The Bite of the Spring Cleaning Bug

There was no vaccine and I was not immune to the bite of the spring cleaning bug. After spending much of the fall and winter trying to sort through my mother’s years of art, craft and sewing accumulation, the bug became highly contagious, passing back and forth between my sister and I. When she bought us both copies of The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and it became a full blown epidemic.

Since the book has been written about on many blogs, you may already know calling it “Tidying Up,” may be a little misleading. It is really about getting rid of our excess and keeping only what “sparks joy.” Instead of doing a room at a time, Marie Kondo breaks your work into categories, beginning with clothing, then books, papers, miscellaneous, and saving mementos  for last. You gather all items from each category all together, which gives you a good visual impact of just how much stuff you have. It’s is eye opening. Starting with clothing and breaking it into sub-categories, such as tops or skirts, you handle each item and evaluate if it brings you joy.  I asked myself if I was excited to wear something, or just keeping it because I thought I should. This really worked. Here is what I purged just from clothing, shoes and bags.


Yes, I even purged some things I made. Bags, jackets and skirts.

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One of the first items I made when I returned to sewing about 5 years ago was a camel hair jacket. I was clueless about what was needed for tailoring and structure and it shows. Beautiful fabric, but sad construction. It had no joy. The dresses included two that were showing wear and the disappointing clown inspired polka dot dress which was never worn.

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I barely had room in the car for all I took to Goodwill and gratefully said goodbye to my excess.


On March 31, this is how my tidy closet looked. I used to have a jumble of shoes on the floor and a mass of sweaters on the shelves. One month later, it still looks like this.  Yes, this gives me joy.

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The KonMari method for folding clothes has you fold them into rectangles and store them vertically, not stacked on top of each other. It actually makes for much less wrinkling and you can see everything.

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Maybe going slightly out of order, I’ve also completed the household linens and all the kitchen related items. The house is starting to seem lighter and more open and I do not miss anything I have eliminated.

The sewing room came next. All my fabric went into one pile, including a bunch of upholstery samples I got at work and just stuck away.


I forgot I had these silks because the closet was too full.


I had the closet stuffed, plus home dec fabric in a large wicker chest. It was hard to see what I had.

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After determining what I really wanted to keep, everything could fit in the closet and I can see it all.


The eliminated fabric, plus 50 patterns from my stash has been donated to the American Sewing Guild to use in some of their charity sewing. Eight shopping bags filled the back of my car.


It can take up to 6 months to get through you whole house with this method. Right now I am working on books. I was able to greatly reduce my amount of books, with the exception of my sewing and fashion books. Those bring me much joy, so I kept them all but one.