I’ve been slowly working through komono, the miscellaneous category in Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method from her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. This category is time-consuming because I have a lot of miscellaneous items, especially home decor and seasonal decorations. Fortunately, I didn’t have to start from scratch on my Christmas decorations. I’ve sorted through them several times since I moved into my condo seven years ago, and everything is stored neatly and labeled correctly, so it’s easy for me to decorate. I still had to give Christmas the KM treatment – I knew there were things that didn’t bring me joy, and I wanted to reach what Marie Kondo calls the “click point,” the feeling you get when you’ve kept exactly the right amount of stuff.
This a picture of the left side of my garage, crammed with Christmas decorations. Most of them are mine, but some were my mom’s. The top three shelves on the far right hold all of my ornaments. I went through them a couple of years ago and got rid of any that didn’t bring me joy. (I literally applied that principle to my ornaments – I must have had a kindred spiritual connection to Marie even then!) I didn’t have to go through those boxes because I knew I would keep everything in them.
This is the right side of my garage. The shelves on the far left hold my grandmother’s, mother’s, sister’s, and my mementos. And that’s not even all of them. I understand why Marie saves sentimental things for last! It would have taken me forever to go through them, and I probably would have quit half-way. The two shelves on the right hold other seasonal decorations. My goal was to get rid of enough Christmas decorations that I could move all the seasonal decorations to the other side of the garage.
I started with wrapping paper, bags, and ribbon because I knew they would be the easiest to go through. This is a combination of my mom’s and my wrapping supplies. The thing is, I hardly ever wrap anything anymore! I use bags and stuff them with tissue paper. I picked up each roll, bag, and spool of ribbon, asking “Does this spark joy?” Now everything fits into two boxes.
This is a good example of keeping things that bring me joy, even if they aren’t practical. Sometimes you just want to have something around. I’m happy with my little Christmas wrapping stash!
Next, I brought in all the other boxes I wanted to go through. These held miscellaneous items like linens, paper goods, serving pieces, and stockings.
I cross-stitched the green wreath on the fingertip towel – joy-sparker! The red, white, and green mixing bowls that I grabbed off the shelves on a Target run? Not so much. A good example of not keeping something, even if you bought it but never used it.
This little beaded tree was always in my grandmother’s powder room. I love it, and it reminds me of Oma, but it’s seen better days, so I let it go.
These were hard for me: my grandmother’s, mom’s, and my childhood stockings. I’ve no use for my mom’s and grandmother’s, and mine’s falling apart. I loved having the same design as my grandmother. I took this picture and wrapped the stockings in a bag, because I’m not ready to give them away yet.
The Kleenex came in handy a couple of times. Christmas was a wonderful time for my family. We had lots of traditions: the tree-trimming party I organized ever year; going to church on Christmas Eve and Mexican food for dinner (we’re Texans!); creamed chipped beef for breakfast on Christmas morning (I thought it was a delicacy because we only ate it once a year;) making fudge, red and green chocolate chip meringues, and kangaroo cookies to give to our friends and neighbors; opening Mommy and Daddy presents Christmas Eve and waiting for everyone to get up before we flung open the doors to the living room to see what Santa brought. So many memories came rushing in. I don’t have my own family with whom to share those traditions, and sometimes that hurts my heart.
My sister and I incorporate some of our traditions into her family’s celebration in Seattle. We eat Mexican food on Christmas Eve with my brother-in-law’s family – if Mimi (my mom) can’t be there for Christmas, then by golly, her grandchildren will eat chips and queso! – but we’ve axed the creamed chipped beef on Christmas morning. Before she died, my mom recorded herself reading Hallmark’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas; Anna Jane and Luke snuggle up on the couch to hear her read it, just like Susan and I did so long ago.
We’re creating some new traditions, too, like visiting the reindeer and camel at Swanson’s Nursery with friends and going back to their house for Christmas Eve lunch. My brother-in-law’s family has Swedish heritage, and his mom collects tomte. My sister’s house is dotted with little elves in red hats at Christmas. Instead of making creamed chipped beef, Susan picks up pastries from a local bakery (the kids don’t know what they’re missing!)
I appreciate the fusion of family traditions and hope my niece and nephew will look back on their childhood Christmases as fondly as I do mine.
See the gold and white tray? Never used. The star card holder from Pottery Barn? Used once, and it drove me crazy that the cards fell off every time I closed the only door on which I could hang it. Both gone!
This is what my garage looks like after the Christmas purge. I accomplished my goal! I want and will use everything on these shelves. Is it Thanksgiving yet? I can’t wait to decorate! The rest of the seasonal decorations are next. I will whittle them down enough to fit on that empty shelf!
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