GTPulse: Everything In Its Right Place – TADL Hosts Organization Class

I recently moved apartments and, as moving goes, it was a nightmare. Last month, suddenly everyone and their mother wanted to bum-rush Northern Michigan and squeeze in a half-hearted attempt at a vacation before the summer ended. I had five different friends from downstate or out of state ask me if I was busy and when they could come to see me or stay with me. Yes, I was busy. Thoughts of my grandfather’s house selling kept me awake at night (is the daybed really gone? The glass figurines?), my best friend was getting married, and the thought of moving was already making me anxious. So yes, beloved friends, incredibly busy. And frankly annoyed that the universe wanted to pepper me with social calls amid all of it. As if 2020 hasn’t been stressful enough.

Throughout the month I boxed up my things, and on the last day of the lease, I looked around an almost empty apartment and was filled with nostalgia. My first place. My first time living alone. I had cooked here, celebrated New Year’s with friends here, and wrote a lot of words here. The tiny little space that I had lovingly decorated with teal-toned paintings and too many rugs was almost empty. Everything had been removed except for a large glass and bamboo vintage dining set. The first piece of furniture that I had ever bought.

This first apartment was a snug 500 square feet, which didn’t lend itself well to having any kind of separate workspace. So every morning I got up and spent the day at that dining room table. The chair back didn’t have pads and dug into my spine. My forearms stuck to the glass anytime I had too much caffeine and got a little sweaty, and the behemoth took up half of my living space. The apartment belonged to that table. But now, with everything gone, it looked small.

“You’re going to have to leave it. We could break it down and take it to the garbage,” my boyfriend said. I wanted to yell at him. The table had been there before he had. The table had gone through countless bowls of cereal, glasses of wine, and daydreams with me.

“I can get someone over here to help me-,”

“Stop,” I cut him off. “I just need a little time alone. I’ll deal with it.”

I could feel myself getting teary-eyed. Over a table. An uncomfortable one at that. I started scrolling through my phone for friends with a truck.

 

Kate Sood is a professional organizer, and the first woman in Michigan trained in the KonMari method. She’s putting on a class for the Traverse Area District Library on September 30th about how to let go of things we don’t need, and how to better organize the things we do.

“People are emotionally attached to their things. Your needs and lifestyle changes over time and I think transitions are a really good time to figure out what you do and don’t need in your home,” she said.

Oftentimes people are most eager to declutter their homes when they’re going through a big change, like moving or starting a family. But the idea of decluttering an entire home is intimidating to most. Years of accumulating stuff make for a daunting task to rid yourself of as much of it as possible, and we usually have aversions to it for more than one reason.

“We have such an attachment to the things we spend our money on. I would hold onto stuff and think that I might need it one day even though I never use it,” she said.

Really, these are excuses to indulge sentimental nature. According to the KonMari method, if an object isn’t sparking joy, or providing function to your everyday life, you probably don’t need it.

People don’t inherently want to be surrounded by disorganization or clutter. It happens when the amount of it gets overwhelming and you don’t know where to begin or believe that the task needs to be hammered out in one concentrated project window. Kate’s Get Organized! class will break down the KonMari process into manageable sections that remove some of that dread factor.

“I always say the class is the condensed version of the book. So, I walk people through the method, which focuses on decluttering by category, not room by room. I walk people through each category nd give them some tips on how to make it a little bit more manageable,”

How do your items serve you? When you observe your belongings from this perspective, you’ll probably find that you’re holding onto a lot of items that you don’t need. Removing things we don’t need or use helps organization become simpler. Every day we make decisions on what to eat, wear, say, and do. On busy days you might find yourself more tired than usual and it’s from decision fatigue. The more decisions we make in a day, the more exhausted we feel at the end of it. Organization is one way to reduce decision fatigue. If you know where your stuff goes, you don’t need to hunt for a place to put it or find it later.

“I think having less stuff around you helps with decision fatigue. Making those decisions like what you’re going to wear for the day, you have less to choose from so there’s less to think about. Having less stuff around you means you’re not thinking about all of it.”

Ultimately, I didn’t keep the table. There was no space for it in the new place, and after closing the door for the last time, I realized there was no space in my thoughts for the emotional attachment to it. I wasn’t betraying this piece of furniture by leaving it behind. How had I grown so sentimental towards an object that had just been doing its job? Holding my plates and coffee mugs, my laptop, and my mountain of papers were simple duties. It had served me well, but with season changes come life changes, and this particular change gives me a room, a desk, and a chair that doesn’t jam into my spine. And enough space for everything to have its own place.

Sign up for Kate’s class through the TADL website here.

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Categories: GTPulse