I tried the Marie Kondo method (well, ish, anyway) to organize my small bedroom, and it didn't just help free up space. Going through my things reminded me of people I love and who love me, great trips, and it also helped me to let go of some things that no longer serve me. I thought it was a bit silly before, but I now recommend it. Have you tried it before?

I may be neat and tidy, but I still needed some bedroom organization

Into every small apartment dweller’s life, bedroom organization must fall. Specifically, four trash bags, five empty boxes, four bags of recycling, and a box full of clothes and miscellany to donate.

My mom will laugh reading this (I was a seriously messy kid), but I’m neat and tidy—I make my bed every day, pick up my clothes (most days), and keep a generally uncluttered space in my bedroom. While I’m not the best sleeper (if I ever try to give you advice on getting better sleep, you have my permission to tell me that I’m full of poo), I do know how to keep a tranquil space.

Except for that box of craft supplies from the early aughts lurking in a dusty box under my bed.

And shoes that I’ll never wear again piled up in the closet.

My Yoga stuff not really stashed under the bed, even if it was reasonably out of sight.

And ancient note cards I’ll never send. Those were everywhere.

Frames that will never work in this space.

And an unholy (well, hole-y) pile of old tights socked away in my sock drawer.

An organization challenge

In the time since I lived here, no one lived in the apartment right next door until the beginning of this month. I got a bit entitled and used some of our shared hallway space for a bit of storage. I have but one real closet in this space, and well … I could have really used a few square feet of extra room. It wasn’t anything horrid, just some spare plant pots that I don’t want to part with, but it would not be neighborly of me to just leave it.

So I didn’t. My plant pots sat in the living room for a couple of days, taunting me, until I figured out how to get them (mostly) under the kitchen table. I plan on repotting some things anyway, I thought.

I looked around my apartment, though, and seeing where clutter had seeped through and realized that I needed to make more space here. And that I could, if I actually went through all of my crap.

I started with my 9×10 bedroom, because I remembered that box of craft supplies.

Marie Kondo-ishing my Bedroom

Have you ever Kondo-ed? I hadn’t. I’ve certainly sorted through things before and did a reasonably thorough job of it before moving here two years ago. I got rid of a ton of stuff, but ran out of energy toward the end (I knew that there were some things in that craft box I wanted to keep, so I just grabbed the whole thing).

The first time I heard about Marie Kondo, I believe, was from my dear old friend Julia (who definitely sparks joy, and you can find her blog about her new life in Singapore over at Overyummed). My confession is that I’ve never read Marie Kondo’s book or watched her Netflix show, but I’ve been alive in these times, so I think that I’ve sort of absorbed the concept.

My version of Kondo-ishing my bedroom involved taking everything out of my closet, drawers, and under my bed, and evaluating whether or not it sparked, if not joy, at least necessity. Do bras spark joy? No, taking bras off sparks joy. But you know, I live in society, so I just tossed the one in the depths of my drawer that I hadn’t worn since I moved here.

Otherwise, though, I took everything out, and evaluated it. I made three piles: Keep, Toss, and Donate and got to work.

Toss and Donate

Things I tossed and donated:

  • Directions to a first date I went out on in 2004 (but I totally kept the bag—the bag is so cool)
  • Work notebooks from 2018 and 2019 (open concept office)
  • So. Many. Chargers
  • Stuffing from my camera bag?
  • I probably don’t need so many leftover holiday cards for office friends
  • I still have those shoes?
  • Frames that don’t fit anything I have
  • You know, that scarf is cool, just not on you
  • Boxes from things I bought online, in case I needed to return something
  • What even is this?

As I went on to under the bed and my dresser, though, I started to feel lighter. There were things I had carried that didn’t serve me anymore. I carried them because I thought I had felt an obligation to them. Adding those things to the Toss and Donate piles liberated me from that obligation. It sounds silly—I feel a bit silly writing this—but I feel freer.

I dropped a small bag of clothes off at the drop box around the corner, and I set up a little Alston Christmas in October box. By the end of the day, it was all gone—someone even took the box. May those things serve their new people well.


And then there were the things I kept. My youngest niece has made me some heartfelt (and, for her age, shockingly skilled) treasures. Missives from my youngest niece and nephew, too. Cards from dear ones. And scarves that look good one me.

That bag that contained the note, and another one that, while I don’t use it now, I love, and reminds me of good times. A hysterical note from my mom from when she sent me a newspaper clipping she knew I would find hilarious.

An autographed Spamalot program from the last dress rehearsal before it opened (I *just* missed Tim Curry).

Photos from some early trips.

Hand printed invites to potlucks that my friend Johanna used to make.

The joy, it sparkles. But some of it was more serious.

My journals. I still have some of the same questions.

The last Christmas card I got from a friend before she was diagnosed with cancer. She died a few months later.

One memento from a friendship that has ended, because it reminds me of how much fun we once had.

Organizing my bedroom reminded me that I am loved

In looking through these things I pulled out from my closet or under my bed, I felt loved. I felt happy remembering old adventures.

In my little closet, I set up a shelf with a few things from my nephew and nieces. I tied up the rest with a ribbon.

Who knew I could get so much out of bedroom organization? My room now genuinely feels tranquil. Not bad for a few hours’ work.

Alas, however, it still has bras in it. Because I live in society.

Have you gone through your things in this way before? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments!


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