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Monday, May 4, 2015

Financial Freedom: the Marie Kondo Life Changing Magic Way. But Watch Out for Those Emotional Barriers

From 2600 square feet (2010) to 1500 in 2010.    
From 1500 square feet to  697 square feet in 2014.  
I’ve cut my living space and stuff by 66% in the last five years and never felt freer or happier.  But each time I scaled down, I had to step over and toss out more than unused clutter – I had to face the accompanying fears and bogeymen haunting my psyche. 
The Top 3 Fears:
  • What if all my stuff fit in the new space?  Would I end up embarrassed, with furniture or boxes of (fill in the blank) at the doorway, left by the movers who couldn't fit it into the new place?  
  • If I have to get rid of it -- how will I manage without it?  (i.e.,)   Could I really live without a (fill in the blank?) 
  • Wouldn't I be spending more money to replace the stuff I tossed?  Because obviously I would not be able to live with out.
Reality Check:  

The only things I ever gave away to movers because they wouldn't fit in my new space:
  • A chest of drawers handed down to me from my family that I really didn't like.   Good riddance.  The mover seemed thirlled!  0% regret.
  • A 9 foot-high-bookcase.  10%  regret.  I really liked that bookcase, but it was a choice between the bookcase and the antique sideboard my daughter loves and wants some day.  The mover who loves books ended up with the bookcase.  I can buy another one someday.  So far, I've done great without it.

But as I consider downsizing to 280 square feet, I’m even more perplexed and wondering "good grief, how am I going to live without a living room??" 

The rewards of downsizing draw me forward anyway:  pure joy, a new view of the world, a fuller life.

The KonMari Method Is Helping This Time.  Real Life Case Study Below.

For those of you facing the same kind of emotional collapse that is either slowing you down or halting the process all together, I’m sharing some of the tools that helped me and recent photos from my current use of the KonMari, the process laid out in The Life Changing Magic of TidyingUp by Marie Kondo. 

First Things First:  Your Clothes 

Marie suggests that you start de-cluttering your clothes.  NOT your closet, because clothes are stored many other places too.  And clothes are the easiest.  So here goes my Saturday.  

Emotional Stage 1 – Denial

This doesn’t look too bad, but I would like more space.”   Right.  Such an inviting closet.   I had to move the vacuum cleaner over to get to my favorite dresses in the morning.  And what was the laundry basket doing on the top shelf?  Storing something I really didn't need.    Truly I was in denial.

messy closet before organizing

Emotional Stage 2  – Overwhelm and a little confusion, 24 pairs of underwear?

The next step in the clothes clean out means that everything goes out onto the floor, so that you can see it.

“Oh good grief, what have I done.   And why do I have two black skirts with stripes that are almost identical?  And twenty-four pair of underwear?  Who knew???  I need a nap.  This is exhausting."

clothes before organizing with KonMari method

Emotional Stage 3 - Strong, Clear, Keeping what I Love and Can Care For 

As I went through Marie's steps of asking myself "do I love this, do I want to re-hang this in my closet or refold it into the drawer?” game I began to get excited.  Suddenly I had permission to toss lots of things in my closet that frankly didn't fit, never would fit, and made me feel bad every time I tried them on and hoped against hope that they would finally fit.   

Wish I had weighed all these bags!

Goodwill Haul KonMari Method


Emotional Stage 4 – time to SING Whoop!

There's even room for a full length mirror.  I can breathe.  This feels so good that I have to stop myself from tossing out more clothes!.  I even needed less sleep that night, the feeling of new energy and hope was amazing.  

Closet Organized with KonMari Method


But if you aren't a fan of the KonMari method, here are other tools  Marla at Flylady has a baby step method that gave me the first structure to getting rid of “the stuff.”    Her welcoming, encouraging tone and the simple process steps like "one box for keeping, one box for giving away, one box for trash" along with the “just do what you can for 15 minutes at a time” ushered me through my first struggles.  - the visual inspiration from this blog reminded me of how beautiful tiny spaces can be and offers ongoing ideas on how to store things in a Tiny Space.

Your Money or Your Life – Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.   The most motivational and basic book for de-cluttering and money management.  It's not about budgeting, but about being aware of the value of every second of your precious life. 

Which makes you hyper-aware that you don't want to spend another minute buying, moving, storing, insuring or tidying up "things" that you don't love.

Have you been following the KonMari method?  I'd love to hear more about how your journey with the closet "right angle" is going and any other tips you've discovered!   Please share...

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