Bobbie's Beat: De-cluttering: part two

Last week’s “Going Kondo” column about de-cluttering your life is such a hot-button topic I am still hearing from readers. 

The mail is not only interesting but often funny, like this from local reader Margaret:  “Since our tax return does not ‘spark joy,’ can we just throw it out?” A few people reassured me they, too, had not heard of Marie Kondo, the little Japanese bundle of energy whose message and method of helping folks tidy up their lives has gone viral. Marie advises us to hold an item, and if it does not “spark joy,” pass it on to someone who can use it. 

Margaret (in Tucson) writes: “We have now watched five Netflix episodes of “Tidying Up” and have launched a project like you are doing to get rid of stuff. Like you, we have also been procrastinating for years.”

Sandy, from Sebastopol, Calif., writes: “Oh Bobbie, I just watched Marie Kondo on Netflix. When we get home from our Mexico vacation I plan to go through my house — socks first, as mine have also been propagating!”

Here’s a word of wisdom for all of you now feeling inspired to de-clutter. It’s important to have a game plan in place, as in a destination for your stuff. For me, the choices are: a) family and friends; b) the Newport Presbyterian Church annual rummage sale April 12-13; and c) the local Goodwill drop-off center. 

I’m thrilled that a young friend loves our ’70s service for 12, including flatware, and all of that stuff has now found a happy new home. Heaven knows, for my husband Burt and me, it certainly sparked joy for many years and many a dinner party. I will always have the memories, but it’s definitely a challenge to live in the present instead of the past. 

I do need to clarify something. Last week I wrote about being inspired by Marie Kondo, but also mentioned a Netflix documentary called “Minimalism.” Becoming a real minimalist not only means getting rid of stuff, but also possibly changing your entire lifestyle, such as moving into a tiny house or living out of a backpack. “Going Kondo” means getting rid of stuff you no longer need or enjoy. 

Rhonda, in Corvallis, writes: “I just sent your column to my husband so we can talk about it. We have so much stuff!” Judy, in Sisters, writes: “I suspect you got bitten by that spider while ‘Tidying Up.’” Judy isn’t the only reader who ties the poisonous spider bite episode in with my de-cluttering campaign. The spider was living in my husband’s workshop, where I was attempting to organize empty boxes. No connection to my ongoing war with household stuff. Robin, in upstate New York, writes: “Love this column and plan to watch Marie Kondo. I need help!”

One of the most humorous emails is from Teresa, in Omaha, who writes: “I keep cleaning out small linen closets because I dread dealing with my clothes, which are in two closets plus a huge cedar chest in the basement. You see, one must keep the clothes that have ‘shrunk’ as I may lose weight some day and these adorable clothes will be ready for me. The fact that, if and when I lose those unwanted pounds, the clothes will be outdated is immaterial. I look at some of them and, as you related, many still have sentimental value. But now you tell me, how many winter coats can you wear? All of the coats fit, but I can’t wear more than one at a time, so why do I have eight winter coats? I have lost some weight (some) and now have many slacks that are too big, but I can’t get rid of them because I ‘may’ put the weight back on. So I now have three sizes of clothes and can’t part with any of them because maybe someday…?”

Well, Teresa, I’m pretty sure anyone reading this will relate to your weight quandary and the need to keep clothing in various sizes — just in case.

As for my current progress, one of the problems I keep having is being easily distracted. I can only sort through piles of paper for a short time before I think of an easier category of stuff. This morning I tackled a drawer stuffed with scarves — not mine and not Burt’s, but neck scarves that dog groomers put on our standard poodle, Charley, every time he had to be groomed. Fourteen years of doggy scarves — talk about sentimental value. However, I’m so happy to have quilter friend Mary Lou Mate, who is equally happy to inherit the scarves for some future quilting project.

Maybe the funniest or strangest email came from someone (a guy) who apparently read only the headline in last week’s column and asked when I’m moving to a “Kondo.”


Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available on Amazon, at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]


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