The Magic of Tidying Up

So I read or rather listened to The Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I had begun my journey some time prior to discovering the book with my daughter’s room but I used Marie’s folding techniques already so I knew the name despite living in a cave. Sadly I did not think to take before photos as I had not thought to share my journey. I don’t have a sense of style and my rooms are not like the catalog perfection of the typical blogger on such matters. My husband and I know individually which items we like but cannot create beautiful, cohesive rooms and have no idea about color palettes despite having perfectly respectable color vision. We favor functionality and convenience too much and can’t afford to replace our battered hand me down Ikea furniture in one go, joy sparking or not. Twice (three times for me)  we have moved overseas and have had to start from scratch but perhaps my portrait is ever-so-slightly more realistic. Sadly I could not follow Marie’s advice to the letter because if I did our house wouldn’t operate! I believe we are still light-years from a minimalist house and no matter how I arranged and rearranged some things are still spread out. Sometimes I went by category, sometimes by room, sometimes I followed the order laid out sometimes not. My family was on board and not on board at the same time. Helpful one moment and the next frustrated by my efforts. In some areas we agree and in some we don’t. Everyone has items they love that are not loved by other members of the household. Isadora and Sam want everything within reach all the time and don’t consider that having everything out makes it hard for me to do a quick daily clean.


Before the book Isadora’s Room

For years my daughter and I have been cleaning her room together because she needed to learn good techniques and because she is extremely extroverted and works better in a team than she does alone. After my hysterectomy she was meant to keep up her room but she didn’t. In the past I have experimented with her cleaning solo but the mess soon overwhelms her. One reason is that she just has too much stuff, a common problem for children now days it seems.


Anyhow she went to her grandparents one weekend and I was looking to do laundry when I saw the worst mess I have ever seen. All of her laundry clean and dirty was stuffed together in a bag. I had to wash everything she owned. Because she was complaining incessantly that she had no clothes I checked the sizes. She did have loads of clothes she had outgrown but save for jeans she had everything she needed. I put the clothes I thought she’d outgrown in a box for her to look at when she returned and put away only the stuff I knew that she loved. I then, I am ashamed to admit, cleaned the whole room. Any toys I thought were too young for her I put into a box for review and focused on the things I knew she used a lot. The biggest decision I made on her behalf was her desk. She had so many Lego type houses she couldn’t use the desk for anything. I knew she loved her Lego houses so I put them in the top shelf of her closet like a little village. It never seems to get dusty there and no one would accidentally knock them over which was a problem for her. Hopefully we can get shelves so she can display them. She can reach that shelf with a little step (same for me) but she doesn’t play with them regularly (the fun is building them). Now I know this stealth attack was so not Marie Kondo and represents a problem I struggle with about moving other people’s shit which goes back to childhood.


Let me explain my mother and grandmother were/are not naturally attached to objects (my grandma had a few precious items that I was free to look at and hold) and also seemed to possess little need for privacy/sense of privacy. As a kid I used rearrange the house a lot, even switching rooms but they didn’t mind and continued to use the space, however, I designed it. Even after I left home my mom stuck to my layout and organization theme. They never minded if I wore their clothes and so never said anything which might check me. My mom also had no respect for other people’s privacy which was a point of contention when it came to journals and phone calls. My stepdad, on the other hand, was a pack rat. He kept constant surveillance on the trash and even went dumpster diving regularly. I never threw away anyone’s stuff back then it was only organizing and cleaning. My mom did throw away people’s stuff with impunity, nothing seemed precious to her in a material sense. She would go out of town with trash anything to prevent my stepdad from bringing it back home. I once threw away a pencil stub, a pencil used to the eraser and he dug it out and said I could use it a few more times. I told my mom and she said just give me the trash in secret because he is crazy. I had no siblings. So in some small measure this might explain my ignorance.


Moving along Isadora returned to find her room cleaned and altered. She was absolutely ecstatic and thanked me profusely. For the next 3 days she helped me clean with more enthusiasm than I have ever seen. This is actually true. I did throw away gum, slime, and clay that she had stuck all over but I had warned her profusely that if she persisted in sticking these things all over the place that I would so she was not surprised. As it happens her grandparents have bought her more clay but if not handled responsibly I am tossing it. 


Isadora’s stuff is not confined to her room. Some time ago Sam and Izzy hatched a plan to move a large bookcase from her room to the hobby room and to put in her room a part of the old sofa. She claimed it would help her keep her room clean. Her thinking being that if she had the bookcase (media unit technically) in the hobby room it was out of her jurisdiction and she would no longer need to clean it. Don’t think so kid! I tried to arrange it so mostly her books, music, and craft supplies stayed in the hobby room for the sake of cohesiveness but since it was her main storage unit I was unable to keep it toy free. I have discussed the idea of replacing the old, dirty sofa which she has further destroyed with a comfy leather chair from upstairs that takes up less space and can be moved for much easier cleaning and she is okay with the proposal. I have not run it by Sam yet because the weather makes going to the dump pretty much impossible (lots of snow recently) and he has already been to the dump at least 3 times for the sake of my cleaning (I can’t drive and we have a small car). So alas patience is required. Her closet possibly has space for all of her clothes but then I would have to move toys into a third room. I decided against that. Cohesion just is not possible.


Anyways I had Isadora go through her stuff in categories (ones I thought would be easy for her) and she was able to reduce her stuff. In the past she could never let go of anything not even trash but she was so pleased with her room that she really didn’t want to destroy it. We bought a small storage cabinet with drawer dividers under her desk so she could store chargers and stuff for drawing which is her main passion outside of video games.


Loads of pictures








The first 2 are the hobby room. That long board is something Sam is storing for his parents yes in the middle of the room, along with my old closet woot.


Next is my daughter’s dresser in the dressing room I included every drawer except undies obviously. She has more sweaters it is just winter so she wears them everyday and they end up in the laundry.


Next is her closet. Those boxes contain legos and no you could never entice me to organize that further.


Her room in general. She does not have to make the bed because it is not hygienic, we straiten them out before we get into bed so it is comfy and make them for guests but I would rather them air out during the day. The little table by the bed has earplugs and eye masks in the top and nothing in the bottom.


Desk plus 2 sample drawers. My daughter loves knickknacks. The drawings she has on the shelf I made for her when she was a baby. I did have a picture of the other half of her closet but it didn’t upload for some reason it is really just boxes with some toys though.


Part of me wanted to do full disclosure and show everything but that would be a million, zillion pictures by the end and not even exciting pictures.