Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Scrap HST and a Book Review

Last week my scrap group met again. This is what I made.

There should be 144 HST (half-square triangle) units in these three stacks. This represents clue 2 in the mystery quilt we started last month. The first clue gave the fabric requirements and cutting instructions. Since I'm the group leader this isn't a mystery to me, but I'm still enjoying the process. I think the finished quilt is very pretty. I cut all my pieces for my HST units using my GO! cutter so all that is left for me to do with this is press them open. I'm resisting doing that because it is so hot here right now. The last thing I want to do is stand over a hot iron for 30 minutes while I press these! Luckily I don't need to have them pressed until clue 4. I'm just going to wait for a not so hot day to press these.

Now for the book review. FYI: This is not a quilting/sewing related book. You may want to skip the rest of this post. It won't hurt my feelings. 

I finished reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. The author is Japanese and has a very "Eastern" view of objects and tidying, but I think the basic principles apply to anyone. 

First, she says that if you really embrace her idea then you will only need to do a whole house massive tidying marathon once. After that you will need to do a bit of maintenance tidying, but you should learn through the process to let go of things you no longer need rather than storing them. I sure hope this sinks in with me!

Second, she recommends that you tidy by category, not by room. And the first category to tackle is your clothes. So I over the weekend collected every article of clothing, including shoes, coats, hats, gloves, purses, jewelry - if you wear it then it belongs in this category - and piled them on my big basting tables. She says it is important to make one pile so that you can really see how much you have. I was skeptical, but having done it with this first category, I will continue. It really did help me to part with things once I realized how much I had. For example, I had 17 pairs of white socks. Seriously! I do not need that many white socks. I kept 5 because these are the socks I wear most often.

It was harder than I thought it would be, but I did get rid of three garbage bags of clothes and one bag of shoes. I had more shoes than I realized! All of the shoes I parted with either no longer fit or hadn't been worn in years. Why was I keeping them?

Her method for deciding on whether or not you keep an item is to hold it in your hand (yes it is important to actually touch every single item) and ask yourself, "Does this item give me joy?" A little hokey, I know, but it did help to think in those terms at times.

I did this a little differently. As I picked up each piece of clothing some were very easy to determine. So I went through each piece and if I had an immediate reaction (positive or negative), I went with it. Then I went through the rest of the items. The things that I was neutral about. For example, I am indifferent about my snow shoes. I kept them because I need them, but they don't give me joy. They keep my feet warm and dry when I have to shovel snow off the sidewalk. The author might tell me that I should have snow shoes that do excite me, but I can't afford to throw out something in good working order that I would have to pay to replace.

She also had a lot of advice about folding your clothes vs. hanging them. However she cautioned against purchasing a bunch of storage/organization items. In her view, many of these things just make it easier for you to keep things you shouldn't. She advises that you wait for a bit after you are done tidying each category before buying any new storage items. See if you really need them first. You may find something during the rest of the process that you could repurpose to store your things. I think this is good advice.

Again, the author is Japanese and so are most of her clients. She is writing the book from the perspective of tidying a Japanese size home. For example, one of the things she advises is to store like items in only one place in your house. In general, this is good advice, but we have three bathrooms in our house. I am not going to store toilet paper in only one place. When I buy toilet paper, I divide it up and store the rolls in or near each bathroom. Same goes with cleaning supplies - each bathroom has their own set of cleaning supplies. Every bathroom has a cabinet or closet in or near it so the toilet paper and cleaning supplies are hidden, but each bathroom gets some. So some things I don't think are practical for most American style homes.

In closing, I think the book will be helpful to me. I plan to use the method and go through my entire house, including my sewing room. If a UFO no longer "gives me joy" I will get rid of it. The same goes for my other sewing/quilting related stuff. For me, I have too much stuff. My stuff is overwhelming me and making it harder for me to appreciate the things I own that I really love. My plan is to be as honest as I can with myself about my things and only keep what I need and love. The rest is just clutter.

I should add that I am only applying this to MY things. I will not do this for my family or force them to do it with their things. You can not do this for somebody else. Everyone has to make their own decisions about their possessions. This is why you can't hire someone to organize your house for you and have it stay organized, unless they happen to have the exact same values and way of doing things as you. And why I can't clean/organize my child's bedroom and expect him to keep it organized my way. *sigh*


Salmagundi said...

I'm kind of an organizational soul, so know I would enjoy this book. I'll look it up -- thanks for the info. Sally

Gene Black said...

I probably NEED this book, but I am not sure that I would follow through with the plan. Sigh!

West Michigan Quilter said...

Sounds like an interesting book and goodness knows I need help with organization. However, I'm not sure about that "category" bit. Right now I have only 6 rooms to think about. I'm sure if I started placing things in categories I'd have a lot more to remember. I'm not good at that. I can see a room and it can't be missed...I can't shut a drawer and walk away.

merinz said...

Her advice seems very logical.

Bonnie said...

Interesting take on how to organize your things. I, too, would have a hard time getting rid of items when I might need them even if I don't find joy with them However, I'd be the first one to say having warm feet while shoveling snow would definitely give me joy!