Style: Tidying Up – A Short Part II on Folding

So a few people wanted a bit more information on the actual nitty gritty of the “Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up” process. Without reading the book there’s not much more I can tell you about the mental and emotional process but the physical side, I can offer some additional assistance for sure.

I really feel like this book is a good purchase for those who are interested (even if you think you’re only hesitantly interested, I recommend it) so I don’t want to give too much detail. Buy the book! It’s US$7.70 for the paperback! But I do want to go over some things that are hard to describe in words. Specifically, folding techniques. In her companion book, Spark Joy, author Marie Kondo mostly repeats herself to be quite honest but she also does have some moderately but not hugely helpful diagrams of folding. I thought to save your additional $10 I’d just take some pictures.

Now, I’m no expert. I’ve just started doing this. I’m new. So just … take all this with a grain of salt okay?

Her basic folding advice is to figure out how your clothing wants to be folded. In order to do this, you figure out how to fold it vertically in order to make it stand up more or less by itself (a note on this later), and to make the folds you’ve made “stick”. Let’s start small.

Socks.

One of the greatest revelations in the book is that socks don’t need to be folded over themselves to be kept together. Just fold them in halves or thirds depending on length, and line them up. Kondo says that this helps the socks to rest after the hard work of being between your foot and the ground or your shoe all the damn time, you monster.

Underwear gets a little bit more complex, and yet still very beautiful. Firstly can we talk about how much I love you all that I’m showing you my underwear? Not the fancy stuff. That’s for my husband’s eyes only. Deal with it. Here we go.

You want to fold the crotchal region up, then the outsides towards the inside, then in half again. Donezo!

T-shirts are a little more confusing and complex. I had a head start with this method because this is more or less how my husband has always folded his shirts (because his mum folded them like this, clever lady). Like the underwear, you want to make a rectangle then smaller rectangles (in fact that describes the majority of folding techniques in this method).

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Still with me? Okay so what about jeans & pants, I hear you say? Right. The key for pants is to tuck in the pointy crotch bit. ……………..

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Aaaaanyway. Observe! First, fold the legs against each other and fold the legs in half.

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Then – and this is key – fold the crotch point in. Sometimes I tuck it underneath the lower part of the legs but for the purpose of this photo I left the crotch point on top.

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Then you want to fold the jeans into thirds.

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I find that this is the number of folds to make pants and jeans the most stable. Depending on the fabric, length of legs and how you’re going to store them, this may be different for you. You might need more folds, or less (shorts would be fine in half, I think). It’s trial and error – use your judgment.

Same kinda thing for leggings, though you may find that they need additional folds for reasons described above:

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Tank tops are relatively straightforward – just make sure you fold the straps on the inside to keep things neat and to keep any fragile straps (which I don’t own, for huge boob reasons) protected. Again it’s just rectangles inside rectangles to make a neat rectangle.

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Now this next one is challenging. I am still working on getting better at these. The dreaded long sleeve shirt. Now, the basic method stays the same. Create a rectangle then smaller rectangles. It’s just hard because there’s more fabric. The key, I think, is to make the sleeves fold as flat against the first rectangle as possible. Like so:

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I didn’t bother taking pics of the rest of this, because it is mostly is exactly the same as the first shirt after this point. Fold one side of the shirt + sleeve in as usual then bring that sleeve back in line with the folded side. I hope this makes sense. Let me know if it doesn’t and I’ll try to take better pictures but I was running out of time (and space) at this point!

So, I wanted to also add a couple of notes about storage. The way you fold is going to be heavily influenced by how much room you have. For instance, if you have a long drawer and you don’t have enough stuff to fill the length of the drawer then you might have things falling over. These things should be posted with the “clean fold” up, and the open edge of the rectangle on the bottom of the drawer. That makes them more stable. But if they’re still flopping over the place and you don’t think they could benefit from different amounts of folds, then put them into boxes (shoeboxes work great for this) and put the boxes into drawers. Like I did with my pants and thermals:

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Kondo also talks about making your folded clothing into “bento boxes” – different folding directions and patterns can be very aesthetically pleasing ūüôā So I’ve been trying out different patterns with that too – including setting my tights on end like sushi rolls, lol.

I hope this helps with the folding technique questions!

I’m going to do a Favorites post soon, sorry I’ve been so neglectful but life has been fucking bonkers lately. I still love you guys I SWEAR! I’m going to try to be more organised for February.

As always, let me know if you have any requests for posts!

Love++
F&V

 

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Style: My “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” Experience

That’s right, I jumped on the bandwagon. Sue me. Give it a go. I have a great lawyer.

But no really, when I first read about this book I was skeptical. From what I was reading,¬†the author¬†recommended a lot of purging. Like, a lot. And I’m by no means a hoarder but I am quite materialistic so that made me a little nervous.

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My husband and I come from different backgrounds and we hold onto things for different reasons. I was worried that her recommendations would be too much upheaval for our household. It was important to me that I was respectful to his feelings. But I also strongly felt that I had too much stuff to ever feel like I had a tidy home.

A note on our home: we live in around 270 square feet of apartment space.¬†For you Aussies and Brits and every single other country on earth, that’s about 26 square metres. Yep. It is insanely small. When you live in a small space, untidiness is not only more noticeable, it is really in your face and I found myself constantly trying to tidy which subsequently made me feel quite stressed out.

So I decided to give this book a try. A lot of people I knew and trusted had followed it with great success and none of them seemed to be sobbing with regret, or missing discarded items terribly. In fact, they all sung its praises.

So, let’s talk about the premise. Marie (Kondo, author) is a tidying guru in Japan. Her seminars book out instantly. She has a 3-6 month waiting list of clients. She’s hardcore. She advocates having ONLY what you need and what “sparks joy”, and discarding everything that does not meet these criteria. She uses that phrase a lot – “spark joy”. I’m going to be really honest with you. I’m still not clear on what exactly that means. There are some things I own that are necessary to my life, that I use all the time, that would be a great hindrance if I lost them – that do not ~~spark joy~~ in my heart when I touch them. But I like them? I love some of them? I feel like this book likes to attribute characteristics to objects that, to me, they do not hold. But that’s okay – I get her point. Keep things that you feel good about. Don’t keep stuff just “because”. Sure, ok!

I started with clothes. I got rid of a tonne of things that I had either not worn ever, or hardly ever worn, or that didn’t fit. I didn’t think I had any “maybe one day” items but turns out I did. No. Stop that. You deserve all of your clothing to be able to fit you now (unless you are pregnant etc in which case of course your entire wardrobe should not consist of maternity wear, that shit’s gonna end one day) so get rid of anything that doesn’t fit right or that doesn’t suit you.

One of the main tips she gives is to “thank” each item before sending it on its way. I like this! Instead of just callously trashing an item, thank it for whatever role it fulfilled in your life for however long (even if it was just “thanks for teaching me what styles DONT suit me”) was something that made me feel better about ditching things. She also talks about treating your items kindly, for example, don’t ball up your socks – just fold them because they have been working very hard and it’s nice for them to have a rest in your drawers, not be balled up and stretched all the time.¬†Ok, sure, that makes sense. And it looks attractive. Bonus!

However, here is where I want to start in on my first “con” of very few cons. Sometimes, feeling that way about things makes them harder to discard, not easier. If you anthropomorphize objects too much, you run the risk of feeling guilty for throwing them away. For example, she talks about gifts. If the gift itself is not something you see yourself using, then the purpose of the gift is in the giving, in the care that someone took whilst choosing it and wrapping it for you, yes? Sure. That was its original purpose. But then I would think about how the person who gave it to me might feel, depending on the item’s significance. And that made it harder to give things away. Thoughts like “just because this [item] has a hole in it / is missing is pair, or because I don’t use it, doesn’t mean I should just throw it away, it served me well!” began to permeate. But – yes it does. It does mean that. So the respect/love-for-items philosophy can be a double-edged sword.

Ultimately I felt like the winning strategy for me was to just think of the end result. Will I ever think of this item again? Will there come a time when I think “gosh, I know tossing that shirt out made my place tidier but AT WHAT COST? IF ONLY I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW ABOUT MY IMMEDIATE REQUIREMENT FOR THAT SHIRT AND NO OTHER SHIRT”? Almost certainly not was the answer in most cases.

The other great thing that I took from this book is how to fold things to be as neat and tidy, and, not gonna lie, aesthetically pleasing as possible. God, it’s so beautiful. She advocates the vertical storage method which is absolutely genius tbh. I had kind of done that with my t-shirts, because our set of drawers is not great and the drawers don’t really come out the whole way… that’s another story. But she said to store EVERYTHING this way, and I really see what she’s saying about this. It works great and looks really attractive and aesthetically pleasing on an organizational level. Let’s take a look at some highlights. I wish I had before pictures! But I don’t. So here we are.

IMG_0054Socks, tanks

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T-shirts

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Jeans, pants

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Pants, thermals, jarmie pants & sweats

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Hanging stuff – I tossed about half of this!

It was astonishing to me how much room I had left after I folded everything this way. I think that’s also because I got rid of a lot of things that I didn’t see myself wearing, and donated some warm stuff that I found I wasn’t wearing even though the weather was right for it. I took a large box of stuff to the local homeless shelter and threw out some stuff that wasn’t in great condition.

The rest of it didn’t hugely apply to me, honestly. We didn’t have a scrap of kitchenware (apart from a couple of very special pieces we got for our wedding which have not even been unpacked) so we bought or borrowed only EXACTLY what we needed and nothing more. We have two pasta bowls, four plates, four forks, four knives, three white wine glasses, etc etc. So not much work needed to be done there.

The other quite challenging part was my makeup. Now, you wouldn’t think having moved here in April would mean I had accumulated a tonne more makeup but you would be so wrong. Where have you been?! Anyway, there was a fair bit. There were a lot of items I’d purchased from the drugstore to “do dupe reviews” but that kinda never happened and I didn’t love them so they all went into the giveaway box. Same with things that were expired, and there was a decent amount of that too (sob, bye Chanel foundation). I had a kitchen-sized trash can full of stuff to throw out, and an overflowing shoebox to give away.

If I’m really real, I probably still have too much. But I’m only human.

I feel like this post ended up quite a bit longer than I planned (of course), so I will end it here. I also picked up Kondo’s new book, the “sequel” if you will, Spark Joy – An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. I haven’t read a lot of it yet, but it appears to be a little bit of repetition of the first book, honestly. It DOES however have some illustrations for some of the more complex folding techniques she recommends which I have found VERY helpful!

So all in all, this was an extremely positive experience and I feel that I will really continue to utilize these techniques and hone them as I build a home for my family.

Would anyone be interested in a blog post that goes into any more detail than this one, on any particular subject? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Love++
F&V

Life Stuff: The Role of New Friends in Reducing Homesickness

A few months ago, I wrote a post about being unbelievably homesick. I was in a pretty bad place. But all the incredible support I got following that post made me feel so much better. I got a few messages of solidarity that honestly were so touching and so affirming, like my feelings weren’t unreasonable and like the depth of my loss was not as outrageous as I secretly hoped it wasn’t. Phew!

So I’m insanely happy to tell you guys that I am doing way better. Life is feeling pretty good right now. And the major thing that changed is that we, and more importantly, I, made some fantastic friends.

When Ray started his job, we arranged a gathering of a bunch of the other law clerks and their partners. I worried that they wouldn’t like me, or that I was boring and that I wouldn’t fit in. But I needn’t have worried – they were so welcoming and as eager to make friends as Ray and I were, so that is what happened.

We started going to pub trivia every week and we have been moderately successful. Each night has a theme and some themes are more to our collective (or, indeed, individual, I’m looking at you on 90s boyband night LK & HR) strengths than others, but really that’s not the point. It gets us out of our apartment to somewhere that isn’t our respective places of employment.¬† We look forward to it so much. Our group is funny, smart and so much fun.

And that’s not to say that our jobs suck, either. I feel so fulfilled by my work, I truly love it. And I work with some incredible people who inspire me, crack me up, support me and teach me new things every day. The only reason we don’t hang out more after work is that they all have lil families they need to get home to, or second jobs. But I adore them so much.

The true nugget of this post though that I really want to dig down to, is how much I value the three girlfriends I have made within the group that started with Ray’s colleagues. The four of us all come from fairly different backgrounds, and have different jobs (even within the same vocation), and I love it. I love the intellectual stimulation, I love the hilarious stories about our families and the time to have, as cheesy as it is, girl-talk without partners around. I love the lack of pretense and the fact that we have all come to rely on each other for ways to stay sane in this small town.

I miss my girlfriends back home absolutely no less. I miss them like a big ol’ hole in my heart (… ahem.. excuse me while I pull myself together after typing that, it is unseemly to cry at the laundromat). But having a new group has been absolutely thoroughly crucial, absolutely key, to my (and our) newfound happiness in this sleepy little town in Vermont. It’s amazing how much more tolerable a previously intolerable situation becomes with some good, real friends around you. It turns out everyone was right: finding awesome friends DOES just take time. But even with that, I’m not sure everyone gets as lucky as I have been in this particular instance.

So in saying all that, this post is for you, CC. You know who you are. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for everything. You saved my sanity, and you brought the four of us together, and I may never be able to repay you. You opened my eyes and my mind to a lot of things I had never considered before (you Vermontified me a little bit!). And to the other 2 corners of our now-triangle: here’s to a 2016 of girls’ dinners, wine nights at Brix, maybe some snowshoeing? What even is that.. Tennis racquet shoes?! Hmmm. Anyway – I’m so excited and so grateful. Let’s do this.

Love+++
F&V