Tidying Up

Over the holidays I discovered that I am was a sock torturer.  M.J. broke the news to me in bed by reading aloud from a book I’d given him for Christmas called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing  by  “tidying consultant” Marie Kondo.

“This lady says to ‘never, ever ball up your socks,’” he said,  glancing at me sideways as I dozed off over a copy of Wild.  “They should be resting right now and yours are doing anything but.”

The book has already sold 2 million copies in Japan and Europe so perhaps you’ve picked up your own copy and have already been admonished by Ms. Kondo to stop folding your socks into misshapen “potato-like lumps.”

If so, you’ve read how your socks “take a brutal beating in their daily work, trapped between your foot and your shoe, enduring pressure and friction to protect your precious feet.”

You probably already knew that the time they spend in your drawer is “their only chance to rest,” and that if you ball them up, they are in a constant state of tension when they should be “on holiday.”

Chastened, I decided to follow Kondo’s advice and take all my socks out of my sock drawer, discard the ones that no longer “sparked joy” and then carefully fold the rest before standing them on end in the drawer.

If you dare, look closely at my sock drawer full of misshapen sock balls in the Before photo above. Then take a gander at the neatly folded socks in this After shot.

After discarding nine joyless pairs (while thanking them for their years of dedicated service), I was left with 35 pairs of colored socks and 9 pairs of white sport socks.  As Kondo predicted, my newly folded socks take up half the space and are all easily visible.  Everyone/thing involved is breathing easier.

Kondo promises that once sorted and organized, your clothing will stay tidy with minimal effort.  Is her approach to clutter life-changing? We’ll see.  But for now at least, finding a pair of socks in the morning is pretty magical.

Does January find you trying new organization techniques?  If so, what and how?


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Kathryn Pritchett

writes about Things Elemental — where we find shelter, why we connect, what sustains us and how we strut our stuff.