Tuesday Talk–Clutter and the Art of Tidying Up

I’m a packrat. It’s not so much that I hoard stuff–I’m perfectly willing to throw things away–but I do tend to let them stack up until I’m just overwhelmed by STUFF. Then I seem to be paralyzed in doing anything about it. Let’s just say that if a man showed up at my door and offered me a million bucks to go upstairs in my house, I’d have to seriously think about it. If he had a camera, I’d have to decline.

I kept hearing about the magic of Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, so I thought I’d check it out. It’s a little book. I read it.

Here are some of the tips that made sense to me:

–DeClutter by Category, not by Room. This goes against everything I’ve tried. My OCD mind wants to start in one corner and plow my way around that room before moving on to the next. But I decided to try it her way, and chose my art supplies. Of course, that was exactly the WRONG thing to do because I’m really not going to throw away any art supplies (she who dies with the most art supplies wins, you know). But I did get them all in the same room. I have begun the agonizing task of getting them organized and making sure everything has a place and I know what that place is. I’m not there yet.

–Don’t be sentimental. If you’re going through old letters, for example, don’t stop to read them. If you think you can’t live without them, okay. If you haven’t looked at them in a decade, toss ’em. Take a digital photo first if you must. Digital photos don’t take up any space.

–Don’t reclutter. Well, okay, I’m not too good at this in general but I think if I ever get truly decluttered, I can keep it up. Part of my problem is that I decluttered to the tune of 25 bags of trash in my upstairs alone. My city picks up two bags of trash per house, per week. I produce that much just of daily trash of junk mail and food wrappers and such. I now am surrounded by a tidy ceiling-high stack of trash bags that are upstairs. I might be able to get rid of one a week…if I don’t declutter anymore.

–Fold clothes instead of hanging them. This is supposed to help keep your closets neat. Well, I can’t actually get to my closet (trash bags are stacked in front of the door), so my clothes are currently living on the day bed in my office. They are folded, however. And my chest of drawers is empty. Sigh. More work.

So…what’s your favorite decluttering technique–or are you one of those folks who can welcome houseguests without a week’s notice and a flurry of cleaning…much of which consists of throwing things in closets willy-nilly. I have a downstairs closet I can’t even open without an avalanche.

Anyone tried the “KonMarie” method of decluttering and cleaning?

For Mercy’s Sake: A Re-Read of the Mercy Thompson Series

Happy Monday (yes, oxymoron).

One of the things I’ve been doing this year is binge-reading. It all began with a binge-read of George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Let’s just say that took a while. A long while. Then I read Kendra Eliott’s Bone Seeker series, then Harry Turtledove’s Supervolcano trilogy.

Then I decided to binge-read the rest of the year.

I moved on to Anne Bishop’s The Others series, which I reviewed here

Then I read a couple of standalones. And, finally, decided to plow through Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. I had read the first two or three and loved them, but then got busy and never kept up through what is now ten books.

I still love the series, but reading a series like this as a binge-read is interesting. You get a real sense of how the plot lines progress. Mercy and Adam’s relationship, for example, has a well-defined development and keeps growing and strengthening throughout the series.

A couple of the books felt strained to me, however, such as in Night Broken, book 8, where a volcano god shows up to do battle over Adam’s ex-wife, or in River Marked, book 6, when a deadly sea serpent shows up during Adam and Mercy’s honeymoon. I did forgive the sea serpent book, though, because one of the seemingly random characters did turn out to have legs and a role in the series. But when the novels wander away from the pack, the fae, and the vampires, they feel a little disconnected to me.

I was also shocked to learn there is a sentient fae relic, a staff, that follows Mercy around. Uh. Yeah. No, I didn’t steal that for the Sentinels series. Plus, Charlie’s sentience is limited.

Mercy, however, is one of the great urban fantasy heroines. I thought so after my initial read of those first books, and I still think so. Adam is hot alpha personified. The pack dynamics are fascinating and it was interesting to see how the roles of different pack members grew or diminished as the series progressed.

Book #11, as yet untitled, is due out in 2019.

Have you read the Mercy Thompson series? What do you like or dislike about it?