Monday at the Movies

Did you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo?  I read it when it came out and, although I can’t claim that my home is as clutter-free and organized as Ms. Kondo’s (nor that I take everything out of my purse each night, thank it, put it in a box under the bed and then take it out again the next morning — OK some of it’s a bit extreme), her philosophy and techniques are balm for my Taurus Moon.

She now has a series on Netflix and, OK, I admit, I literally binged this one.

As Chas Clifton  has noted, Ms. Kondo is an animist.  Her show makes this even more clear.  She begins the segments by asking the homeowners if she can greet their home.  She then finds the right spot in the house and spends several minutes communicating with the house.  (I talk to my house every morning — am I the only Witch who does this?)  It’s amazing to watch “average” California residents either participating in this with her or, at least, sitting very respectfully while this happens.  She recommends, for example, that people take all of their books (yeah, don’t get between me and my books or my Hermes scarves, but, sure, we can talk about going through my linen closet) and put them in a pile so that they can decide which they want to keep (those that “spark joy,” which means, those that make their cells sing) and those they want to donate.  Once the books are in a pile, she recommends tapping them gently to wake them up.  I’ve seen Orion Foxwood recommend breathing on herbs and other spell ingredients in order to wake them up.  It’s magic.  When deciding to discard anything (and her show could do a better job of making clear that there are good ways to discard things, although a few people in the show take items to a charity, but, hey, your local library will take books!) Ms. Kondo recommends thanking the item and saying goodbye to it.  And, she does a lovely segment on clearing the air in a room:  you can use a tone, a scent, a candle, incense, etc.

This year is going to be a big purge year for me, even though I probably own less than most Americans (wait until you see how many clothes some of these people have!) and Marie Kondo is my inspiration.

3 responses to “Monday at the Movies

  1. When I moved into our house, I took time to sit and connect with it, and thank it. I remember it was angry, because I was the first resident to do that. I still try to thank it on a regular basis.

  2. Doing things with mindfulness. 😀

  3. As you know, Hecate, I am deeply anti-clutter. A few donation tips I’ve learned:

    Books – many times, the local library actually DOES NOT want them. Stop in to ask first before you show up with a trunk full. However, youth hostels, shelters, and elder-care facilities MAY want them (again, call or stop in first to ask). Also look around your neighborhood for Little Free Libraries in need of re-stocking, or schedule a book swap party with your friends – leave a book/take a book. And MANY MANY municipalities will take unwanted books with your normal recycling these days. Reuse is better, but recycle is a decent option, too.

    Linens – used linens cannot be donated for human use, even if they’ve been washed, even to homeless shelters. They can, however, be donated to ANIMAL shelters, who will generally take any sort of towels or bedding other than fitted sheets (which, if you rip off the elastic, make pretty good painting drop cloths).

    Clothes, shoes, and accessories – you can consign things that are from recent seasons and in near-new condition, locally or via a website like thredUP. Step two for professional items in “dignity” condition (I love that term) is a group like Dress for Success, which has local affiliates all over the country for drop-off, or you can ship to their central warehouse. For casual items, there’s always your local Goodwill, and for REALLY casual stuff (like t-shirts), Planet Aid collection boxes. Also, many running stores will recycle used sneakers. And holey t-shirts, cut up, make great rags.

    Housewares – my favorite thing to do is freecycling – make sure everything is clean, functional, and complete, put it out on a towel or in a box on the sidewalk with a “free to good home” note, and drop a message to your neighborhood listserv. I might not need that mug, lamp, end table, or futon anymore, but maybe my neighbor does.

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