Peer pressure doesn’t work on me. If I hear that “everyone” is doing something, I am not impressed. In fact, I don’t even care enough about trends to want to go the other way. The whims of the majority have no discernable effect, at least on a conscious level. That being said, I stumbled upon Marie Kondo’s show, Tidying Up, looking for something to binge watch on Netflix one weekend in January and I was immediately hooked. I have since learned that Ms. Kondo has had a following, due to her books, for years now, so I am late jumping onto her bandwagon. If you haven’t seen the show, I recommend it to understand the basics of her method, though the books go into a little more detail. In short, it’s a 3 step process: 1) Gather belongings by category, holding each thing, and keep only what “sparks joy”; 2) Dispose of everything else (either trash or donate); and 3) Arrange what you have kept in a pleasing order, giving each thing a designated place. This involves learning some new folding methods, horizontal drawer storage, and different sized boxes from tiny to large to keep like sized items tidy.
Now, about one month into my own “Tidying Up” process, I have finished the clothes/shoes, books, and paper phases, and am lost somewhere in the no man’s land of “komono” (miscellaneous items of the kitchen, bathrooms, closets and garage) with the sorting of sentimental items still ahead of me. I’m not overly worried about the sentimental stuff because I already tackled a lot of that during the paper phase. Cards and letters are what I tend to save. Those letters! Going back to boy crazy high school years, I’m so glad I saved them because now it seems letter writing is fast becoming a lost art. I especially enjoyed rereading the very entertaining letters from my younger siblings, catching me up on home life after I had left for college. All other decisions about sentimental items should be easily made since I am selective about “things” that I keep in the first place and throw things away fairly easily. Ah but that komono… I mean, WHY do my dogs own so much stuff?? I know if I leave it up to them, they will want to keep everything, since almost everything sparks joy for a Boston Terrier.
At the height of my tidying frenzy, I listened to Ms. Kondo’s books as I went to sleep, watched her Netflix series more than once and googled other people’s experiences with “#konmari” on my lunch breaks at work. I realized that getting rid of clutter, paring down my wardrobe to only a few favorite essentials, and having everything in its place, could have a positive impact on packing efficiently for frequent trips. One great tip I found, that ultimately inspired this post, was to have a place for travel toiletries, such as tiny shampoo bottles, so that true to the method I could completely empty my toiletry bag after each trip. I used to leave a suitcase and toiletry bag half packed between trips (when travelling several times a month) to save time but that resulted in bringing unnecessary items. Now I start with an empty toiletry bag and pull only what I will need for each specific type of trip from the “travel drawer” in my bathroom.
Recently I went on a short weekend getaway and was amazed at how having my clothes filed in drawers the konmari way saved time packing. Once I selected the size of bag I would take, it took less than 10 minutes to pull out the clothes I needed. Aside from just being able to see everything I have at a glance, another benefit to this method is that I know that I actually like to wear everything I kept (because of step 1, when I asked myself if each thing “sparked joy”) so there’s no need to try on outfits. I don’t know about your experience with this, but I have lost a lot of hours trying on clothes before packing them just to be sure they still fit and I still like how they look.
The photo above shows all the clothing I brought. I did bend the rule about only bringing one of each type of clothing, because we were to have consistently cold weather, so instead of bringing a pair of shorts I brought an extra pair of jeans in a different color. The shirt, pants and socks in the foreground I actually wore on the first travel day, so only the rest of it had to go into the backpack. Inside the daypack, I used two slim sized e-bags to hold the clothes (only 1 ½ were filled), so I could pull them out and have the daypack handy to just be a daypack for walking around the woods or in town during my trip. I wore my heavy hiking boots with a lighter pair of shoes packed.
As I continue through the “Tidying Up” process, which Ms. Kondo says could take around six months to complete, I am sure I will discover even more travel applicable benefits to share with you here.
What do you think of the Marie Kondo “Tidying Up” trend? Has it impacted your life and/or travels? Let me know in the comments section!