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Organization, or lack thereof

Kay headshot

This morning at Fabriholics Sewing Group, while I was trying to inset a piece of fabric in a new shirt I’d gotten that was far too low (seriously, where do they think anyone would wear that? Minoan re-enactment?), the topic came around to Marie Kondo.

Kondo, the queen of the tidying method and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, also has a Netflix show called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.  Surprisingly, I was the only one who had heard of Kondo, so I tried to explain her method, badly, to the Fabriholics. It went something like this:

“So, um, she has you take all the things that are the same out, like all of your books-although if I did that I wouldn’t have any house left-and then you, um, slap them lightly to wake them up-which is Shintoism-and then you can sort them easily and anything that doesn’t spark joy goes…?”

Needless to say, the blank stares told me how successful my description was. I then tried to show the Netflix show on the tv in the teen space, but the internet refused to cooperate. So, I’m sure they’re still confused.

A messy pile of apple crates

Kay’s native organizing method, the pile.

Growing up, I believe my parents would have described my organizing style as piles. My feeling was that as long as the pile didn’t fall over, I was good. The success of that method can be measured by the fact that, after about age 15, my Dad utterly refused to enter my room to empty my trashcan because he had stepped on something on my floor and broke it. In retrospect, I remember my Dad’s office which was just as bad as my room and I’m sure I came by my piling habits rightly. However, he got his own trash so no one ever called him on it.


I can’t say that I’ve come that far as an adult but at least I have more space to spread out in. Being a librarian means owning far too many books. When we moved into our house, we had the “Pile of Shame” which was 20 feet long, 5 feet tall and 5 feet deep and completely covering the back door. It goes without saying that the Pile of Shame was mostly books, a fact that came back to bite me last summer.

We’ve been slowly renovating our house one room at a time, which, unfortunately means that the room in question must vomit its contents over the rest of the house. (Take my advice, kids, and refinish your floors before you move in!) The latest room was our library which also housed the treadmill, my puzzle table, all my puzzles and 11 six-foot tall very full bookcases. Needless to say, moving all that and finding a place to put it was a mammoth endeavor. It was also super painful: two months in a house where there were 2 foot paths through every room just about broke me.

On the bright side, the physical act of moving every blessed (!)%&$^(!) thing out of the library meant that I had a chance to Marie Kondo for real. It was rather illuminating. I got rid of a bunch of tchotchkes and a couple of boxes of books. My husband, who now only reads ebooks, got rid of two car-loads of books. Bless him, because a) I asked him to do it and b) he suffered through me having a nervous breakdown that he did his job too well.

The point of this meandering is that Marie Kondo’s method actually works. If I looked at something and felt guilt or annoyance or sadness or just “why do I have this?”, it went into the donation pile. Such a freeing feeling! In all honesty to the Kondo method, I have to admit I skipped slapping everything to wake it up, but I figure having to actually move every blasted thing twice (or more) should count.

If you’d like to organize yourself, we have two programs coming up just for you!

First, on Monday, 3/4, we have a lecture on Love your Tidied Space: the KonMari method. Certified KonMari Method™ Consultant, Christina Rosenbruch, will present on the guiding principles of the KonMari Method™.

Then two days later, we have Learn to Bullet-Journal with our own Heather. Bullet-Journaling is a new organization method that is described as “Meet the analog method for the digital age that will help you track the past, order the present, and design your future.”

Happy reading!