KonMari Method Part 1

Last weekend I decided to embark on putting the KonMari method to practice.

I am still working through the clothes category, but I decided to learn how to feel my “Joy Spark” with dresses since it’s probably my smallest category clothes wise.

11830843_10153321583668855_1945673848_n11872756_10153321584223855_170967063_n

Admittedly, dresses are my most frivolous purchase. They make me feel beautiful and I like having a new dress to commemorate an extra special occasion. This year I had a wedding to attend, two graduations, and other functions and yes, I let myself buy a new one for each one. That’s probably how I ended up with 51 dresses total. Which, I’ll admit, is more than I ever needed! I whittled the collection down to 34 which still seems a bit large but does include extra dressy ones and ones I do rotate into my work wear. I don’t currently like how tunics look on my body right now as I’m heavier than when I purchased many of them (some of these items are a decade old) so it was easy to say goodbye to them.

Next, I did my bras, underwear, tights, and slips. I’ve always folded my undies as I think they look better that way but I did use a few shoeboxes to keep things compartmentalized and it made a huge difference! I wear a large cup and band size for bras so I think I will be moving my bras out of the drawer where they are being crumpled and jammed and put them in my closet.

And then, the madness of shirts and pants and tank tops. Oh my…that took up the rest of my day and I still have pants to work on as I mostly did shirts.

I’ll admit, getting things to stand and folding them KonMari style was more frustrating than I first thought. Because I am plus size, my clothes are wider and longer. This makes larger and longer rectangles that don’t stand as easily. I decided for pants to fold in the crotch area to bring the size down a little and for sweaters, to overlap a bit of shoulder to make them more compact. Despite frustration, the neat looking piles and streamlined look kept me motivated.

11817025_10153326324443855_2050561786059957554_n

I’m not a big shoe buyer so I reached out on freecycle for some clean shoeboxes and supplemented what I could find at the dollar store and Daiso. See how kempt everything is starting to look? Ahhh…

Remember how I said I’m plus size so my folded clothes are wider? I own a cheapie chest of drawers to begin with so it is not very deep or tall. My solution was to lay the clothes vertically. I was able to fit most of my folded tees into one drawer, where before it was a few drawers and then some. This was the most rewarding part of my day.

11854087_10153322229973855_1420793165_n

I’m making progress! There’s much more to do this weekend. I also have a good amount of clothes to launder so I’m getting that out of the way so I’ll be ready to tackle part two.

From mostly tops alone, I filled two trash bags to donate. The dresses I plan to sell or give to someone (truly) in need of some.

New Book!

I know I know… I still owe you guys a review on The Best Yes. But, this is my current read and one that comes at a great time since I’m in the middle of purging and organizing for a move. 11781896_10153298164403855_4457894800438684343_n
 I’m only 30 or so pages in but I’ve already had one good thing come out of it. Yesterday I decided to redeem a peel off at a fast food chain and coupled that with a coffee and sat down to read. A little later a man sat down a few tables away and opened up what looked like a Bible. The pages were tattered and torn. Part of his reading was a section that fell out and he brought it up close to his face to read it and gingerly turn the page.

Just minutes before I thought about the whole spark joy thing and how horrible it was that I had “stocked up” on Bibles like it was a novelty when God’s word is so special and could be shared with others. And here was a man who loved his Bible and possibly needed a new one.

I read some more and finished my coffee and walked over.

“It’s refreshing to see you reading your Bible in public” I said.

“Amen. Are you a follower of Christ?” He asked.

We probably chatted for about 15 minutes. I found out where he fellowshipped and what he considers his ministry and asked him to tell me more about his Bible. I told him many Bibles in that condition are because they are well loved and consequently well used. I told him I felt led to give him a bible and he said he would take it.

Now, this Bible wasn’t the best bible out there. It’s small and travel sized but the full old and new testament in a great easy to understand translation. And while I don’t think his studying Bible will change, it may be a tool for what he likes to do. He likes to talk to people and go door to door and ask people if they need help with anything around the house or need prayer. And a travel size Bible with all its pages in tact would be great for that. :)

I’m grateful that God orchestrated that little meeting, and that my little Bible, often neglected and sitting in my trunk, can now “spark joy” in his life.

Why Minimalism is Not my Living Style…

So you guys know from recent posts that I am in the middle of a great purge and downsizing. The main reason is practical – not having more than I have room for. However, the secondary reason, nearly as important as the first, is, “Is this purposeful?”

Here’s why I like stuff:

1. I like stuff because it holds a memory.

The coins from my trip to Southeast Asia. The ticket stubs from some awesome concerts. The doodles from high school before I had any formal art training. The snow globe from Seaworld that encapsulated a picture of my family from 1998.

2. I like stuff because it reminds me I’m taken care of.

Extra boxes and cans in the pantry mean I can have people over for dinner on a whim or survive a bad earthquake. Extra clothes means more options to express my style. Excess in general means I’m blessed with more than enough.

3. I like stuff because I can share it.

One of my love languages is gifting people my time and treasures. Time is fickle because sometimes there’s a lot to share, and sometimes there’s not. But stuff? I tuck away items I get a good deal on or that remind me of someone so that I always have a personalized gift on hand. Something that says I took time and considered their interests.

4. I like stuff because I’m visual.

My mood can change because I walked outside and noticed the clouds were nice and fluffy and the sun highlighted the trees so that they glowed. In the same way, walking into a room with fun art and objects helps me unwind or find bliss. I feel happier with things around me rather than empty walls and few accents. Conversely I know people who find that stuff stressful and overwhelming and need a “clean” or streamlined feel. We’re all different.

5. I like stuff because it fuels creativity and can actually help me be frugal.

Art and craft supplies bought on sale or with a 40% off coupon save a lot of money. And having things around the house help me stay creative which is something I inherently crave both as a person and for my profession. The problem here is not having direction and dipping my fingers into too many pots. Scrapbooking and stamping are just not things I’m really into if I’m honest with myself and they take up a fair amount of space. So it’s better to donate those supplies and keep room for paper crafts, painting, and mixed media projects.

I think it’s important for me to note that I’m visual and not minimalist by nature to understand that is not where my heart is and not my goal at this time. I have a lot of clothes but few fit me well. That doesn’t translate simply into tossing 3/4 of my closet. I need to dig further. Purposefully. The reasons are not just material. I struggle with weight. This means not letting extra clothes be my comfort blanket and not buying things just because they fit me okay. But it also means reminding myself to stay the course for weight loss plans. To feel better and fit better in what I wear. And to not forget confidence.

I have a lot of art supplies not being used. Books that are stacked in a “to-read” pile. Why am I not doing what I love? What is using up my free time? Why am I not doing things that unwind and inspire me?

I have 5 cans of tomato paste. Why? I didn’t shop intentionally, that’s why. I’m not keeping good record of what I have.

When I ask questions like this, I am considering so much more than the object. And that’s what’s important right now. Intention, purpose, and practicality.

Thick. Thin. Fitting in.

I stumbled upon this entry today:

http://www.unlockingthebible.org/thin-western-cult/

I thought it was a pretty good read. It was a good reminder to not let peer pressure or trends decide what is ideal for my body.

Two thoughts though –

1. In earlier times, plumpness was a sign of health or abundance. It was good to see one well fed and healthy. Thin might have been interpreted as underfed, or possibly not well.

2. The passages mentioned in the Bible are from a lover to his love. This is an intimate portrait he paints. In the same way, every man and woman has their own idea of what is lovely in the sense of personal preference.

Some may enjoy shorter, taller, thinner, larger…it’s not a one size fit all guide. And ultimately, other people’s preferences should not sway one’s opinion of self.

“How do you like you?” I want that question to be enough. 

I want to be sensitive to ladies who have the opposite problem I do. I tack weight on easily…some are unable to gain despite a healthful diet. I’m on the other side of the issue, but I get it. And while the world may cast different labels and judgements on us based on our sizes, the root of the above article brings up a good point: how do we let cultural idealism define our personal goals? If we let the ideals in, are they being harmful?

For me personally, these struggles come in the form of gym/health culture and fashion. I want to be physically conditioned for the benefit of strength and toning, not for show. I struggle with the model-type fitness gurus on social media teaching me new workout moves. I know that if I “keep it real” with myself I know I want to look like them but also that my results will probably entail loose skin and stretch marks. I look at fashion magazines and feel like I’ll never find myself at a size small enough to “pull off” a certain look or heck, even fit the sizes they carry. I’ll toss $100 at the health store pretending organic this and nutritional that will magically transform me because it’s “healthy.”  But those aren’t where my focus needs to be. So, my personal resolve was to stop fashion magazine subscriptions and look for more realistic health and fitness gurus on youtube rather than stick to just top names in the fitness world.

When I’m honest with myself and ask, “How do you like you?” What do I see?

I see a 180 pound gal, not the 125-135 I should be according to BMI. I see myself dressing relatively the same because I like comfortable fashion and more modest options. I don’t see prominent abs or a body built for a fashion magazine. I just see a feeling of efficiency and contentment from hard work.

And that’s when I remind myself, “Laura, that’s where you want to be. That’s where you like you.”

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Something Borrowed:

A realiable gps with newer maps guides the way
The “dumb phone” lent to me since my cellphone broke

Something Blue:

Not being happy with how big I look in some of the pictures that were taken
The tee from the aquarium that fit me just right even though I was worried
The ocean as we drove around the coast
The unplanned color of most of the family’s dresses for the wedding
The feeling I get as I leave the airport knowing it will be a full year or more until I see my friend again

Something old:

The feeling of my legs after lots of walking
A favorite vacation spot
Em dancing with her son-in-law at the wedding at the ripe but lively age of 99
Remembering and retracing steps around a favorite aquarium
The San Francisco Bridge
The cells of Alcatraz
The photos at the memory table displaying loved ones gone to be with Him
Trying to recall how many years we’ve been friends and no coming up with a solid number
Familiar faces of friends and family gathered to celebrate a union
Relearning T9 text until my new phone arrives
My mom’s friend gifts a beautiful gilded hair barrette for me to wear as sister of the groom

Something New:

Learning that flounder flatten with age and are actually born fully upright
Being in the driver’s seat for a lengthy trip
A sister-in-law (finally!)
The first person in our cousin group gets married
My brother and his wife are now moved into a different city
My parents’ nest is now empty
A glass cup, pencil, pins, and a tee shirt for souvenirs
Having my best friend spend the night in a home of my own
Viewing the only albatross in captivity in the world (she is unable to be released)

Above are the snippets of a very full wedding week and quick vacation. Feeling refreshed.

A Cheerful Heart is Good Medicine

This is the year my friend and I set once upon a time ago to go exploring the streets of Paris, the workshops of Rome, and retrace steps in Germany. I brought it up and we both smiled and agreed Europe would have to wait.

Now that my closest friends are scattered and plane rides instead of car rides away, my tickets and destinations are not to landmarks and yelped haunts, but to familiar faces. Who knows when Paris awaits, but yesterday, I smiled and laughed more in one day than I probably have all year. It is so good to see old friends. It refreshes my heart like nothing else.

Closer

“So are you guys close?”

There have been three questions I’ve heard on repeat since my brother got engaged.

1. “Ohh, will you be a bridesmaid?!” (No.)
2. “So, when is it your turn?” (Oh, bug off… This is not about me.)
3. “So are you guys close?”

Sometimes it’s a “How do you two get along?”

And the answer to the third question is tough. Am I close to my future sister-in-law? I’ve know her for about as long as my brother’s dated her. Six years. We know quite a bit about each other. But, in those six years she’s been off to college, then out of country for her job, and I moved out of my parents. I haven’t seen or spent much time alone with her. Which is not what I expected. I expected my future sis to reflect Nathan’s personality completely: sometimes loud, often funny, very outgoing, and a big conversation starter. Which is she not. She is complimentary to him and unique. Her replies are often diplomatic and carefully spoken before opinionated and sarcastic. I basically put all these expectations on my future sister in law and found out she wasn’t what I planned but is everything I wanted. But you know, I expected us to magically be BFFs since day 1.

She loves my family. She genuinely cares about all of us. Even the family dog.  She loves my brother wholeheartedly. They are totally devoted to each other. I admire how both have grown and planned for their upcoming big day. They’ve endured rough times and know how to resolve quarrels lovingly. Seriously, no one could be more perfect. And she helps challenge areas where he needs change.  She brings new perspective and ideas. She is brilliant and self motivated and I love that. I admire her resourceful nature and gravitate towards her ideas and am inspired. What more could you want in someone marrying your brother?

Wedding planning and all the life events leading up have given us more time together. Through all the planning before the wedding day, I’ve gotten some precious candid moments with her. Times where we joke together, conspire to bake brownies, just talk about our day, and do little things. And in those moments I realize how she’s evolved since day one and how our relationship has grown. How we’re more open with each other about big things but also able to chit chat and be comfortable in each other’s presence. And I realize we are getting there. We are closer. And I have all their married years to  grow even closer. To finally say, “Yes. We’re close.”

Eleven Greeting Cards

The Breakdown:

Mother’s Day card: 1
You’re Just like a Mom to Me card: 1
Graduation cards: 3
Wedding shower card: 1
Wedding card: 1
Birthday Cards: 3
I’m Praying, Keep Being Strong card: 1
_____________________________________
May events with cards : 11
The Feels: Priceless

I’ve got a lot happening very soon. I’m sorry if I fall off the blogging radar for a while! My brother (who is one of the graduates) is getting married this month and that is one of the apexes of the month (who am I kidding, year!) The other really awesome event is what I’ve dubbed “friend christmas”. I have a bestie that most years can make a trip out to our hometown and it’s like Christmas day waiting for our annual get together! She’ll be at the wedding and then we have a girlfriend trip which I’m really looking forward to.

Friends and bloggers that pray, please keep my friend and her family in prayer. They’ve dealt with a lot the last few years including a big move states away. After finding a place of their own last year, they found a horrible mold issue that gave the family respiratory issues. The complex they are at denies their proof and because of their “pestering” they’ve denied them the option to renew their lease. The family of 5 need to be out by the end of their month. They are only able to afford a 2 bedroom apartment but most places will not make an exception of more than 2 to a room, even if they are little children. They need to find a place willing to work with them on pricing for a 3 bedroom or that will allow the boys to bunk all together in one room. She’s beyond stressed by hopeful that God’s got the details. She’s my keep being strong card.

How about you? Any fun things happening this month?