KonMari in the Studio

Because I had seen so many reviews of it, I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It is very Japanese in character: there is a right way to do everything, and KonMarifollowing the rules brings good fortune. I’m a little surprised at how much it has caught on in the West. The author, Marie Kondo, calls her method for “tidying” KonMari, a combination of her names.

I was unexpectedly convinced by reading her book that I can, indeed, get rid of a lot of my “stuff” and be happier for it!  And I thought I’d start in my studio, since that won’t involve anybody but myself.

My studio is pretty neat, with almost everything stored away.  And when I see pictures of other people’s studios, I realize that my stash is minimal by many standards!

KonMari recommends dealing with things by category, and in a strict order. There are no categories for a quilt studio, so I made my own categories and ordered them like this:
1. Fabric
2. Tools, such as rulers and scissors
3. Notions, such as thread and ric-rac
4. Published materials, such as books and patterns
5. Sewing and serging machines
6. Everything else

The method requires gathering all items of a particular category in one place. ALL must come out of their drawers, boxes, etc. Ms. Kondo says to pile it all on the floor, but you know THAT’s not happening!

studio organization, stash

Some of the stash laid out on tables–and some bins on the floor, too

The next step is to handle each piece and decide whether it gives me joy. If it does, it stays. If not, it GOES!

studio organization, stash managemengt

The stash from another angle

This may, at first, seem like a waste. After all, I paid for that fabric, washed, ironed, and stored it. But after reading the book, I believe the true waste is being weighed down by things I’m hoarding because I “might need them” or “intend to use them” in the mythical “some day”.  And really, do I want to work for hours on a quilt made with fabric I don’t love?

I’ll let you know how this first step turns out 🙂  How are you managing your stash?

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12 thoughts on “KonMari in the Studio

  1. I have heard of the book but haven’t seen it and am not likely to do a full makeover of any space in my home at once. Kudos to you for taking it on! The stash — yes, lots of people have unimaginable stash. I’m a member of Stashbusters yahoo group and regularly hear tales of rooms full of the 30 gallon blue plastic bins… Oh and the garage, and the shed out back… OH MY! I prefer having a small stash, for many reasons.

    Does every piece of fabric need to bring you joy? No, I don’t think so. Some things are useful regardless of how much I like them. But when I’ve passed over a piece multiple times because of the fabric quality, it’s time to get rid of that piece, for sure. Or when I see, again, a fat quarter novelty print that I’m sure will *never* be useful to me, it’s time to check if someone else would like it. (I don’t buy many novelty prints.)

    Good luck with this. Let us know how it goes.

  2. Pondering this without pulling my fabric out. The process of quilting brings me joy, not individual fabrics. The challenge of making something beautiful out of “ugly” fabrics brings me joy. I’m thinking the book and her criteria would not help me. Besides, I purchased while working so I wouldn’t have to when on a fixed retirement income…still pondering.

    • As it turns out, almost ALL of the fabrics bring me joy, at least in the potential the hold, so I’m not getting rid of much. I am getting it better organized, however.
      When I was studying some Japanese ideas as a therapist, I found that they were just the thing for SOME people, but certainly not for everybody in the West.
      There’s a funny review of KonMari near the back of this week’s Time that makes some good points 🙃

  3. Mary, I so glad you wrote about this KonMari system! I used to think it was bunk but since I’ve been using the method I have to say, there’s really something to it. We have our house in escrow so, after 20 years, I’m purging like crazy. Gotta’ downsize. My studio is much like yours, with an impressive stash but nothing like I’ve seen in my fellow quilters’ studios. Anyhow, I found a lot of fabric that I really don’t think I’ll EVER use in this lifetime so it’s gone to my guild’s philinthropic group. It feels so good! Now, wherever I end up after this move I know I’ll start fresh in a new studio with only the “good stuff”. Good luck and keep going! Oh, and KonMari worked wonders in my underwear drawer too. Just sayin”.

  4. Mary, thanks for the book review! Will definitely have to check it out as we are in the purging and down-sizing acts! It does feel good to “cleanse” areas out after years of putting things in boxes to deal with “later”!

  5. I bought the book too, after reading about it on the blog of a young athletic trainer who lives in Spain! I thought I was picking up on some European secret that would make me want to be more active as a side effect. 🙂

    I read it, and I started with my clothes, but I didn’t pull everything out. I know what gives me joy and what doesn’t, and I did get rid of a bunch of T-shirts that I really loved, but they just felt too rough to wear. I thought about going through my studio, but I haven’t yet. But I am looking forward to hearing more about how this works for you!

    • I thought about not pulling all the fabric out, and it WAS kind of a mess! However, it’s better organized now, so I’m glad I did. The next phase will have to wait a while because I’ll be out of town this week.

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