‘Tidying’ my Books

While reading the excerpts from Marie Kondo’s book on tidying, I found myself quite excited by the idea of trying some of the tidying processes she illustrates throughout her book. This kind of surprised me as successfully cleaning out my belongings is something that I definitely struggle with as I am an avid collector of various objects–and the memories associated. Because of this, I decided to watch a few episodes of her show on Netflix as well to prepare me and visually reinforce how she advises the tidying to be done.

My book collection before tidying. 267 Books.

I chose to ‘tidy’ my books as I thought it would be the most effective since I had recently gone through my clothes, though not using the KonMarie method. She was definitely right in that just the process of taking out all of the items in that category that you own and piling them in one room puts it into perspective how many you actually have. I discovered that all together I personally had 267 books in my house. Though there were many and it was a bit overwhelming, I decided not to separate them into subcategories as I wanted the process to be fresh for each book, without sorting them first. However, I did know right away that I wanted to keep all of the books that I deem part of my actual collection–which is about 25 books all printed before 1930. I know that these ‘spark joy’ for me as I have specifically bought or received them as part of my collection. Though these are not average books, I used my reaction and feeling towards these as a guide for the rest of the process. I was surprised at the difference it made to hold each book in my hands as she advised. I found that books that I had thought would be keepers soon became part of the discard pile.

My keep pile. 166 books.

After completing the KonMarie method with my books, I was happily surprised to have 101 books in my discard pile. However, this still leaves me with 166 books, ranging from those in my antique collection, childhood favorites I cannot yet part with, and some of my favorites from the past couple of years. I did feel joy in both my ‘keep’ pile as well as my ability to consolidate my memories from my many childhood phases reflected in my books by just keeping a few from each. In this way this process was emotional, looking back through my many different interests growing up and the memories that came with these phases. I was also surprised at how much I had forgotten about my younger self, and even became frustrated when I came across a title that I knew was at one point one of my all time favorites but could not remember a single detail about the story. However, thankfully, I also discovered that I had perhaps put too much emotional attachment in my books to provide reminders of myself when in reality I can do without them.

My discard pile. 101 books.

In the end, I am not sure Marie Kondo would be completely satisfied with my results, as I found I was not able to completely stick to some of her rules, such as getting of books that have sat unread or favorites that I know I will not read again. However, I am satisfied with my results as I am definitely more happy with my collection as a whole and what I learned about my habit of collecting memories. I know that this was a positive experience for me and I am excited to continue this method to ‘tidy’ my other overflowing collections and personal items, as well as possibly revisit this collection again in the future to do further ‘tidying.’

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Course Blog #1: Testing Kondo’s Method for Tidying Up

I absolutely hate clutter. I don’t normally like to think in absolutes, but I feel that this animosity towards untidiness really originated during my time growing up. As a child, I was often responsible for performing the many household chores my parents would assign to me. Although I usually had to carry out a myriad of diverse tasks, the one I absolutely despised the most was cleaning clutter around the house. During this time, I began to develop the mindset that I should always attempt to prevent a mess from ever coming to fruition. As this ideology culminated during my days as a child, I feel as if this period served to define my personality as someone who maintains order by only retaining items that serve as a pure necessity.

In spite of this development, recent events have served to challenge my own conventional wisdom. Prior to writing the contents of this blog, I had been granted the opportunity to read and analyze Marie Kondo’s informative guide “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. After taking Kondo’s words and advice into consideration, I attempted to apply her same principles to my dorm room at Suny New Paltz.

Admittedly, I was slightly skeptical at first. Up to this moment, I had tried everything to make my room as clean and clutter free as possible. My personal and my drawers only contained very little items on or within them. After closer inspection, I deemed that the paucity of items would make it impossible to sort and categorize these objects. As a result, I found these beginning stages to be quite difficult as I was unsure on how I would actually begin this process of tidying my room.

My wardrobe at the beginning of the experiment.

Still skeptical on the practicality of Kondo’s instructions, I decided to inspect my wardrobe. To my surprise, only now had I realized how disorganized it was. Granted, I’m sure they are other far messier closest than mine but I reasoned that this would serve as a suitable first step in this tidying process.

I began by categorizing each of my different articles of clothing into the following groups: jackets, sweaters, polos, t-shirts, casual button downs and then more formal button downs. After completing this short task, I immediately noticed a difference in the contents of my wardrobe. As everything began to appear much more orderly and unified than before, I desired to continue and see how far I could push Kondo’s philosophy. In order to achieve this, I decided to utilize her “Joy Test” to determine what pieces of attire should be retained and what pieces of attire should be theoretically discarded.

My wardrobe after categorizing each piece of attire.
My wardrobe after implementing Kondo’s Joy Test.

Before implementing this action, I was faced with an imperative question: what exactly constitutes joy? Up to this point in time, there was much uncertainty to how I would determine whether or not a specific article of clothing delivers any sort of joy. In an attempt to resolve this issue, I eventually came to the conclusion that I enjoyed clothes that I utilize the most and, by that same principle, I would find the least amount of joy in the clothes I utilized the least. Ultimately, this development inspired me to sort through my wardrobe once more and identify attire that I rarely wear on a day-to-day basis. After carefully inspecting each piece of clothing, I had removed seven out of thirty pieces of clothing from my wardrobe.

Some articles of clothing I decided to remove from my wardrobe.

Despite my minimalistic approach to material objects, I discovered that the objects that deliver the most joy often serve an essential or important function within my life. Since I tend to own clothes that can be perceived as preppy, I often believe these pieces of attire help me emulate the professional and important characteristics of the successful businessman I see myself becoming in the near future.

Although I had only removed just under 25% of clothing from my wardrobe, the process of discarding underused clothing was quite more empowering than I had originally anticipated. After completing this small—yet impactful—endeavor, I can definitely state with certainty that this new streamlined wardrobe emitted a much greater vibe of joy than it did prior to the experiment. Since this process had seamlessly connected with my already established mindset of cleanliness, it has now become rather easy for me to see why Kondo’s ideas aided in maintaining the clutter-free environment I continue to desire. Moreover, this experiment also taught me a valuable lesson in that there can always be room for improvement no matter how perfectly you idealize your life to be. As a result, this project helped me to develop a greater connection and appreciation towards the objects that continue to influence myself and the environment around me.

KonMari, where have you been all my life?

You really don’t know how many books you have until they’re splayed out on your bedroom floor and you can’t walk without stepping on one. I would consider my book collection pretty reasonable, even though the pile keeps growing every time I go into a book store. I chose to tidy up my book collection because it is one that keeps growing, and it (though I hate to admit) definitely consists of some books I will never read. Or I’ll read one chapter and never pick it up again.

As I stated earlier, I began by laying all of my books on the floor of my bedroom. I honestly enjoyed seeing all of them there. At first glance all of my books bring me joy, but I knew I needed to go deeper and really think about about how each individual book made me feel.

Then, I categorized my books by genre. I was left with a few piles including fiction, religion/spirituality, astrology, non-fiction, journals, and a lone music theory textbook.

Then I dug deep. I picked up each book individually and asked myself if it brought me joy. The answers came to me a lot quicker than I expected. I was left with six books. These are the books that I continue going back to for reference, for fun, or for joy. However, the idea of having new books to read excites me, and I’m not sure if this six book collection actually brings me joy.

I rely on my intuition frequently throughout my every day life, so this felt like an intuitive exercise for me. I’m usually very successful when it comes to knowing what “feels” right to me. Most of the books in my collection are ones I haven’t read yet, so I don’t really have joy evoking relationships with those ones. However, I do want to read them, which is why I bought them, and I don’t see myself getting rid of any of them. Does this mean I failed at using the KonMari method effectively? I know that discarding these books would not bring me joy, which seems to be the end goal of tidying up– freeing your physical space of clutter can help free your mind of clutter. Believe me, I am not a tidy person, and I intend on diving deep into the KonMari method throughout my apartment. I’ve done it in my room at my parent’s house without even knowing it, so I know it’s possible for me. Just not with books. I think I’d be able to actually discard something like clothes or miscellaneous objects around my room, but books hold a sentimental value for me that I can’t seem to shake.

I think the act of tidying up goes a lot deeper than people think. I like that Marie Kondo reinforces the idea that the KonMari method is a mindset, a way of life. That might be why it seems so difficult in the beginning, because adopting any new way of life is not easy. I’m excited to continue implementing the method into my life.

Tidying Before the Kondo Phenomenon

Home is where your stuff is

A tiny, brick Victorian house built in 1871 became a home for a family of six in 2004. The belongings of the original families who took residence here didn’t begin to replicate what our family managed to bring over the threshold. Keeping things running smoothly became a challenge almost immediately. I, Mom, was in charge of this part of the household. Bless Dad; he kept us fed (and still does).

Four children under 11, including a newborn, collect an incredible amount of fodder. Toys, bicycles, Matchbox cars, Barbie dolls, Legos, glorious books, and infant gear, filled the smallest of rooms with minimal closet space. As the children grew, their needs became less and less. Gaming systems, posters, and Magic cards replaced plastic action figures and beanie babies. Clothes no longer having hand-me-down status were donated, clearing the way for fashion chosen by teenagers.

Storage spaces were almost non-existent in our small abode. With limited funds, an addition was out of the question. A little ingenuity and a lot of IKEA, ruled and saved the day. A friend hand-made, built-in bookshelves. Storage creations went vertical and tidying started in earnest. Cherished items were given places of honor in bedrooms, treasured baby clothes were saved, and order was maintained as much as possible.

One thing learned early on was if Mom was organized and put together, the days went infinitely smoother. I used to be the consummate tchotchke collector. Dozens of penguins, years of fashion magazines, hundreds of books, and every piece of clothing I thought I had to have, became stifling and overwhelming. In yearning for simplicity, something had give. I so wish my own mom were alive to see this transformation. She adored the Japanese aesthetic of minimalism before it was cool and trendy. Wherever her spirit resides now, I hear her deeply toned laughter, loving that her oldest child finally gets ‘it’.

Before Netflix

Somewhere along the way, I read an observation that most people wore 80 percent of their clothes 20 percent of the time and 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time. Being a card carrying hairdresser from New York made clothing purges fairly simple. A streamlined uniform of black was adopted early on, giving me confidence and fewer loads of laundry. I got rid of most of the 80 percent that was taking up valuable closet/drawer space and causing me to buy more huge, hideous, plastic storage bins. Although my wardrobe is still minimal, a seasonal tweak keeps things in order. As I have gotten older, I do wear colors and prints on occasion. Shoes and boots are kept to a minimum. I will pay more for one quality pair of shoes, than many pairs of lesser footwear. Does my closet ‘spark joy’? Absolutely!

My closet, currently

As the three oldest children got on with their lives, some possessions went with them. My rule of thumb for what ‘stuff’ stays behind? “Will this go with you when you move?” If not, it has to find a new home. So far, this concept has been embraced fairly successfully, especially by my daughter Isabella. She is unsentimental about things. She told me once her goal is for her worldly goods to fit in a suitcase. What a lovely, attainable way to live.

What matters to me

If my home ever experienced a fire, I would make sure my husband, children, and cat were safe first. If I had time, I would then run to these two shelves and grab whatever I could carry. There are photographs of family and friends, many no longer living. Having binge watched the Netflix Marie Kondo series, I know I should make digital copies of everything. In my next major round of KonMari, maybe I will. There is just something about seeing and picking up a frame and connecting with a captured moment in time. The majority of items that make up my (mostly) tidy life are replaceable. The people, whether in a photo, or in my arms, are not.

Tidying is Magical

I felt really inspired after reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. One of the things that struck me the most is her basis on how to decide whether to keep or discard an item, by asking ourselves—does this spark joy? This is a brilliant way of measuring whether to keep an item because it gets right to the heart of the matter—does this make me happy? And, if we have spaces only with things that bring us joy, the space then becomes happier, and we, in turn, feel happier being in that space.

I’m a pretty neat person and try to periodically go through my things and donate what I don’t use anymore, however, this experiment opened my eyes to the things that I’ve still been holding onto that I really don’t care about, want, need, or use anymore, yet would turn a blind eye to when going through things because I think one day I’ll use it. For this experiment, I went through my t-shirts and sweaters. Clothes are one of the things I hold onto for way too long. I developed a pretty sizeable mound of clothing as I amassed them into one pile on the floor, but this helped me realize how much I do have, and deep down knowing how much of it I actually wear and how much I don’t. This experiment made me confront those items that I know deep down I won’t ever wear again, and just take up space.

Big pile of stuff

As I grabbed each item of clothing and examined it in my hands, I asked myself, does this spark joy? Some items were an immediate yes, and some a hard no, while others I really had to stop and think for a bit. However, that question helped me to decide what I want and don’t want, because when getting rid of clothes, I usually ask, could I see myself wearing this again, or does it still fit? The answers are usually yes because I rationalize that one day I will feel the need to pick up that sweater I haven’t worn in years and strut it out. The question of whether it sparked joy changed my way of thinking, and allowed me to make those decisions. I was surprised by some items that I discarded—shirts that I swore I would always keep and used to wear to death, but they served their time and purpose, and don’t spark joy the same way they used to—and that’s okay.

I kept thinking of Kondo’s method of thanking your items when getting rid of them. This is a reason why I don’t get rid of clothes, I feel bad and guilty. However, her words really helped me. When I looked at a shirt that I was no longer keeping, I thought of the good times I had in it and the purpose it served me, and felt grateful. I thanked it for coming into my life, and allowed myself to let it go, knowing that it has fulfilled me as much as it could.

T-shirt drawer before, stuffed and unable to easily close
T-shirt drawer after…able to close with ease 🙂

By the end of the experiment, I had discarded a little less than half of the clothes in my original pile. My one drawer with a lot of my t-shirts could now close with ease, without having to jam all of them in there. I felt lighter and freer, and I didn’t feel guilty about letting things go. It makes me feel less stressed and anxious knowing I only have items that really spark joy in me and that I love to wear. This experiment made me think of all the old books and notebooks that I have in my room at home, and it inspires me to go home and do this same experiment. I hold onto things longer than I should because I assign a sentimental value to it and feel guilty about “wasting.” However, notebooks I tell myself I’ll look at, or items of clothing that I tell myself I will wear, I never do. In thinking about Kondo’s discussion of things having feelings, I realized that it’s better to take a moment to feel the gratitude for the item, and thank it, and let it go, than to shove it into a corner where it never sees the light of day and collects dust, just so I can have the mental ease of knowing that I have it. It made me realize that I can assign too much meaning or value to items that don’t actually spark joy in me anymore, and that I’m trying to hold onto some past event or past time in my life. It’s better to be thankful and move toward a future, than be stuck in the past.

Discard pile, a little less than half of the original!
Keep pile…and feeling more full of joy 🙂

Tidying Up

I chose to go through my dresser for this assignment. My parents have always been encouraging me to do a similar task of going through my clothes and picking out what I no longer want, so that we can give it away. However, their reasoning was not so much focused on the importance of material objects and their significance, but rather trying to clear up closet space in the room of an online shopaholic. I always knew I owned a lot more clothes than I probably should. I spend way too much of my free time browsing online for sales at my favourite stores and often when I’m stressed I tend to just “treat” myself to a new outfit or ten. However, like the reading proposes, you never really know how much you have until it is a pile right in front of you. While the clothes from my dresser wasn’t as big of a pile as I have suggested, given how frequently I’m shopping, it made me reflect on the clothes still in my closets at school, and both my mom and dad’s house at home. Yet, I never viewed my clothes as important material possessions, rather what just interested me while I was scrolling online, or out at the mall with friends.

The clothes being initially taken out of my dresser.

As I was sorting through my clothes, I didn’t expect this assignment, after reading sections from the book, to really have that much of an effect on me. I owned so many random shirts, pants, even crazy socks that I haven’t thought twice about since purchasing. However, as I was completing this assignment I didn’t find that to be the case at all. It really opened my eyes to a new perspective on how I viewed these everyday objects. As I get changed everyday, I never put much thought into what I am dressing myself with, rather just if it all matched, and if it was warm enough to leave the house in with all of this crazy weather. Yet sitting down and being surrounded by all of these articles of clothing I actually had time to think about each and every piece I picked up.

The clothes I was going to get rid of/give away.

Organizing these piles I found a lot of clothes that I haven’t worn in forever and to be honest don’t really know why I have in the first place. I found shirts that I have some amazing memories in, as well as clothing that I wish getting rid of would also rid me of the traumas that happened while I was wearing them. Overall, tidying up my dresser helped me to realize that some of these clothes I thought were insignificant held a lot of meaning to me after all. I put on the top of my drawers those clothes that I want to continue wearing and feeling happy in and get rid of those that really don’t hold that much more importance in my life. This assignment helped me to tidy up my room a bit, find new meaning and significance in old items and hopefully put an end to my online shopping addiction.

Some of the items that stood out to me. My boyfriends grey sweatshirt, my plaid pants that all of my friends made fun of me for ordering and now all want to borrow. Lastly, my favourite pajama shorts that remind me of a funny story of when I got them with my friends.


The Employment of the Joy Test

I feel that I should start this by confessing: I love stuff. While I do enjoy the occasional purge of my belongings when my room becomes too cluttered, I am more likely to go through my things simply to feel nostalgic and rarely have any real intentions of organizing my possessions. I decided to tidy up my collection of earrings, which I have been meaning to do since last summer. I began this assignment by asking myself one of Marie Kondo’s pertinent questions: “Why do I want to tidy?” Quite frankly, I think I want to tidy because I have this fear that my house might one day look like it is straight out of the Hoarders show; also, I got a new earring organizer for Christmas and figured it was finally time I use it. For approximately the past five years or so, I’ve been using the earring organizer pictured below. It’s not very practical and has been sitting there for so long that the pockets are filled with dust and dog hair.

My dusty old earring organizer

The process of removing all of my earrings and laying them out on a flat surface was both laborious and messy; the earrings kept getting caught in the pockets and I got clumps of dust all over my kitchen table. The below photos illustrate the process as I began to look over all of the earrings I had accumulated over the years (approximately 50 pairs, which was astounding to me) and decide what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to get rid of. Usually, when I take the time to purge my belongings, I focus only on what I don’t like anymore, what’s out of style, and what I haven’t worn or used in a long time. However, I tried to apply Kondo’s “joy test,” picking up each pair of earrings and trying to discern whether or not they sparked joy and if I felt a true attachment to them. In the beginning of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo states that her successful clients are ultimately “surrounded only by the things they love” (5). This sounds whimsical and wonderful in theory, but felt next to impossible for me, as my brain tried to convince me that I loved every single pair of earrings that I owned.

The initial stages…
Starting to organize (“get rid of” pile in top left)

I’m very sentimental, and I kept making excuses as to why I should keep the Mickey Mouse earrings from when I was little, the feather earrings I only ever wore once when I dressed up as a hippie for Halloween, or the various pairs of earrings that I had never once worn because I did not like them but kept because they were gifts from family or friends. In the end, I did feel that I made some progress and got rid of about 18 pairs of earrings (along with a bunch of old string and lanyard bracelets that I made at camp years ago, which had been living in the bottom of my old earring organizer for a long, long time).

While it was genuinely fun to have an assignment that forced me to neaten my perpetually haphazard earring collection, this task also reinforced, for me, just how terrible I am at letting go of my belongings. I have always had very strong connections to physical objects; I love how even the tiniest mementos can remind us of a specific place, a certain time in our lives, a dear friend or family member, or even of just a particular emotion. I sometimes find it hard to recall fond memories or events that have occurred in my life if I do not have a concrete, tangible reminder. Tidying up my earrings was not as magical of an experience as Marie Kondo seems to believe it should have been, and if I’m being blatantly honest with myself, I probably could have gotten rid of quite a few more pairs of earrings. However, I did feel accomplished at the end of this, and I did feel joy at seeing my organized earrings in their new and significantly more aesthetically pleasing container.

The finished product

(I should add that only a few minutes ago I remembered I have been keeping some of my mother’s and grandmother’s old earrings in a separate spot; I clearly did not do well at thinking in “categories,” as Kondo suggests, and ensuring that I had gathered all of the same items in one place before tidying up. I ultimately decided to leave these earrings where I found them, as I consider them to be heirlooms and do not wear them for fear that I will lose or damage them. Marie Kondo would likely not be pleased with this decision, but her organizational methods have not cured me of my cluttered and sentimental habits just yet.)

Old earrings (belonging to my mother and grandmother)

The KonMari Method

I decided to tackle the clothing category for this assignment.  I partially chose this category because it is the first one discussed in Marie Kondo’s book.  I also believe that tidying up my clothing made the most sense, as I do not have most of my books or sentimental items with me at school.  As for papers, I finally decided to start throwing them away after finals last semester, when I had the realization that I have never looked at any of the papers I had kept from both freshman and sophomore year.

Prior to attempting the KonMari method I was feeling a little bit nervous.  I’ve tried to organize and minimize the amount of clothing I have many times.  Usually I have a lot a trouble getting rid of clothes and keeping them organized.  I often make excuses for keeping clothing, such as, “I may need this one day”, “I’ll wear it soon”, “I’ll wear it when it gets warmer”, etc.  It took me a while to finally dive into my clothing, as I expected it to be a long and daunting task. However, once I began, I found myself sorting relatively quickly what items I wanted to keep based on the joy test.  

I started with many more items than I anticipated (I had no idea my closet could fit so many clothes) and ended with several empty hangers. I went from around 70 items to about 50. While going through the clothing, I felt as though I lacked any sentimental feelings towards any of the items.  There were two exceptions, a green jacket that I found in a thrift store that reminds me of the television show Freaks and Geeks and a shirt I received for being initiated into an organization.  I believe this lack of attachment was mainly because I only went through a subcategory of clothing (jackets, sweaters, and what I categorize as ‘nice’ shirts).  I have a plethora of t-shirts and a few sweatshirts that hold a high sentimental value.

A photo of my ugly, but functional, green polo

I found the joy test to be helpful when it came to certain items, however, there are items that are necessary for me to keep regardless of how I feel about them.  For example, I have two polos that I need to wear when I work certain events. One of the polos is particularly ugly (pictured). While this item certainly brings back fond memories and makes me laugh, I have no reason to keep it when I no longer work the job that requires it.  I also found myself keeping items that failed the joy test when they were things that I wore frequently, such as plain black or white tank tops. I found that with items like the tank tops, functionality outweighed joy when it came to deciding what to keep.

It was definitely a nice experience to go through the clothing I have at school and I intend to try this method again when I return home.  Most of my clothes for the warmer weather are not here and I think that I could tidy up much more when I have access to them. I enjoyed thinning my closet and making it easier to find the clothing I chose to keep through reorganization.  I would like to try a more thorough version of the KonMari method in the future.

The KonMari Method: Shirts

I started with T-shirts because Marie Kondo explained the best order was the clothes first then books, papers, komono and mementos. I felt this was my simplest form of clothing and the easiest to part with since the amount I know I have is excessive.

How many shirts stuffed in a small dresser drawer? 37

Before

First, I took all the shirts out. I was shocked about the 37 shirts that could fit in on dresser drawer. This felt like the commercial for Olive Garden’s never ending pasta. They just kept on coming.

Now that I had a mountain of only shirts on my bed I was not looking forward to refolding. This was discouraging because it was a mountain in front of me I was not ready to conquer. I decided that I would place the ones I was unsure of disposing and bring them back to my home before completely parting with them. I would keep the ones I saw valuable and toss those that served absolutely no purpose.

After taking them all out

The first one I picked up was one I wore once a week, this one was simple. It made me happy and was essential to my wardrobe. I’ll keep this one. Next, I don’t remember the last time i wore but, I really liked this Jimmy Buffet concert t-shirt I won 5 years ago yet have not worn since. I put this one to the side for later. This was an easy discard. I had no use for my ex-boyfriend from high school’s Berklee College shirt. That one was a satisfying toss in the trash. I unfortunately do not need 3 of the same exact black v necks. Some shirts had to stay because they serve a purpose such as work or for my fraternity. These can’t be thrown out because they’re necessary whether i like them or not.

After doing this process 35 more times I began to be able to more easily distinguish between what was worth keeping and what was not worth the space. I got rid of those with holes in the armpit that I told myself I would fix, that didn’t fit and those that shouldn’t have been ever allowed to be in fashion. Even knowing that they served no purpose being stored in the bottom of a drawer the thought of getting rid of them still made me feel like I would miss them.

I kept what has made me happy, what I feel confident wearing (and a few with sentimental value). Surprisingly this was easy to differentiate but, difficult to make the step of not putting it back in the drawer. Some brought back memories and I loved wearing. Others I use to workout with often. With every shirt I picked up, I kept reminding myself “if it doesn’t bring you joy, let it go.”

I completely agree when my house is in order, i definitely feel more efficient and organized. I never thought there was a “right order”, I always went by whatever looked “neat.”  This new process is one I would like to start on my own room to keep things consistently organized. 21 shirts is a lot more manageable, and somewhere to start from. Although a stressful process, I feel more at ease when everything is in order.

After Organizing

Organizing My Desk

According the the article, “An introduction to material culture,” collecting objects is something humans have done since the beginning of our origins. These objects included things with practical uses such as tools for building and materials for maintaining life. Others were objects of sentimental value that humans keep for the sake of holding onto memories and fulfilling aesthetic needs. Personally speaking, most of the objects I refuse to let go of are those that symbolize some sort of personal significance to me.

With that being said, I like to think of myself as a relatively neat person. I find comfort in organization, and when my room is messy for more than a day and a half, I refuse to fall asleep at night without creating some sort of semblance that I have my life together. For this assignment, I chose to tidy up my desk drawer. Cleaning, rearranging, and organizing have always been exciting for me, due to the fact that it makes me feel revitalized. I find that clutter throws me off and does not allow me to function in my room to my full capacity. However, by choosing to tackle the mess that is my desk drawer, I now feel like I can be productive at my desk, knowing it is tidy and that everything on and inside of it are easily accessible.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of what my drawer looked like prior to this organization process, but I can assure you it was quite messy. Some of the objects I found were ones I had not seen for awhile; others I did not recall putting in there at all.

A photo album from fellow classmate, Brooke

The first object I found was this photo album. Given to me as a gift, containing photographs of memories with my friends, I had forgotten that I had stowed it away into my desk drawer. Finding it during this assignment was exciting, and made me happy, for I was able to reminisce as I flipped through the pages of it.

Another object I came across during this process was my old writing journal.

Writing journal

It has been months since I’ve opened this book, and even longer since I’ve written in it. Coming across it forced me to look inside and read old thoughts, quotes, and entries I had written. I felt both nostalgic, and even a little saddened, to read about my past self. However, it did allow me to reflect on how much I have grown since.

Another object I found, and one I’m slightly embarrassed to post here, is a goofy drawing that one of my friends made.

Of all the objects I found, this one should’ve been one I surely threw away. It is a slightly crumbled piece of composition notebook paper, with a horrific drawing of what my friend states “looks like me.” I have no practical purpose for holding onto this, but at the same time, could not throw it out because it is something that makes me laugh. It holds a strange sentimental value to me, and so it was put right back into my drawer.

Another object I came across, that also should’ve been tossed, was an old penny.

Lucky penny

Rather than adding this penny to my coin jar, to eventually be cashed into the bank, I keep it in my desk drawer for good luck. I’m a bit of a superstitious person, and so I always hold on to objects such as pennies I found on heads. I also collect elephant figurines, another example of objects I have that have some sort of sentimental value, because they are believed to bring good luck. Though they hold no real materialistic value to me, I keep them for the memories and for the personal value they possess.

Overall, this experience was an enlightening one. It made me realize two things: one being that I need to go through my drawers more often, due to the fact that they were littered with garbage and scraps of paper; another being that there are objects in there that I had forgot I even had. Each one brought back some sort of memory for me, and so the process made me feel joy. Plus, it helped me get organized and feel like I have my life in order.

My desk drawer after this process