what I really wear on a daily basis.

In early April, this is the 33 items I pared my wardrobe down to:

IMG_0874

Thanks to a never-ending winter, I had to include everything from a down parka and mittens to tank tops and a pair of shorts to accommodate temperatures from 10F to 80F and everything in between. It actually ended up being a Project 323 because I never wore that white button-down shirt.

So two months later, this is what I’ve learned:

  • hate black clothing. On myself, that is. I love it on other people but don’t feel right or comfortable in it at all. My go-to neutrals are white and gray.
  • I don’t need fancy clothes. Or even business casual clothes. Or real pants. I wore the khakis and nicer shirts to the myriad doctor appointments I had just to make myself feel more adult, but it was totally unnecessary. I would have done better to switch those out for more t-shirts and another pair of shorts.
  • finally learned how to pull together a cohesive wardrobe that goes together.
  • I do like having about 33 items in my closet to choose from.
  • I also like putting away non-seasonal items and getting them out of my closet.

So, like I said, I quit the challenge, but have just re-done my closet with a different 33 item capsule wardrobe with the following rule changes to make Project 333 work better for me:

  • I will be changing the capsule wardrobe when the weather changes. Having one pair of shorts to wear while my parka was still taking up space once the summer arrived drove me batty.
  • I will not be counting my Converse collection towards the total. (Yes, I have a problem. No, I don’t plan on seeking help for it.)
  • I will also not be counting jewelry. I almost never wear any in the first place, but I want to be able to accessorize on the rare occasion I do wear it.

So here’s my summer capsule wardrobe that I’ll keep until it cools off in the fall:

IMG_1097.JPG

Admittedly, with these new rules the challenge is a lot easier, but it’s also much more workable for me and my situation. I’ll provide an update either if something changes or when I switch to my fall wardrobe.

And the Converse collection? Here she is, with another pair currently shipped and on their way.

99455F88-B546-4BEE-A4B9-78AA42952976.JPG

Hugs from Hobbiton,

Veronica

Gifts for Minimalists

It can be difficult to find a gift for someone who is trying to declutter and reduce the number of their possessions. What do you give someone who doesn’t want “things?”

Here’s some ideas:

  1. Subscription Boxes – There are now subscription box services for nearly every interest. I would recommend one that comes with perishable items that must be used such as YumBox, which sends a box of snacks from a different country each month.
  2. Food Box Service – On a similar note, a meal subscription service such as Blue Apron may be much appreciated for busy people.
  3. Dinner Out – Either taking them out for a meal to catch up and enjoy each other’s company or a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant.
  4. Babysitting Services – For those who have children, a homemade “gift certificate” for a night of babysitting will be much appreciated.
  5. Other Services – Know someone who hates to mow their lawn? Hire a yard service for them or show up with your lawnmower every couple weeks. Housekeeping, handyman work, and other services are other ideas.
  6. Tickets – A gift card to the local cinema for a movie night or tickets to a show they want to see or museum they’ve been wanting to check out.
  7. Discarded Item Disposal – If they are in the middle of decluttering (especially an “all-at-once” KonMari-type of decluttering), offer to take away their discarded items for them. As discussed in my article a couple weeks ago, this can be one of the most difficult parts of tidying. Offer to make that dump run, drop-off trip to the thrift and/or consignment store, or even put items of value up on eBay or Craigslist for them.

I’d love to hear other ideas that you may have, so please comment below!

Hugs from Hobbiton,

Veronica

Decluttering Your Fantasy Self

I know I’m a bit late to the party, but wanted to write about decluttering ones fantasy self. (Yes, everyone did this in October. I call it being fashionably late.)

Credit goes to The Messy Minimalist, whose video was the first on the subject that I saw. I’ve linked it along with a couple other good ones on the topic below. (These are all excellent channels, by the way, so definitely give them a follow!)

So what is your “fantasy self?” This is the self that you attain to be but just realistically isn’t you. For example, part of Fantasy Hobbit is that she mails out handwritten notes sealed with a sticker or hand-stamped ink on the back of the envelope. Note: I have sent maybe two of these in my life. Both to my Abuela Julia.

The tricky thing about fantasy selves is that the related items usually pass the “Spark Joy” test of the KonMari method, so if this is what you used to declutter, you probably still have a lot of unnecessary and unused belongings laying around.

These items can be difficult to let go because it can also feeling like letting go of a dream. However, I believe a healthier and more positive way to look at it is as a step towards accepting and loving your true self.

Here’s what I decluttered and more importantly, what fantasy aspects of myself I let go of:

IMG_0154

Fantasy Hobbit wears an apron when she cooks and cleans to avoid ruining yet another shirt. Nope. She also takes vitamins every day. The expiration dates on these would say negative on that one as well.

IMG_0166

Fantasy Hobbit gifts beautifully wrapped presents to those she loves. Nope. Online shopping with gift wrap options is where it’s at for me, folks. As mentioned earlier, she also sends out letters and cards to keep in touch in a more personal way. NOPE.

IMG_0209

More stationary, and finally, Fantasy Hobbit is a huge comic book and graphic novel fan. I may be a bad geek for this, but I’ve tried and tried and just can’t geek that way.

Here are the videos I mentioned earlier. I highly recommend watching them if you’re having trouble letting your fantasy self go. So, what are YOU holding on to?

 

 

 

No Sidebar E-Mail Program Review

Good afternoon all!

I thought I’d provide a review of No Sidebar‘s 30-day e-mail course.

Overview: Every day you receive an e-mail with a mini-challenge, some of which build on others. These challenges cover areas from social media to decluttering to the mental side of minimalism and is more focused on minimalism as an entire lifestyle rather than focusing solely on decluttering. Also includes membership in the private Facebook community group.

Cost: $15 U.S., although if you follow them on Facebook on occasion they have a discount code that reduces it to $10.

Pros: 

  • Most days are “do-able” challenges that break things down into manageable pieces. There’s no “Today throw out all of your clothes.”
  • Least expensive of the minimalism/decluttering courses available.
  • Includes Facebook community group.
  • Covers unique topics.

Cons:

  • The challenges were so varied in topic that sometimes it was difficult to “see” a cohesive picture of what the course was aspiring to achieve.
  • No other content such as videos, interactive webinars ,or web portal.

Recommended: Yes

Final Thoughts:  Although there isn’t much interactive content, the challenges are refreshingly different than the usual decluttering challenges offered in minimalism courses and books, and the price point can’t be beat, even if you don’t catch them during a discount code.

-Pip

Welcome!

Hello there! This is Pip, the Minimalist Hobbit. I live up in the Shire, otherwise known as Lake Placid, NY, and am on the journey towards minimalism – not just with my physical clutter but electronic, social, etc. I hope you’ll join me!

If you’re wondering what Minimalism is, although it means something different to everyone, I like The Minimalists’ definition the best: “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” – https://www.theminimalists.com/minimalism/.

I will start regular posting soon, but will leave you with some quick book recommendations to get you started: (Please note that these are affiliate links. Your patronage is appreciated.)

Looking forward to traveling this road with you.

– Pip