The catch all room in my house is my parent’s master bedroom, when in doubt of where to put things… the answer is always put it in mom’s and dads’ room. It’s the room that we must always have closed when we have company over, the mess is just too embarrassing to let anyone else, but us, in on. It is like our second garage and additional closet for my brother and I. Through the years I’ve watched the room get crazier and crazier as it would acquire more random stuff. I always had the desire to one day clean that room and make it deserving of the tittle of the ‘master suite’.
Entering the screen is Marie Kondo; she is a petite Japanese woman who is dresses business casual, is soft spoken, wears a pleasant smile on her face, has a calm energy, and claims to loves mess. Her Netflix show premise is she wants to help Americans declutter their homes. Sounds harmless, however, as the show carries on she doesn’t change her clothes. I mean I get that this is tv but come on! She’s helping people clean out their garages and their closets … yeah, I am not buying this. There is no way this is actually real life, reality tv has just taken it too far! This adorable lady Marie is not actually going to help people clean their homes with a cardigan on. Mary Poppins exists in Disney films not on Netflix specials. But there she was, and she was actually in the mess too. The main concept behind her method is taking an item and asking whether or not it brings you joy, if it does you keep it, if doesn’t you thank it for being in your life, and you let it go. Knowing my mom, I already know she’s thinking this lady is too much. But there is something about those before and after shows that are just so addictive that a few episodes later it had me thinking ‘I could totally do that!’
My parents canopy bed is now the home to every single item of clothing in my parent’s bedroom, why have we done something so crazy? Well, Marie Kondo says it’s best to see all items out all at once so that when we ask ourselves if it brings us joy, we would have to physically hold each item and decide. That is the magic to her method and what makes it so different. That doesn’t make it any easier, the task of taking everything out is really daunting. Once we saw how high of a pile we had accumulated we wished we never attempted this in the first place. But we had to push our doubts to the side and focus on Marie’s next step, which was to sort everything into a category. We now had to sort each item into either the donation pile, the keep pile, the trash pile, or the sentimental pile (this is dealt with at the very end because it’s harder to go through). Since my parents are in their early 60s and had accumulated a lot of stuff, I knew me and my mom were in for a full day of work.
What a disaster! Sure, at this point it’s an organized disaster but still it was unsetting to see how much stuff was actually hiding in my parents’ room. Trying to walk from one side of the room to the other looked like we were playing hopscotch. The donation pile on the floor was now at the height of the dresser and we had multiple trash bags scattered around the room as we kept finding stuff that couldn’t be donated. It was at this point that my mom really started to loose it, “oh my god this is freaking ridiculous! We’re making an even bigger mess in here than what we started with!” She was right, but I had that perfect end result in my head, I could picture Marie’s calm energy in the room telling us to focus and get the job done. “Mom, don’t freak out about this mess right now, just focus on what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of.” On the show it always gets crazy before it gets clean. I’ll give the show that, it was very real about the mess we were about to welcome into our home.
Almost every old clothing item was followed by a cry from my mom, “that is so ugly! I can’t believe I used to wear this!” The deeper we got into the closet the more I was reminded of the mom from my childhood. However, for my mom it was more of a reminder of the clothes that she now felt embarrassed by. My mom’s go-to pants back in the day were these elasticated colorful pants with the wide pant leg, an everyday staple in my mom closests from my childhood and luckily for me they just keep coming up. What this also meant was I was constantly hearing my mom say things like “oh my god this is so outdated!” and “who the hell is going to want this at the thrift store?!” and the most reoccurring comment from my mom was “we should just throw this away, even for FREE no one is going to want this!” I had to keep reminding my mom, “someone will want it trust me! Besides were not trying to send more trash into the earth.” The shear mass of stuff we had in the room was enough to fill two garbage cans, but since thrift stores accept almost everything, it makes more sense to donate it all. Sure, almost everything had a shoulder pad on it, but that because shoulder pads were IT in the 80’s.
Packing the car with our donations was a task in itself. This part was not on the tv show, on the show they jump from full trash bags to folding clothes. Having to make multiple trips down to the car was the worst. At this point me and my mom have probably clocked in at least 5 hours just trying to sort through the bedroom. In just clothes alone, we had over 8 trash bags sitting in the backseat of the car. When we first watched the show, my mom could not believe how many trash bags other people had acclimated, flash to today where she had the same amount of trash bags too. The only reason the back seat was holding our lovely lavender scented trash bags of clothes was because the trunk was occupied with all the other things we had found. In the trunk was all the old outdated décor, unwanted Christmas gifts, tacky souvenirs, and a bunch of old glassware. All these items were hiding almost sight unseen over the years because of all the other stuff that was in the room.
Desert Industries are pros at getting you to let go of your crap. This mega sized thrift store has a drive thru area in the back. Once we drove over the cable it alerted a worker to come out and help us unload. They have multiple shelf style carts set up that are organized by category so as we unloaded the car each of our bags were placed with similar type of items. The process is unbelievably painless and since the staff members took each item to those carts for us, all my mom and I had to do was take the donations physically out of our car. Finally we weren’t alone and just like that, in a matter of minutes all our 5 hours of hard work were gone, it was almost like it never really happened. We had made it out alive!
Coming back home, the dust had settled in my parents’ room and honeslty, if it weren’t for the remaining items hanging out on the bed, I think we would have stopped. However there was no ignoring the empty closet and dressers, so instead we had to power through and continue working. At this point though, I could have used the real-life Marie Kondo in the room. She is famous for her folding methods and ability to organize clothes. I mean the woman makes a living doing this so of course she would be. But this was when I wished I could have my Japanese Mary Poppins come in make it all go away!
There is nothing more satisfying than seeing this room organized like this! Sure, my parents have always been good at keeping their clothes separate, dad is on the left and mom is on the right. But now we have achieved real life Pinterest goals! Every type of clothing has a designated spot. My mother’s side is categorized by item such as her dresses, her skirts, type of pants, type of shirts, and then all her outer layers. My dad’s side is done the same way except we incorporated a color-coded scheme since he really only wears blue or green. The shoes were organized by season for both, and the dressers where organized by the order clothes were needed. But the most significant part of it all is that there is so much less stuff! Once we got rid of the stuff that never should of been there in the first place, the room opened up and breathed, and boy did that room breathe.
What was once the embarrassment of our house was now the star of the house. The room had a personality of its own now, and every part of the room was organized. With the use of baskets, boxes, and organizers in the drawers, we were able to keep things tidy as well make it so we could find stuff again. Throughout this process with my mom I learned the true meaning of items being able to bring joy. The amount of pride my mom got when she saw things from my childhood was really heart warming. An old perfect attendance trophy from elementary school was able to make her re-live the time was I was her little girl and for that reason alone she wanted to keep it. Decluttering the Marie Kondo way ended up giving us so much more than a clean room. It also gave us an appreciation for all the things we have around us and showed us what was really valuable in our home.