Girl Vs What Bathroom

What Didn’t Go Wrong

My friends got me through this week. They got me showered, they got me meals, they got my rocks moved out of my driveway and into the backyard.

This must be understood to make the rest of this story bearable.

What Bathroom

Monday morning, I took my last bath in my bathroom. I got up early, took a bath, and went to work. I didn’t take a bath with bubbles and bombs and fancy fragrances. It wasn’t about making a memory. I hated my bathroom. It was moldy and outdated and it had shower doors. Which are gross. The doors, the tracks. Stupid on a bath tub. So I wasn’t there to savor the moment. I had to take a bath because my shower head broke off about a month ago. Not unscrewed, broke off completely. I could have fixed it, but with a full remodel already planned, I lived with it.

I also had my last moments on my toilet. Something you really don’t appreciate until it is gone. But it is gone now. So is my water and my power, turned off for the reno. With no bathroom, water, or entertainment at home, I didnt have much to go home to. Every day this week I worked late or stayed out late so I wouldn’t have to pee when I got home, then I got up early and went to work or starbucks to pee. It worked out, except I am really fucking tired now.

What Happens When You Lose Sleep

When you lose sleep, you also lose your mind. And your purse. In my sleep-deprived vampired state, I set my purse down next to my car and drove away.

I went to work to shower and do my laundry and use the internet. Things I often do at my office.

But you know what I needed to get into my office?

The keycard.

But where is the keycard?

In my purse of course.

Where is my purse?

God only knows.

Brightside: my wallet and phone were not in it. And I suspect my neighbor has my purse and will get it back to me.

But right now, this girl is not winning.

 

Girl Vs. Tidy: Clothes

By the Book

First of all, I have to say that Marie Kondo is omniscient and omnipresent.  She may as well have been standing in my living room with me while I piled my clothes up there.  Her voice in my head saying “if an item of clothing isn’t here, you have to throw it out when you find it.”

So I checked my spare bedroom. I already pulled out my bag of dresses and graphic tees from there.  Clear.
I double checked my bedroom.  Closet empty. But there were some things on the floor next to the bed. Add to the pile.
Checked the car.  Yup.  A hoodie and some shoes in there.  Add to the pile.
Checked my office. Yup.  A pair of jeans, workout clothes, a cardigan, and an ugly shirt I once wore to the Hollywood Bowl.  Add to the pile.

My piles are now impressive.

start_colage

My living room is now filled with my clothes.  Time to begin.

Top of the List: Tops

My first item was really hard.  A snake skin tshirt.

one

It doesn’t look like much, but my first inclination was to keep it.  Although I’ve only worn it maybe once, it seems like the perfect top to wear with a black suit.

Do I have a black suit? No.  But I might someday.

If I did have a black suit, would this be your first choice to wear with it?

Now I was getting somewhere.  This line of thinking ACTUALLY helped.  Remember, this is supposed to be about JOY.  Does this shirt make me happy?  Would it be the first shirt I reached for to pair with this imaginary beautiful black suit?

Maybe not.

Looking at my giant pile of tops there, I saw at least 3 things I would rather pair with my perfectly wonderful imaginary black suit.

To put the nail in the coffin on this shirt, I tried it on.  The drapey neckline annoyed the crap out of me.

Finally!  A real emotion.  Something tangible.  Something I can work with.

Annoyed = not joy = thank you and good bye

And so it went for the rest of my Saturday.  Through the tops.

A blue top that I bought for work that is too pale and casual-looking. Good bye.

A black tank top with a weird ribbon detail on it.  Thank you for teaching me that plain black tank tops bring me joy.

An orange tunic, a green tunic.  Flowy and tropical, but the good version of you would fit me.  Thank you and good bye.

Lessons Learned

After tops, I did my hanging tops, winter coats & accessories, pajamas & workout clothes, socks & underwear & leggings, and pants.  Here are a few things that helped me say good bye to clothes that I cherished at some point in their lives.

#1 The good version of this item exists in my closet or out in the world.  This is not it.

I love the colors pink and blue.  The right shade of these colors makes me feel happy and powerful.  That means the pink striped shirt that is too tight is NOT the right version of this item, so it’s time for it to go.  Same goes for the black v neck t shirt that is too tight. And the old purple halter top.  They all brought me joy at the time I bought them, but there is a better version of them in the world.  That concept made it easy for me to get rid of a lot.

#2 Joy is the only rule.

When I looked at my clothes this time around, I realized that I had the whole rainbow of colors in many of my items.  But there are just a handful of colors that really make me happy.  Blue, pink, really fun prints, black & white & gray.  As a blond, I think a lot of colors look good on me, but there is no REASON to own every color.  I had grey leggings and brown leggings and blue leggings… and I don’t even wear leggings that much!  My torso is long, so even long tops don’t cover my butt enough to wear leggings except under dresses.  And I have plenty of nice slipshorts & shapewear shorts to wear under dresses that I don’t need the rainbow of colors in leggings.  My point is, you don’t NEED pants or tops or dresses in every color.  I suggest throwing these ideas and other “fashion” rules out the window.  Even a professional stylist will tell you that you can make a lot of great outfits with a reasonable amount of basic clothes and adding accessories.  And those items should be things you love.  They should make you feel happy & powerful.

#3 Purpose of clothes is to be worn.

I had a lot of stuff in my wardrobe that was too small or that I simply didn’t have occasion to wear.  I did keep a few things that made me happy even though they were a little small, but something that helped me get rid of more clothing this time than ever before was remembering that items have a purpose.  Clothing is meant to be worn.  If I am not going to wear it because it is too small, it is selfish and silly to keep it.  There are people out there that ARE this size.  They can use these clothes.

These 3 concepts really helped me ditch my jeans.

Before jeans: 29  After jeans: 14

I have a huge ass. But it is still 1 ass. 1 ass doesnt need 29 pairs of jeans

jeans

#1 The good version of this item… is this it?

I asked myself with each pair of jeans… If all your jeans were clean and available, would you pick these?

#2 Joy is the only rule.

I don’t NEED light jeans and dark jeans and skinny jeans and capri jeans and jean shorts.  I kept the jeans that make me feel good when I wear them.

#3 Purpose of clothes is to be worn.

Cute jeans that aren’t my size?  Good bye.

Pro Tips

# 1 Do your laundry.

I had a lot of clothes that I thought was okay, and I didn’t mind wearing it.  But the joy test requires really thinking about what the good version of those okay clothing items are.  If you have all your clothes clean and sitting together, you can see this more clearly. I realized that my favorite navy hooded sweatshirt was the one right hoodie when I saw all my hoodies together.  And I got rid of the hoodies that didn’t live up to the standard of this best one.

#2 Get Out of Your Closet

Doing my sort in my living room helped for a few reasons.  I wasn’t thinking about storage, I was thinking about purging.  I didn’t simply slide things from one side of the closet to the other, nor did I hang anything back in there while I was sorting.  I suggest you get one of these. (or something similar for drying clothes)

rack

When you decide you are keeping a dress or another hanging item, hang it on this rack instead of shoving it back in your closet without thinking about proper storage theories.

#3 Be Ready to Try Stuff On

Wear a good bra (one that puts your boobs in the right place) and light shorts/slip shorts so you can try stuff on. Clothes purpose is to be worn, after all.  Something might be “your size” but without trying it on, you might not see that it hangs on your body weirdly now. Or that that awesome dress you bought at Athleta 2 summers ago hits you below the knee and looks bad because of that.

Closing This Chapter Opened Me Up

This was not easy.  I hope my blog is positive and entertaining, but I want you all to know that this process was fucking hard.  I LOVE my clothes.  And from the start, I saw a few items that I knew would be easy to part with but more items that would be hard.  I remembered buying nearly every SINGLE piece of clothes that I owned. I remembered wearing all of them as well.  The good days at work in my brown riding boots and that cute winter dress, getting compliments from friends on hot summer days when I wore that tiny red dress, the dear friend who gave me the striped shirt that matches one that she still wears.  And you know what? Using the KonMarie method I was able to part with all these items.
 Going through my clothes and having all these intense memories alone on a Saturday night wasn’t easy.  I am naturally a shy person.  I often keep my feelings to myself, and sometimes I don’t get emotionally involved in a lot things.  I find this to be very good for managing my stress at work, but in my personal life, I have the right… I have the need to be emotional.  Taking this time to look at my clothes has had a real impact on my life.  For an entire weekend, it was my thoughts and feelings and opinions that mattered.  Nothing else.  And because this was something I need to do, I didn’t have to feel guilty about any of it.  I need to get my house in order for a number of reasons, and plenty of those reasons aren’t selfish.
Once again, Marie Kondo is a genius in all things. Starting with clothes really opened me up emotionally to even judge when objects give me joy, and put me in the mindset to be powerful enough to be emotional and push forward with getting my house in order. Now I begin to see my things like exboyfriends who introduced me to ideas or people that are now valid in my life.  And that is kind of amazing.
Bags of clothing donated: 5.5
bags_clothing

Girl Vs. the Obstinate Ass: Rain

When It Rains

I like the rain.  I really do.  Living in LA, I get enough sun and heat. I day dream about places like Scotland and Seattle.

But this week it didn’t just rain.  It poured.  And accomplishing anything, especially being healthy and doing any physical activity went right down the drain.

Monday I had the day off work, but I went in to finish something before the rush of Tuesday’s craziness hit me.  Sometimes I do my daily burn workouts at the office, too. So that was a possibility. Then I got a call from my contractor asking to meet early, so I had to rush home for that.  So Monday was over.

Tuesday.  Work was nuts and then my hand started hurting while I was out at the movies.  Like a small pain.  But then it turned into really awful my-hand-is-frozen-in-pain-sickles pain.  And one of my coworkers was out to take care of her sick kids, adding more work to my plate.

Wednesday.  Work was nuts and my hand only got worse.  Mumbling “ouch” “god” and “shit” whenever you type or hold a pen is not a fun or productive way to get through long days at work.  Then my contractor tells me he needs me to clear my driveway before Saturday.  Yard work and cleaning up that mess in my driveway had been my only source of physical activity before the holidays and sinus infection. But moving bags of pebbles is no picnic with 2 good hands and daylight.  With one hand down and the sun setting HOURS before I get home from work when all my coworkers are actually here, things are looking grim.

Then it started raining.

When it rains it pours.  Literally raining in LA floods the streets and ruins traffic.  I had an idea that I would get home and do some of that yard work. When I got home, exhaustion and depression set in.  I told my contractor the driveway clean up would be impossible.

And I went to bed.

Thursday. The sun came out.  Sure I have tendentious in my right hand, so much to do at work and at home that my head might explode, but it did stop raining and my coworkers made it back to work to take some pressure off the rest of us.  Actually went for a walk in the afternoon, too.  Kind of a miracle after the way this week started.

Girl Vs. the Obstinate Ass

Girl Vs the Most Obstinate Thing in the World

One of my many favorite half-read books is Stephen King’s 11-22-63.  Without giving too much away, the book is about time travel.  And changing things in the past is hard for our characters because “time is obstinate, it is not want to be changed.”

I am sure have all encountered such problems in our lives.  For me the most obstinate thing is my ass.  My butt.  My booty. My glutenous hugeous.

According to the American Heritage dictionary:

obstinate

adjective

  1. a. Stubbornly adhering to an attitude, opinion, or course of action; obdurate.
    b. Characterized by such adherence: an obstinate refusal.
  2. Difficult to manage, control, or treat: an obstinate problem; an obstinate headache.

source: http://www.yourdictionary.com/obstinate#americanheritage

I’d say my ass is difficult to manage, control and treat.  And it obstinately refuses to get any smaller.

And I’m not saying a big booty is a terrible thing to have.  I like having something going on back there, but I also would like to be a more healthy weight.  Be stronger. Be able to run a little faster and farther.  But my ass, like time, is obstinate.

2015 Problems

I had a very bad issue with my IT band.  It hurt, so I decided to rest for a few months and do pilates a few times a week for a few months before running again.  So far I’ve done pilates 3 times.  Since July.

2016 Vampired

I have a low energy problem now.  Due to iron deficiency, low vitamin D, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise.  Basically I feel like I’m being vampired (that’s when a vampire visits you in your sleep and drains you of your blood and makes you crave french fries and chocolate all day).  This is a physical problem, but it is also in some ways just a bad feeling.  Both things can be overcome.  I have decided to overcome this by getting back into my daily walking routine (15 to 30 mins per day of light walking), dancing, and doing Daily Burn pilates.

More Like Weekly Burn

Sat Jan 23
I danced to 1 song and attempted 10 minutes of pilates.  Best workout I’ve had in months!

Sun Jan 31
I danced to one song and COMPLETED my first Daily Burn workout.  It was a pilates stretch class, 10 minutes.  I couldn’t do all the exercises, but very happy about it anyway.

One day this week I danced to a whole song.  Elle King’s “X’s and O’s.”  It was fun, but that was a hard thing to do.  Seriously tired and out of breath afterwards.  It is now my goal to do this every day.  Dance to one song every day.  Seems doable. But in my experience doable does not mean done.  Hence the obstinate.

 

Girl Vs. Tidy: The Small Victories

Jan 30, 2016

The Small Victories

I started sorting my clothes enough to actually use them (they had mostly been on a chair in one big pile).  The goal was to sort my clothes enough for temporary use (somewhat accomplished) and get started on my DVDs this weekend (not so much accomplished).  I don’t consider any of this part of my KonMari tidy, but at least I am getting prepared.

I didn’t work the whole weekend! I worked some of it, but not all of it.

These are small victories, yes, but victories all the same.  In this war, I will celebrate them.

Just Keep Swimming & Finding Underwear

Work seemed like it was going to be good for a whole week, but those dreams were destroyed on Friday afternoon.  Sometimes I think the company is spying on me, and they plan their deadlines around my schedule.  And I do mean in the worst way.  As soon as I actually physically took steps to get started on my tidy and other work at my house, thinking that at least the next week would be slow enough for me to get STARTED on things, everything changed at work.  Often I think this is the universe trying to tell me something.  But in the end I know the universe has better things to do than talk to me.  Plus, I have never known anyone that had things at their job line up conveniently with things in their personal life.  It’s a common struggle for everyone.  As Dori (Finding Nemo) says, “Just keep swimming.”  Right how I happen to be swimming through some garbage. But I will never be here again.  The KonMarie Method gives me this amount of hope. My house may have issues, I might be busy at work, but I will never again dig through a pile of mediocre clothes to find my underwear.

Girl Vs. Tidy Purge Plans

The book makes it clear, you need to get rid of things that have served their purpose.

Everything must go before you think about storage.

Storage is a trap, a distraction.  Get rid of the things you are done with first.

Keep the things that spark JOY.  (Please consult the book for this because it is important and I can’t do the concept justice here.)

As for me, quite simply, I gotta throw away a lot of shit.

The book has a specific order.  She says start with clothes, and it makes the most sense for most people, but for me, I think it would be too frustrating because

#1 I routinely go through my clothes and throw things out I don’t like or I don’t need, so starting here wouldn’t have the impact it would for most people

#2 I am not ready to think about a really good way of storing my clothes because the closets in my house need to be “done.” (By like some sort of California Closets situation).

#3 At least I use my fucking clothes.  I’d like to part with something that I don’t use first.

So, my plan was to deviate from her plan and start with something even easier: DVDs

What I throw away: goes to Amoeba Records in Hollywood.

What brings me joy, I keep. It goes into DVD binders from Amazon.

With the exception of up to 10 DVDs that maybe some day I would have someone sign.  Like I’m keeping SPACEBALLS in case I ever meet anyone who was in that movie, because I would ask them to sign it.

Everything else must go.

I planned to do that DVD purge yesterday and today.  This weekend.

So far, this has been my weekend:

Worked out for 15 minutes (first time this year).

Took a shower at my office gym (because my shower head broke off last week).

Worked most of the day (Saturday), then went to see a movie (The Revenant) with friends.

Today, I finally started this blog.

Now I’m going to work for a few hours.

And then I’m going to lunch and to see the move Joy.  With a friend I haven’t seen much since before Christmas.

Considering I worked last weekend, too, I am sensing a pattern.  And not the good one where I go to movies with my friends.

Well, at least the X Files are on tonight.  I can take some solace in that.

 

Girl Vs. Tidy: Step One

Step One: Vision

First thing in the book is to come up with a vision of how you want to live.

I want to come home to an organized home.  With a lot less stuff in it.  I want to spend my time reading, writing, watching TV, relaxing.  Not simply moving around stuff and feeling overwhelmed.  If I had less stuff and said stuff was organized, I would be able to have a nice space.  Something calming and awesome to come home to, like the houses they do on Fixer Upper.

tweet_fixer

Only I can picture myself in a room about half that size.

You know, something that is realistic to Los Angeles.

This is important, however, because doing this tidy will allow me to live in a smaller space, spend less time working at work and spend less time going through boxes on Saturday night.  In short, putting my house in order will allow me to live.  Travel, cook, garden, actually make HOME IMPROVEMENTS rather than barely having time for any of it.  You may have your doubts about it being that simple, but I have really thought about it.  I spend a lot of time in process of starting and stopping organizing my home.  And it is quite simple.  That part of my life is over now.  I’m going to get rid of stuff I don’t need, put my house in order, and live.

Girl Vs. Tidy Beginnings

Boiling the Frog

before

This is just a sliver of the disorganized mess that is my house.

I work a lot at a high stress job that I love, so I let this happen.  Many a night I have come home after 9pm, eaten my dinner in front of the TV and then simply fallen asleep on the couch.  I will get up early and go right back to work.  That sort of “lifestyle” actually has made me happy for many years.  However, my house has slowly gotten worse.  Much like the metaphor of the boiling frog.  When the frog goes into the pot, the water is fine.  Then the burner comes on and slowly but surely the water heats up until your house is full of so much stuff and it’s so disorganized that you want to burn it down and live in a tent in San Diego.  You know… something like that.

Beginning

I am notoriously good and starting things.  And wishing things were different.  Hoping things will get better.  And taking action (actually) is not the problem per say.  The issue is that I let other things distract me from my goals.  I have a sliding scale of what needs to be done for myself.  Which is usually a good thing.  Work stuff, life events, things my friends are planning… yeah, that stuff HAS to be done at a certain time.  Cleaning out the office, well, it’s just gonna have to wait another weekend.  And so, cleaning and organizing my house has “waited another weekend” for about 6 years.  This may seem stupid to you, and I hope that it does, because this is my life and hopefully yours is more on track.  However, if you can relate to this AT ALL, then you know how hard it is to sort through the same box for 3 weeks, and to buy new pens on Friday only to find a whole fucking box of pens on Saturday night when you are looking for printer paper in your office.

Yeah, it’s not good.

So I heard about this book from a coworker who was getting rid of stuff and organizing her house.

Then I went on vacation and bought this book at the airport. November 2015.

tidy_one

I took pictures of my messy house.

before_montage

And then started reading the book.

And did nothing until Jan 2016.  I had planned to start throwing things away in December, but work was completely crazy.  And I had to spend all my nights and weekends putting rocks into my yard (see: Girl Vs. Sheet Mulching) And I went on a long holiday for Christmas. When I got back, I had a sinus infection for 2 weeks, and work is now even crazier.

Still, I am beginning.

 

 

Girl Vs. Tidy (Disclaimer)

tidy_one

**DISCLAIMER** This blog is meant to serve as a companion to the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.  It is NOT a replacement for said book, nor am I claiming any copyright over her material.  The book is amazing, and this blog is to merely recount my personal story using the book.  If you want to understand what I am doing or how to put your own house in order, you should probably buy the book yourself.

Welcome to the Magic that is My Life

Welcome to my blog.  A bit about me: I am a lady who moved to LA from the midwest over 10 years ago.  I am now in my 30’s, and I own my own home.  Everything is pretty great about my life, but living in LA as a single woman isn’t exactly easy.  I have  grand ideas of things I’d like to do, and other things that I absolutely need to do. But whenever I try to do anything… and I do mean seemingly even the simplest of things, some kind of disaster happens.

This blog is dedicated to my attempts at accomplishing things.  You will see the simple become the nearly impossible.  This is the magic of my life.

I hope you will find my misadventures both entertaining and helpful to you in your crazy life.

Enjoy!

J. M.