Our KonMari Journey: Clothes

I posted a few days ago about why we chose to complete the KonMari method in our home. We’ve made it through the clothes, which is the suggested first step. Here are some takeaways from our process.

I also want to offer some suggestions on how to handle getting rid of your no-longer-loved items in ways that are responsible and conscious. This was one part of the process that gave me a little bit of anxiety, and I’ve seen feedback from others people about it. I connected with the concept of gratitude and joy so deeply that I want to keep that energy going forward as we clear things out.

A disclaimer: We had recently gone through our children’s’ clothes because I knew my family was going to be getting our children a lot of clothes for Christmas. So, our piles were not the massive mountains we’ve all seen on the Netflix series. This was absolutely the easiest part for us.

Here are some pictures of our process:

Clothing Donations

This is what I donated from MY closet only. My husband added 3 of the same sized bags.

 

closet before

My husband and I share a tiny closet. This is the BEFORE image.

closet after

AFTER. When I open my closet now, I’m excited to see my favorite things. I know exactly what I have to wear – a great feeling.

I would like to have matching or coordinating baskets on the top shelf. I think we need a shoe rack, and I’d like to eliminate the over-the-door shoe hanger. I’m going to wait until the entire process is finished before I upgrade organizational accessories. I’m looking forward to it as a reward for all of this effort.

Here are a few ways we got rid of the clothes that no longer spark joy and some ideas in case you’re like me and can’t imagine just throwing all of this away.

1. Donate

This is probably the most common way to responsibly discard the clothes. We chose to drop them off at a thrift store in our area that we like. This shop has a retail shop for women who are starting over in their lives (for any reason). I think it’s a great program to support and was excited to donate my items there. For my husband and the children, we actually scheduled a donation pick-up. My favorite site for this is Donation Town. It’s so simple to use, and has a list of many organizations you can choose from. We chose The Family Place and they had a truck in our neighborhood the following week. All we had to do was put them out on the porch the morning of the pickup.

Another creative way to donate is by searching Go Fund Me pages and Facebook groups. Sometimes a crowd funding campaign will come across my news feed, I’m affected by the story and want to share, but don’t always have the space for a monetary donation. I have had success in the past by contacting the organizer of the campaign (which you can do right through the donation link) and asking if the person needed additional help with clothes, housewares, etc. This approach might require a bit more work, but definitely keeps the energy of sharing and gratitude in the process of letting go.

2. Try online consignment.

Have you tried services like ThredUp? This is an online consignment shop that has a simple and free process. Sign up for a free account and request a donation bag. Once the bag arrives, pack up your items and send them back. In the case of ThredUp specifically, they offer you a cash payout or give you a credit to use in their store. It’s very similar to a brick and mortar consignment shop, except from the comfort of your own home.

3. Sell them.

Why not make a little cash for all of this effort? A garage sale or yard sale is a great way to pass the items along, and they’re fun. If you don’t want to have an outdoor sale in the winter or you can’t imagine putting that all together, try posting on Facebook sales groups or neighborhood social media groups.

I’m planning to do a little of each depending on the items. For my kids’ toys, I will be consigning them at a local Just Between Friends sale. Being a part of this type of sale is a lot of work because you price and tag all of your items yourself, so it depends on your personal situation. I haven’t had a lot of success selling clothes in this sale, but I always make a few bucks selling toys. Plus, toys don’t have to go through the inspection process (except for electronics) so you basically can show up on drop-off day and just place your items in the right categories. Check it off the list!

My biggest takeaway from the process of tidying clothes, though, is what I described in my first post. Now that I’ve lived with a new way of folding and storing my clothes, I am dressing differently. I impulsively choose things that make me feel happy because everything in my closet and dresser sparks joy. I get excited to wear my clothes, which is an energy I haven’t felt in a long time.

It also helped me to consistently remind myself that this process isn’t just about getting rid of things in a big purge. It’s about taking a moment and making a connection with the things we surround ourselves with and ask if they’re a contribution or not. It’s liberating.

Next up, I’ll be posting about our process in the kitchen.

Until then – here’s to more JOY every day.

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Why KonMari?

I didn’t read Marie Kondo’s book when it came out. In fact, I was resistant to the idea of “sparking joy.” I rolled my eyes at the idea. I thought it was just a cute trend that would come and go. I judged it as an unconscious slogan and put it in the category of “not for me.”  So, I was surprised at my willingness to watch the new Netflix series – Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.  I had a flash of awareness that there was something I could learn from her and I needed to give it a chance. I saw her warm smile and contagious, happy energy and in that moment I got the message: keep an open mind. My husband and I watched it for a few evenings until we had finished the series.

kinmari book

I had a strong reaction. There are a lot of things I liked on a concrete level: I enjoyed seeing the organization method applied in different scenarios, and found myself relating to many of the featured stories for different reasons. It looks like a system that actually works, and I was inspired by the idea of keeping only the items that truly bring us joy.

But on a deeper level, and this is vulnerable to share, when she greeted the house in the first episode – I cried. I don’t think I’ve thought twice about greeting our home since we first moved in and did a blessing. I take it for granted, and looking around our little house, it shows.

While watching her process on the show, I kept thinking: we don’t live like this in this country. We don’t take this kind of time to process how a house can contribute to us. We don’t think about whether the items we keep are contributing positive energy to us. Why don’t I do more of this? I say I’m spiritual and that I choose my life, but really I’m not doing it…I haven’t been choosing joy at all! 

 

kondo 1

 

I’m speaking generally. Perhaps there are people who lived this way before Marie Kondo made it famous, but I don’t hear a lot of people talking about their home and possessions this way. And I certainly have not been living this way. I haven’t been slowing down to cherish the life I’ve created. I feel a little stuck lately, like I know a big shift is coming but I’m not sure what actions I can take to initiate it.

Kondo’s whole idea of “sparking joy” and having sincere gratitude seems like it’s simple and maybe even a little naive or “Pollyanna.” I’m seeing a lot of people make fun of it on the internet, but now that we’ve begun the process, I am experiencing something powerful. I had the realization that for a long time, maybe since I became a mom seven years ago, I have forgotten about JOY. And I’m not so quick to remember to practice gratitude. In my efforts to be responsible and a “good mom,” and a high achiever in all areas of my life, I’ve stopped choosing things that actually make me happy. Please don’t misunderstand – there are joyful things in my life and I am generally a happy person. I have a lot of blessings. But I’ve been choosing things based on intentions that probably create the opposite of a joyful and grateful life. I can see that I’ve been choosing based on people-pleasing, what I “should” do, and so on. Basically – I’ve been living in a way that supports my limiting belief system instead of living in a way in which I can express my inner light. It’s been a challenging discovery to process and it isn’t over yet. But the great news is that now that I’m aware of it, I can change it.

So, basically, we’ve begun the process in our home. We’ve made it through all of the clothes. On a concrete level, opening my drawers and knowing exactly what I can choose is soothing. I didn’t realize how deep decision-making goes in my daily world, and how fatigued by it I have become. On a deeper level, choosing clothes that give me a feeling of true joy has helped me to remember what simple joy feels like. And I’m beginning to have a taste of an inner peace that I think can only come from letting go of things that no longer lift us up. It’s time to slow down a little bit and nurture my life. Our plan is to do the toys next, and after that we’ll tackle the kitchen. If you would like to follow our journey, I’ll document it here on my blog. I hope it helps to read it. It’s helping me to write about it.

In the meantime, here’s to jumping in and choosing more of me…

 

 

Used to Be

I used to be
a person who apologized
for a lot of little things:
the shape of my belly
the color of my teeth
or the sound of my voice
 
I used to be
a person who apologized
for a lot of big things:
the size of my heart
the depth of my awareness
or my desire to share
 
I used to be
a person who made myself wrong
and each imperfection
was a dot that when all connected
created an image
I refused to love
 
I used to be
a person who said sorry
instead of please
sorry
instead of thank you
sorry
instead of can you help me?
will you?
can I come over?
do you have a second to talk?
 
sorry
used to mean
here’s my heart
I had a rough day
please love me back
say I’m ok
 
Now, sorry is a blinking neon:
Don’t go back to who you used to be!
 
Sorry is a sign I’ve forgotten what I know.
 
Now, I will only apologize for abusing myself with a word
for separating
from pure whole loved glorious elevated graceful ok
ME
sunrise

Everything All the Time

At the beginning of 2016, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish by this year. A 2-year plan. The idea came about after a coffee date with a friend. I used my catch-up update to complain about how stuck I felt. I couldn’t see any signs of forward motion in my life. My friend asked me what I’m working toward, to explain it simply, and when I couldn’t, they offered the list idea to help me get out of my funk. Dream big. Be specific. Write it down. Keep it safe.

I was resistant to the idea, which is often my reaction when faced with a possibility that will be good for me. I procrastinated and argued in my head for all the reasons it would be a waste of time. So when I decided to try it, I worked hard on it. I thought about what my part of the list looked like for days before I shared the idea with my husband. The opportunity presented itself one evening while we were drinking beers on a rare date night. When I explained it, my husband said he wanted to do it, maybe it’ll help, so we kept drinking and we had an honest, eye-opening talk. By the end of the night we had composed a rough sketch of our dream life on a beverage napkin. It was fun. We laughed and held nothing back. I remember feeling like a teenager. My whole life ahead of me. Anything was possible. Happy in love. When we got home, I found an envelope, rewrote the napkin scrawl into a legible list, and sealed it all inside. I wrote “2018” on the front with a little flourish underneath.

anything is possible 2

 

2018 is halfway over now, so a few weeks ago I decided to open the envelope and read the list. Correction. I opened the envelope after a friend pestered me to, after listening to me moan about how my life doesn’t seem to be going the direction I had hoped or planned. The same friend who had suggested the list over coffee in 2016. Again, I resisted the advice. I argued for its failure. I worked as hard on opening the envelope as I had creating the list in 2016. I was certain that when I opened it, I’d unleash a list of unaccomplished fantasies. I anticipated a swell of regret.

Instead of disappointment, I felt surprising and comforting relief. I have accomplished a few things on my list, and the things I haven’t completed, I’m making consistent progress toward. There are even a few things listed that I wonder why I haven’t done them. In hindsight, they’re relatively simple or small universal asks, and I still have time. I was astonished. Whatever sort of magic was activated the night we penned our dreams is still working.

I can see my consistent effort alive in the list, and I’m not so ready to give up. I see that I’m not stuck, I just don’t like the process. I want the process to be blatant: dreams + efforts = instant results. I want everything all the time and I want it now. In that hunger, I forget my expanded view. I get distracted by my limitations, my day to day reality, and the shiny objects of life. Momentary diversions that take hold for a time but don’t ultimately contribute to my bigger picture. This is the pattern of ersatz fulfillment. Then I have some sort of shakeup, like this list, and I see things with a broader awareness again.

no limits

When I opened up that envelope, I uncovered a list of lies I tell myself: lies of self-doubt, lies of memory, and the lies of not enough. I lie to myself that I don’t know what I’m doing, or how to do it. That I’ll never actually reach these goals, despite daily evidence to the contrary. The lie that my process is not enough to be proud of, or that there’s some sort of end game. That at some point I’ll run out of dreams or goals, or the teenage grandeur will fade. Or that I’ll forget what I’m fighting for.

The things on the list, the dreams and goals – I don’t think they’re even my destination. The achievements and experiences I’m asking for are not the point. Maybe they’re sign posts along the way – confirmations that my future is happening right now. That the future I know is possible is building right along with me. I’m not asking for tangible results. I’m asking for the persistent, palpable, rhythm of creation. The life spark. The elusive zest. I’m asking for everything all the time.

He and I

He adds items to our luggage after I think we are finished packing for a trip. I say we won’t need it. I say we should pack light. I always say that. I tire easily when preparing for a trip. My excitement usually peaks, then crashes into irritability and fatigue right before we start to load the car. I gripe about why we’re taking so many bags. Why it takes so much time and effort to pack the car. He is always right about the last-minute items. I am always appreciative. “I’m so glad you thought to bring that,” I’ll say. He never says “I told you so.”

He was a Boy Scout and then an Eagle Scout: a childhood career of citizenship, commitment, survival skills, and “Always Be Prepared, Always Do Your Best.” He is still an Eagle Scout. I was in the Girl Scouts for less than a year. Like many of my childhood interests, I quit after one season. I still find it hard to persevere.

He is our children’s playmate. I am the one who nurtures and organizes our flock. It isn’t that I don’t like to play. It’s more that I’ve forgotten how. Our daughter will invent a game and he will see the whole picture, enthusiastically synthesize her vision, and they will enter the new world of their creation. I struggle to unearth the child I’ve buried inside. On the rare occasions that she does come out, we are late to the party. If I am honest I should confess – I used to resent this. Now, I’ve come to accept, even love, my role as observer. If I watch long enough I will learn the secret that only they seem to know. If I watch long enough, I’ll grow out of my fears and join the fun.

But even before parenthood, he taught me about adventure. Once, in the very early days of our relationship, during one of our first out-of-town trips together, we found out that one of our favorite musicians was playing in the same town. We were visiting my parents. I still felt young enough to need my father’s permission to go, and was nervous to ask. Requests for impromptu fun were tricky with my Dad.

I waited in anticipation: Did he enjoy our visit? Does he like him? (PLEASE LIKE HIM) Is he in a good mood? Is he worried about me?

He said yes!  And then – I lost my mind. We didn’t go to the concert. I cited our early morning departure and low cash flow as evidence to the idea’s absurdity. Why did he agree with me? Why didn’t we go? What were we thinking?

18 years later he surprised me on my birthday with a ticket to see the same artist. He stayed home with the kids – our son was still an infant. It wasn’t until I got to the concert that I recognized a sneaky fear that I would not assimilate to my younger self. Had motherhood, many years of marriage, and life in the suburbs altered my reality that much? Had the childhood part of me been eradicated? Snuffed out during the process of growing up?

But, at the show, I was 19 again. Safe in the familiar landscape. Anonymous in the dark, smoky venue. The music started. Goosebumps. Joy. Youth. This music gets me. The songs written just for me. He is not here – my partner, sidekick, inspiration. My co-parent, co-pilot, co-conspirator, with whom everything is brighter and more fun. Was he off on an adventure with our daughter? Castaways on a princess pirate ship crashed on a cookie island?

He easily transitions from work to play. I am almost always thinking about work. But now, our adventures include 2 small people, all of them propelling me to let go. With them, with him, we seesaw between our early days and the future we’re creating. And despite our differences, we are doing it all together. He and I.

 

Your ideas matter

This is a funny but true reminder to never give up. If you have an idea, it’s because it needs to be in the world, and you’re the person to share it. Sending you all the “I can do this!”

vibes.

#mycirclegame #goodideas #inspiration #creativitymatters #youmatter #dontgiveup #shareyourwork #shineyourlight

Why we do what we do.

I received this message from a teacher who purchased my book. Here’s what she said:
 
“Each of my students planted a helping hand and shared how they would help or use their hands! I typed each use! It was very beautiful! I look forward to the other senses! An amazing book! I will, one day have the courage to write my own book!
Adriana
ENL Teacher” 
 
Needless to say I am so touched.
This is one of the reasons I wrote this book and I dreamed it would help others.

 

If you would like to be a part of the 2nd and 3rd book in my children’s book series about how we can use our 5 senses to share, please visit my crowdfunding page.

 

What talents do you have?

Do you have a copy of my children’s book “Your Hands Can Change The World!”

book cover

Did you know that I also offer an educational resource full of activities to deepen and extend the lessons in the book: “Use Your Hands to Share: Exercises for Hearts & Hands.”

use your hands cover_2

Are you an educator, group leader, home-schooling parent, or passionate about educating children with a positive, proactive outlook?

I offer an E-Book bundle perfect for keeping your kiddos busy during the summer. I’d love to share it with your family.

Here’s a free preview of one of the discussion questions you can use right away!

I’d love to hear what your kiddos came up with during the discussion.

Share their responses in the comments!

'USE YOUR HANDS TO SHARE!' - PROMPT 1 (1)

Shiny Sparks: Dakotah Hale

This is the fourth installment of the new blog series, ‘Shiny Sparks.’ Today we hear from lifestyle blogger, Dakotah Hale. Here’s her take on maintaining inspiration.

_____________________

“What Keeps Me Inspired”

I am surrounded by inspiration all around me. From the feather that I spot on the street to the birds flying in the sky. Nature, people, the landscape around me-everything. As a blogger and somebody with a creative background I am constantly in awe and in thought of beauty in everything. I find this to be a wonderful way to experience life. When I first start my day I like to wake up and immediately say five things that I am grateful for before my feet even reach the floor. This allows me to wake up inspired and ready to start my day. I then move on to doing my five minutes of morning meditation where I focus on quieting my mind and truly reflecting from within. This is a huge opportunity for me in the morning that allows me to really put my best foot forward and be in the right mindset.

After my morning routine I like to move on to getting ready for the day. Since I have a 9-5 job during the week I have to really be mindful of when I can focus on my blog and let my creative juices start to flow. I do my blog work at night and on the weekends where I give myself permission to let the inspiration flow from within. I truly love doing my blog and I believe that when you love something it is very easy to always stay inspired. However, if I do hit a block in the creative road I simply take walks to really clear my head and ask the universe to allow me to get refocused and re-energized. This usually helps to get me back on track and back to doing what I love. The recipe for staying inspired is to simply do what you love and surround yourself with people that love and support you.

thumbnail_Dakotah Headshot1

Dakotah Hale is the founder of ‘Elephant Shoes,’ A love & lifestyle blog that is dedicated to inspire you to love and create everything you have ever dreamed of. After all, when you whisper “Elephant Shoes” it silently appears that you are saying “I love you” from far away.

Dakotah currently resides in Dallas where she is constantly on the search for new wellness hacks and focusing on spreading peace and love online as well as in the community.

 Social Media

Blog: http://www.elephantshoesforever.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElephantShoesblog/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dakotahhale/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dakotahdoll

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/dakotahhale/

Shiny Sparks: MC Dalet

This week is the third installment of the new Shiny Sparks series, and we hear from MC Dalet about the power of music. MC Dalet provides a snapshot into his creative process:  music is his guide, his healer, and an expansive tool to fuel his own creations.

____________________________________________

I can work anywhere. In fact, a piece often pops into my mind, and I immediately jot down what I can, wherever I am. I work in spurts, and sporadically. But if I need to jump-start a creative session, my fuel of choice is music. I suppose it would be trite to say that I draw my inspiration from music were I strictly a lyricist, but that’s hardly the case. By career I’m an academic, building scholarly articles, presentations, and classes. I am a poet, a playwright, and as of late, I’ve written a fair amount of speculative fiction. No matter the mode or genre I’m spinning I find myself searching for the rhythm of the thing as much as I am for language, and I buckle down best at night, when the beautiful but raucous voices of my small children fall silent to slumber and the inaudible noise of emails and tasks take a pause. In the darkness, the light is revealed–there is clarity and inspiration. I sit on my back porch beneath a canopy of trees, the rustling of their leaves and the wind (or the insects) a buzz of white noise, cleansing the sonic palate. Inspired by urban nature I begin a generative process by throwing on some music. Headphones on, I brainstorm, sketch, and draft wildly in bits and pieces, phrases and rough, swirling thoughts. There’s no lyrical bleed-over. Though sometimes song subjects do nudge content, my content generally comes from the day’s memory banks and wild imagination now blending with the mood and cadence of my chosen musical input, be it synth-laden Rush, the distorted folk of Neil Young, the driving pound of Tool, the wandering movement of Edie Brickell, or whatever just seems right. After a few songs, or one side of a record, silence. Everything coalesces into its own unique rhythm and full drafts emerge. I’ll edit in the light of day, when the Dreamtime gives way to tasking. For me, writing is a rhythm. When I remember that life is a jam session, all I have to do is find the riff I need, let pen hit paper, and make it sing.

Dalet pic

MC Dalet holds a Ph.D. in humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas and teaches humanities and English at Tarrant County College. He has presented his scholarship and performance pieces, which focus on performativity and the interdependence of life and art, in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. As a performer, he has trod the stage as an actor, fallen off buildings as a stunt performer, and raised a ruckus as a percussionist and (sometimes) vocalist with Mule Dixon, Fish Fry Bingo, and Shotgun Friday (https://www.facebook.com/ShotgunFridayTX/; https://shotgunfriday.bandcamp.com/releases). He is currently writing a scholarly book and working on a solo album with the help of the band Straight 2 Video. His poetry, short fiction, and drama have appeared in Marine Creek Reflections, New Plains Review, and Sojourn and on his Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/MCDalet/). Dalet is a regular contributor in Essay Club (https://www.facebook.com/EssayClub/) .