Or, how I overcame my cynicism about self help books and actually tidied up.
Marie Kondo is the ‘sparking joy’ lady. You collect all your stuff together, engage with each thing and, if it doesn’t ‘spark joy’ you get rid of it. Basically.
Maybe you haven’t heard about Marie Kondo and her ‘Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’. Have you been (and are you still) living beneath a rock/huge pile of your stuff? If you’re happy there that’s fine!
Maybe you have heard of her and you’ve completely embraced her philosophy of Tidying Up, thrown out everything which doesn’t spark joy and now live in Scandinavian Minimalist Heaven with only a perfect coffee mug on your dust free pale-wood windowsill for decoration. I envy you.
Maybe you bought Kondo’s book on your e-reader (for, you know, less clutter) because you realised something had to be done about the fact you hadn’t seen the carpet in a while, and your friend J had said “read this possibly-crazy Japanese lady’s book, it sounds mad but it actually works!” And you read it (two years later) and thought, maybe there is something in this after all? That would be me…
Since we started the Great Decorating Task of 2016 quite a lot of my yarn-stash has been in a bin bag in the hall, some more of it in various boxes about the place, and some of it had been hidden away for so long I had forgotten about it. I needed a solution to this which I hoped would not involve getting rid of too much of it (well, pretty much all of it does spark joy). Also, I have many stashes. Yarn, obviously. My spinning stash (not as voluminous but more equipment heavy, what with the spindles and the wheel). My fabric stash, which at least folds up nicely. And a brand new silver clay stash, which is still at least in embryonic form. I needed to deal with the fibre (and general mess) quite urgently. I knew some of the general mess wouldn’t spark joy, it was already irritating me, or I wouldn’t be at this point.
We went out and bought a HUGE chest of drawers to replace the ridiculous dressing table in our room – I haven’t needed a dressing table for some years, very little primping goes on these days – so it was a space thief while not providing much storage at all, and the top of it was a clutter-magnet. This is what this part of the room looked like when I started:
I put everything on the bed. Emptied out the dressing table; so much crap in there, who needs 5 hairbrushes? I will never wear turquoise eyeshadow again, it’s not 1988! And the rest. It all went in the bin. Then we swore while taking the dressing table apart, and hauled the huge chest of drawers up the stairs.
This set of drawers is called a ‘jumper chest’ or, as my husband now refers to it, my ‘jumpers in waiting’ chest. It’s a ‘three over four’ (I have spent a lot of time in furniture websites and am down with the jargon) so three small drawers over four large ones. The three small ones are – post purging – doing the work the SIX dressing table drawers did. The four big ones are Full Of Yarn (I do still have some under the bed in plastic boxes but that’s all organised and catalogued on Ravelry so not part of this exercise).
The things I found when I went through those bags, boxes and baskets…here is a selection:
A rainbow tangle of sock yarn scraps, here amalgamated into one huge lump. And a weird knitted long thing I did years ago. Why? Why did I do that. It’ll be unravelled:
Some almost vintage Noro Kureyon, HELLO lovely things:
Some Actual Vintage Hermit yarn, it came from a friend of friend I think, it’s in ounces. With the fact stated on the label it’ll only BE an ounce if the moisture content is the same as when it was weighed at the mill in Bradford. I like the hillbilly type smoking a corn cob pipe on the label:
A not tangled at all group of ‘posh yarn’ scraps. That top right dark green Tosh is amazing IRL:
Some Yarn Pirate yarn I acquired via a swap on Ravelry eight years ago:
And an ammonite of fibre which I now recall was a birthday present, almost too pretty to spin:
So now that side of the room looks like this. There is still a wine box there as you see, it has spindles and fibre in it not wine but this is not as disappointing as finding a box filled with jam jars, for example:
Now, to tackle the LEGO situation…