Monday, June 8, 2015

Life-changing magic...



I have really been struck with de-cluttering fever, starting with my sewing room, thanks to this little gem of a book:


The key is picking up each item individually and deciding whether that object "sparks joy" - tokimeki is the Japanese word for that feeling.


Once I started, this pile grew and grew and grew... leaving me with only the fabric and objects I really, really like.  What a GREAT feeling.

I "filed" my fabric, too, which is something I just had never thought to do.  Not perfectly, but well enough that I can actually see what I have.   This idea came serendipitously at our last quilt guild meeting where our speaker Judy Damon talked about how to manage our stash.  She suggested this filing idea and while her method is much neater than mine,

 ... this is such a vast improvement for me and I just love actually being able to see what I have in each bin!

Including my larger pieces...

I wish I had a before photo, but trust me, this is really tidy compared to how it was before!


I did the same sorting and "filing" with my reproduction fabrics - the raw materials for my Stars in a Time Warp.  Once the stars are finished I will reincorporate these fabrics into the bins by color.


Before I was even finished with this decluttering, I found some UFO blocks from many years ago (when my friend and I taught a Block of the Month class to some church group ladies).


These blocks absolutely still "spark joy"... so I kept them, and started piecing them into a sampler.






It is just a pleasure to work in my newly decluttered space!

*a little more about the book:

Aspects of Kando's philosophy might feel whimsical and fanciful, even silly, to Western eyes - but it is very Shinto in the way she anthropomorphizes objects.  Respectful of physical surroundings and objects.  So Japanese, and so practical, and really revolutionary.  It's about carefully curating your stuff rather than repeatedly re-organizing your same old too much stuff.  Respecting your things, even realizing the sacredness in them.

I can tell you, it felt wonderful to really pare down the stuff in my sewing room.  I mean really, really pare down.  I do feel joy in that room now, more than ever before.

As for our home in general, I think living in a small apartment in Tokyo for two years taught us that we don't need a lot of stuff, and that it's actually very freeing to have very few things.  When we returned to the U.S., we really decluttered, gave away about 80% of our books, rented a dumpster, the whole works.

But now we want to go back and use the "does this spark joy?" rule and declutter even further.  

If you have read the book I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!



10 comments:

  1. Many, including some of my kids, are into this system. I have a system I like for fabric but with other stuff, it is very hard to toss something that still has use. It may be a generational thing. I wish we had more places we could donate clothing or books etc.

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    1. It may be partly generational, but partly geography! Here, it's just so easy to give things a second life. I put out an email to my church congregation and within 10 minutes had found an enthusiastic taker for that mountain of fabric; books are easy to give away, donate to the library book sale, etc.; for clothes there are thrift shops, friends with younger children, clothing drop boxes, coat drives, etc.; and for still usable household goods we have a "swap shop" at the dump. Getting rid of "junk" was a much bigger problem in Japan!

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  2. What an inspirational post! Oh how need to de-clutter my TWO sewing rooms. I have way too much tokimeki for one person. I need to realize that if it gives me joy, perhaps I should allow it to go to another home to create joy for someone else! I think I will share this with my 6 sewing sisters at our annual retreat next week. Perhaps if we all work together in each others spaces, we will create a sense of "balance" in all of our lives. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

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    1. Wendy, it sounds like you would love that little book! Don't get rid of anything that sparks joy! Sharing with fellow quilters is always a great idea! Two sewing rooms... wow, just wow! Thanks for stopping by;).

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  3. I got this book some time ago and immediately set about 'tidying' with great success - not just my fabric and sewing area but our whole apartment. I loved it so much I got copies of the book for the kids too and I've told friends about it, it really changed my life. The moment I saw your blog post title I knew exactly what it was about! Hope you're all keeping okay - Chris :D

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    1. Chris - hurray! It isn't just another organizing philosophy - like you said and the book title promises, it is life changing! We are in the beginning stages. This summer I'm going to tackle papers and memorabilia - a huge category.

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  4. Your story is SO inspiring! I did read the book a few months ago, and I'm looking forward to reducing the amount of stuff all over the house soon. Wow! Eighty percent of your stuff gone. I love it!

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    1. Hold on - eighty percent of our books... Not stuff overall;). But yes lots gone from the sewing room which really has given me a new burst of creative energy! Part of this is wanting to more or less pretend to downsize within our current house. Not sure when we will actually downsize but that's the current daydream!

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  5. I did a little of this last summer, getting rid of a lot of my fabrics that just didn't 'click' with me. I'm sure I could do more--you're very brave to pare down as much as you did! Love your sampler blocks, especially the tree!

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  6. Thank you Audrey! I am having fun piecing those blocks into a "little kid" quilt.

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