Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Decluttering with Japanese help. . . . . .

I picked up this little book up whilst waiting as Bob loaded a few bottles of wine into our Costco cart early last week. With warnings of the storm arriving - which it did with a vengeance - I envisioned staying home - which I did - and really making serious inroads into decluttering, organizing, and tidying up around the cottage. . . . . . which didn't happen of course! Given an opportunity to photograph beautiful birds and pesky squirrels slip sliding about the ice-covered garden was much more exciting.

You may have seen this book - it's the second written by a delightful Japanese woman, Marie Kondo, known as a 'decluttering guru who has revolutionized homes and lives across the world.' Paging through this illustrated version with the cutest line drawings of how to fold everything from your panties to your parka, and how to organize drawers like a Japanese bento box, is really fun. To date, my first and last experience with a bento box was the amazing food-filled offering on the bullet train from Tokyo to Niigata! Yes, I would like to see all my socks organized in a bento box. I see a lot of valuable information inside the covers of this small book - much I may already be aware of as I do embrace 'tidy', but I've spotted some brilliant new ideas also. If only Marie could make a house call here I think things would be moving along faster, meanwhile if I can just get off this laptop perhaps I could do most of it myself!

Speaking of which. . . . . . . . . . 

. . . . . . whilst my thrust is toward decluttering as I have far too much stuff, I am currently teaching my eleven year old neighbor to knit, and am finding plenty of yarn and pairs of knitting needles hidden away among my stuff! Monday she arrived on my dangerously iced over front steps - schools were shut down - for a knitting lesson. She presented me with other fruits of her labor from the stay at home weekend, these really delightful Japanese origami creations - cat, fish, rabbit, butterfly and swan. I've threaded them to hang as bunting, they are so darned cute, and I love kids who are creative and use their time this way rather being glued to a screen.

"More stuff" I hear you say. I guess so. 
But don't forget, I now have the Japanese book, and surely Marie
 will tell me that if they "spark joy" I am allowed to keep them!


  1. How odd!...I saw her, briefly, on TV last night.
    We have a serious clutter problem here. When we moved, 26 months ago, we did so rather in a hurry and didn't sort properly. Of course, then events overtook us, and the sorting was delayed....and remains delayed. I think I'll pick the book up for inspiration!
    The origami creatures are precious. We can't have too many friends, young and old.

  2. Oh I agree with you... if something brings you joy then you gotta keep it. But, and here's what we all need to do.... if it doesn't bring us joy or is so needful we can't live without it... then OUT IT GOES.

  3. I've heard so much about Marie Kondo and her de-cluttering. I've not read either book as tidy is the word around here, too. But there are some closets that hold too much stuff, and could benefit by someone else's wisdom. Teaching your neighbor to knit was a lovely way to spend a stay-at-home day, and her clever origami makes a beautiful bunting.

  4. Sounds like Marie is popular in Canada Lorrie! I was not familiar with her until I found her books displayed at Costco.
    5th grader Raya, next door, returned the next day with another creation - a felt owl which she stitched together and stuffed - really sweet, but of course more stuff, haha! Fortunately school reopened yesterday, the roads now clear of ice, so she will be kept busy with more non-fun things I should imagine, such as math homework perhaps, and I can't assist with that subject, useless at math!!!!
    Mary -

  5. A sweet neighbor - both ways. Love the bright bit of color in the winter of the origami. A friend taught me to knit when I was 7 - I am left handed and she simply had me sit in front of her and watch what she did - then handed the needles straight across to me - and it was magic - knitting has been magic all my life. I like tidy too - and I love to see good ideas that I might incorporate into tidying up.

  6. The origami critters are delightful and worth hanging. They are so well done.
    As far a clutter goes... There needs to be a hole in the floor! I keep moving things from one place to another and never truly disposing of what needs to be disposed of.

  7. I have her first book. I got part way through it then, somehow I forgot I was reading it! It is in my Nook and got buried back behind some fiction books I have been reading. Since we have moved so much over the years I thought I didn't have a lot of clutter, but I really do have a ton of "stuff" that I just don't use. I need to start weeding through and getting rid of some things.

  8. Have been hearing so much about this method. Looked it up on You Tube and watched a few videos. My favorite thing was the way she stacks things upright rather than piling them. The origami garland is delightful!

  9. It seems many of us are on the same decluttering mission. I think the precious garland brings much joy, thus a keeper. I hope things are melting and getting back to normal. Hugs and wishes for a great week.

  10. I love de-cluttering. I just don't do it enough. And I'm glad you threw that idea to the curb and photographed your birds and squirrels instead. I really enjoyed your photos. That's so nice that you are teaching a child to knit. I wish I was closer and I might join in as I could learn a few things, too. :)Love the garland. Deb

  11. Oh I want to learn to make that butterfly. Getting organized is always on my list at the beginning of the year. It is a slow process interrupted by being sick. Now I am trying to re-inspire myself. Paperwork this week.

  12. Oh. Mary, this is such a post after my own heart! I LOVE LOVE LOVE her first book on the art of decluttering. It is SERIOUSLY trans-formative if you really take the time to do it all properly. For anyone who does that, she boldly promises that you will never ever again fall back to the old ways of clutter and mess. Your mind will feel lighter, renewed and less cluttered too as you will be able to find things jsut like that. It REALLY works! Alex and I don't have a huge volume of stuff but between the two of us coming together we still had many duplicates and I was carrying around items from 30 years ago or even more that I never look at anymore and had lost their true need to be there. How can anyhting spark joy if buried away in an uopned box for decades and religiously carried form place to place? Marie talks all about that-- how we more often than not hold onto things for two reasons: an unhealthy attachment to the past (that often brings with it, guilt) or a fear of the future (stockpiling, etc).

    Anyway, we took the time to do it right and it has meant that now we are surrounded by less, and everything in site pretty much brings joy. Teh secret is to not only do everything by categories but also to touch each item and really feel how it makes you feel. In time it will be come also automatic what to discard adn waht to keep.

    Funnily enough, I jsut bought her 2nd book, This "Spark Joy" book as for one, we;ve enver doen the folding thing and maybe there are a few more tidbits I can learn along the way. I have it literally sitting right next to me n the table to the right of the sofa as I address this to you. Enjoy!

    Ah, I love what you have done with the newly made bunting from your neighbour's darling gifts. How creative and fun and how lucky she is to have someone of such calibre and interest right next to her! I think that is superb that you offered to help teach her knitting! Perfect.

    BTw, the birds were most appreciative you forewent that book for a little longer, just to keep them fed and featured as the feathered celebrities they indeed are here. I loved those posts. :)

  13. P.S. I did reapond to your wonderful comment btw, especially about the hair! haha

  14. I saw this book in B&N a few days ago and passed it by, having never heard of the author before but, I need to declutter and it sounds like I need to start with her first book. Perhaps that would inspire me and give me a good approach. I enjoyed your post, but as I have previously mentioned I love your posts on the birds and squirrels so don't spend all of your time decluttering! :)
    Farm Gal in VA

  15. I have not picked up this new book yet - I will have to see if my library has it. I did read her first book though and while I thought she was a little extreme, I did like her premise of how to purge things. And I did put that into practice with my clothes, DVDs and CDs.
    How wonderful that you are teaching your young neighbor to knit! I love when I hear stories about us "older" women teaching young women some sort of useful or creative skill...sewing, knitting, cooking. And I love that she gifted you with her origami pieces. My son - who is an artist and professional photographer - used to do origami when he was little. I still have some of his pieces. I love how you displayed them. Very creative way to do so!

  16. What adorable little oragami creations- I'm sure they spark joy and you may keep them!!
    Miss our coffee dates - next week, I hope!
    Hugs ~

  17. Origami, not oragami - why does Auto correct not work when I need it?! Sorry.....

  18. Hmm, this is just what I need to help get into the nitty-gritty of "tidying up" before baby arrives! Just ordered it (and her first book) on Amazon. I'm excited! xx

  19. Dear Mary

    Just the look of this book I know if I spotted it in a bookshop, I would buy it too!
    I will look for it at the library, bookshops are my downfall!

    I'm having a MAJOR declutter in our house pending a houseful by year end - fingers crossed!

    The origami pieces from your young neighbour are gorgeous - another craft I've not mastered!
    I can knit but I can't crochet - can you Mary? Not that I'm desperate to make anything in particular but it seems most gals learnt at their mothers knee.
    I was at boarding school so I missed out on a lot of that!

    A lovely post and as I'm playing catch up this week I'm now going to read about your birds!

  20. Hi dear! Sounds lovely! I've read one of her books before and loved it, can't wait to pick this one up and continue the de-cluttering process.Miss you lots! xxx Vanessa


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