Tidying Books, Papers and Kitchen Items.

Per the KonMari Method, I have  found all my books and put them in one spot on the floor.  I have sorted them into three basic categories and now will pick each one up to see if it sparks joy.  You might notice the yellow recycle bin in the foreground, as well as the paper shopping bag.  Shopping bag is for things going to Goodwill, recycle bin is for paper and I have a trash bag somewhere in the vicinity. IMG_3261

Here are some greatly loved books from my past that no longer need to stay with me.

I can no longer remember where I bought this book, perhaps at a thrift store, or used bookstore? But it was a seminal book in my young feminist life.  One story that sticks out is a girl talking about wearing pants to school to protest the rule that all girls must wear skirts.  My 1980s pants-every-day self was surprised to realize that fewer than 20 years prior, girls had to wear skirts or dresses to school every day.IMG_3262

Oh, how I adored this book, which told the story of a family that adopted many children from different countries in the 1940s and 1950s. I loved this book so much I stole it from my Reading teacher.  At least that is my memory, but I can’t quite make the memory of stealing it from my junior high school teacher jibe with the fact that it is stamped with my elementary school’s name.  Interestingly, I never felt guilty about stealing this book.  I think I knew that absolutely no one loved this book like I did.  And it looks like there is a new edition with an epilogue written by Helen Doss.  I could buy it for $26.00.    And here are some pictures of the family.


This was another favorite, because it had tragedy built right in. I was a fan of tragedy in my youth.  Also, when assigned to interview someone who lived through the Great Depression in eleventh grade History class, I blatantly disregarded the instructions and presented a book report instead.  It felt too weird to interview my very kind neighbor, so I chose a different path.  Amazingly, I got full credit, probably because the teacher liked me.  Best story from that assignment?  One of the boys–a football player, I can’t remember exactly who–said he tried to do the assignment and failed.  He was at the grocery store and asked a fellow customer if he could interview her.  She told him to leave him alone.  After we finished cracking up, the class argued he should get some points for the attempt.  I really loved that class.  Both the subject matter and the mix of kids combined with the teacher into a fabulous way to spend a class period. IMG_3264

Childhood of Famous Americans!  I read a ton of these books growing up. IMG_3265

Though I didn’t own any of them, I got them at the library. I bought this book to represent my childhood affection. IMG_3266 They were fun to read and illustrated.  Plus, I got to learn a lot about history.  I remember reading the book about Jane Addams (founder of Hull House) and being confused because I thought she was related to either of the President Adams.  I didn’t notice the difference in their names. Interestingly, the series hasn’t wandered off to the story graveyard, you can still buy the books.  They have new covers and have added subjects, but Barnes & Noble has 120 of them for sale.  Huzzah! IMG_3267

The books that remain, sorted into category. I’m finally going to pull the trigger on the shelves I’ve wanted for the front room, so they will soon have a happy new home. IMG_3268

Onto papers.  This is papers of the filing cabinet nature.  Marie Kondo and I are in sync here.  She gets rid of nearly everything.  Even bills.  I happily followed her lead. Because do you know the number of times I’ve looked back at all my carefully filed bills?  Zero!  I have looked zero times!  I now only have seven years worth of tax statements, information about my cats, and a few other things and THAT is it!  I’m hoping to downsize that file cabinet to a two-drawer soon.  But someone will also have to go through his files. Here are some fun things I discarded:

How fun it was for me to carefully fill out the order form and send away the film in the postage-paid envelope, only to have my photos appear in the mail (the mail!) with pre-printed stickers and address labels for next time.  And look how cheap it was!  Only $1.95 per 24-count roll!

Last time I used these photo mailers?  Probably in 2007, which was when I bought a digital camera.  So they’ve been hanging out in my file cabinet for eight years.  No longer!  Interestingly, York Photo still exists.  I can’t tell if they process film anymore, but I might look into them for my limited digital photo printing needs in the future.


Here is the carefully plotted and printed schematic for the quilt I made out of old pairs of jeans, favorite army pants and material from a favorite dress that I “grew” out of.  I definitely had more fun planning this quilt than making it. Along the way I learned that cutting and sewing together over 400 3″x3″ squares was all kinds of no fun.  I learned that making a quilt out of heavy material is a lot harder than making it out of cotton.

I had two parties to assist me in the finishing. One was a picnic in the park to baste the layers together. We had to do it in the park because my studio apartment wasn’t big enough to lay the whole thing out. One was a dinner for the MAunts to help along the tying off process, which also took forever.  After I was done, I was disappointed in how the colors came together.  The whole thing looked darker and the design didn’t pop like I thought it would.  However, said quilt is still in use today.  It comes out of storage every winter to add a warm layer to my bed.  I always cover it with a better looking comforter, but it’s the warm and heavy powerhouse in my bedding wardrobe.IMG_3272

Miss Kondo did not say that we had to go through all our food, but I was motivated to do so.  You know that food you really thought you were going to eat, but you just haven’t?  I wanted to do some culling.  This was a point where I felt overwhelmed, but the only way out was through (something I had to tell myself several times in this process) so I kept going and found my shelves neater than they were when I moved in. IMG_3275

I also took this opportunity to do something about my spice drawer which had grown out of control.  When we first moved in, I bought (too many) empty storage containers and carefully labeled them and kept them in a kitchen drawer.  But the drawer had grown messy and the some of the labels had fallen off and was I really going to eat those two huge containers of Sweet Paprika and Hot Paprika I was given in Hungary in 2008?  No.  So I dumped everything that I couldn’t remember using and put the ones I think I do still use in a container. Over the next couple of months I will move them back to the drawer as I use them.  Then, I can arrange the drawer more neatly and find a better labeling system.IMG_3276IMG_3277 After I did the food, I went though all the cooking devices.  That was overwhelming also, but ultimately worth it.

2 thoughts on “Tidying Books, Papers and Kitchen Items.”

  1. I was intrigued enough by your description of The Family That Nobody Wanted to see if my local library has it but it does not. 🙁

    Great job on the organizing! Not only does your home probably look better, but you got to take a walk down memory lane while you were at it. I think you’ve inspired me. We’ve moved so much that we don’t have a lot of extra stuff, but I can still see areas where I could minimize. Also, you reminded me that I want a spice rack really bad (<–words I never thought I'd say).

  2. Incredibly work. I am, again, as I have said in other comments, so impressed with your work and dedication. I am glad that you feel the difference in the space. It is nice that the work netted a result that really brings you joy!

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