Book Breakdown: More or Less

It isn’t easy to find quality books on generosity. A lot of the lists that I perused were overly religious, hokey, or geared towards children. When I read the synopsis for More or Less it seemed in line with what I am trying to accomplish.

This book is the practical application of generosity. It is told through a series of anecdotes about what has worked for Shinabarger and his family and friends. The “Enough Talk” sections help the reader to stop thinking about being generous and start being generous. There were a number of times that I put down the book, and did SOMETHING. It was fantastic!

Through the course of reading this book I made a clothing donation, meditated, and sent my gift cards to Gift Card Giver. It is amazing what can be accomplished in a short amount of time when you confront your excess.

With as much focus as there is on practical application, I was expecting more from the “Your Enough Experiment” section. It could have been more straight forward, but does seem to align with my habit building, so that’s a plus.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for inspiration during the giving season. It is also a great read for anyone else with a minimalist bent.

What books inspire your generosity? Please share your recommendations in the comments.


Tidy Travels – The End

Clayton and I moved into our new house and have diligently worked to get unpacked before vacation.

Action Plan Progress:

  • DONE – 6 weekly posts shared
  • DONE – Completed discarding and packing by Thursday, 12/10/2015
  • DONE – Posted about storing techniques
  • DONE – Kept a photo journal

Grade: A

Incentive: I’ve already found a new cleaning service in Red Wing and hopefully we can get them started in January!

Lessons Learned:

One idea I tried to keep in mind while unpacking and storing was that everything should have a place. I left nothing unpacked, and it feels good to be surrounded by the things that spark joy.

Below are pictures that highlight the techniques suggested by Marie Kondo.

Bathroom storage – I used storage bins, shoe boxes, and have kept all the same items stored together.
Bookshelves storage – they include the two accordion folders that now house the only paper in our place!
Closet storage – Our new closet is laid out differently, but we got almost everything stored there. I still have another chest of drawers in the bedroom, but it wouldn’t fit through the closet opening.

There was no part of this process that was simple. I think the fact that we were moving made it easier to keep moving forward. My favorite part was rediscovering things that do spark joy that have been stuck in boxes!

6 Month Goals:

My only goal is to ensure I ask myself if something sparks joy before purchasing it.

Please share your KonMari success stories in the comments!

Discarding Drill: Mementos


The last category in the discarding process is mementos. It was difficult to determine what was included in this category as it is basically everything else. I had the following major categories:

  1. Cards
  2. Snow globes
  3. Stuffed animals
  4. Pictures
  5. Random stuff

It was pretty easy for me to part with the cards. I enjoyed receiving the cards, but the book resonated with me about not holding onto gifts out of guilt.MomentosAfter1 The rest of the sub categories were difficult to get through. Clayton seemed especially resistant to this part of the process and assured me everything sparked joy.

As you can see from the after picture we parted with very little. I admit that I did not get rid of any pictures. It was a lot of effort to put my photo albums together, and I do take the time to look at them regularly and enjoy them.

We have done a great job of getting through the discarding process, and I want to make sure that everything we have determined sparks joy is on display in our home. My new policy is to not have anything packed away where we cannot enjoy it.

Have you successfully sorted through and discarded mementos? Please share any tips in the comments.

Discarding Drill: Miscellaneous

It seemed like we were making great progress, but then we got to the miscellaneous category…

  1. Music
  2. Movies
  3. Games
  4. Bathroom
  5. Kitchen
  6. Laundry
  7. Bedding


This category was messy and took much longer to sort through than the previous ones. Each new pile was more daunting than the last. Because our move date is creeping up on us we’ve had to discard and pack after work, which is not ideal. Also Clayton hasn’t fully bought into the process so I feel like I spend a lot of time explaining to him why I want to sort through things in a certain way.

It took 4 days, but we finally got through everything! I’ve included a picture of our donate pile below. We also sold a lot of movies and games and threw out a ton of junk.


Up next mementos. One last category and we’ll be done. I just have to keep reminding myself that everything will be infinitely better next week!

Discarding Drill: Books & Papers

I have just completed Phase 3 of the KonMari method, and am thoroughly exhausted. I failed to leave myself enough time to complete two phases of this project and write a proper blog post about it. I also took out my frustration on Clayton, which was unfair. Even though I am technically still on track with my action plan, I am calling this week a fail. The purpose of taking on this task/habit was to try and avoid the chaos moving brings, but it is as stressful as ever.

Please enjoy this photo series on our progress in lieu of an actual post…

Books, books everywhere!
Book Pile
Books to discard
Paper Pile
Paper After

Discarding Drill: Clothes

Phase 1 of the KonMari method is to sort through and discard all the clothes in your house that do not spark joy. I thought it would be best for Clayton and I to pull out all of our clothes at the same time, so we spent an entire day working on this project.

Step 1.  Search every closet, drawer, and laundry area for clothes.

We had clothes in every room of the house, and I didn’t even realize it. Here are some pictures I took before we got started.

FindClothes FindClothes2FIndclothes3

Step 2.  Place every item of clothing on the floor in one area.

This is the part of the process where I regretted ever picking up the book! Our living room was a disaster, and we could barely walk through the mess. It was too late to turn back so onwards and upwards!


Cori’s pile of tops.

Step 3.  Sort items in the following categories:

  • Tops
  • Bottoms
  • Hanging clothes (coats, jackets, suits, etc)
  • Pajamas
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Bags
  • Accessories
  • Clothes for specific events (uniforms, swimsuits, etc)
  • Shoes

Step 4.  Begin deciding – touch every item and ask, “does this spark joy?”

We started with off-season tops and worked our way down the list. This order really does help to build momentum. By the time I got to the shoes, which I thought were going to be the hardest to part with, I was so frustrated with myself for having all this junk that I was able to blow through the pile very quickly.

Our donate and sell piles.
Our donate and sell piles.

We sorted our clothes into 4 piles:

  1. Keep
  2. Donate
  3. Sell
  4. Trash

All of our clothes now fit in the master bedroom storage space. This is not the final storing solution, so those pictures will be coming in a later post.

This process is physically and mentally exhausting. I wanted to quit once we started step 2 and take a nap half way through step 4. It was a great relief to finally finish, and Clayton and I aren’t dreading the next phase of discarding books!

Have you ever tried sorting through every article of clothing you own? Please share your experience in the comments!

Tidy Travels – The Start

Clayton and I are moving, and I am going to take this opportunity to try something new for my blog!

Over the summer I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I plan to track my progress implementing the KonMari method rather than stretching this out as a daily habit over 66 days. I will be posting about each stage of discarding before the move and storing strategies after the move.

Start Date: Thursday, 11/19/2015

Projected End Date: Thursday, 12/24/2015

Action Plan:

  • Post weekly progress on discarding in the order recommended by Marie Kondo
    1. Clothes
    2. Books
    3. Papers
    4. Misc
    5. Mementos
  • Complete discarding and packing by Thursday, 12/10/2015
  • Post about storing techniques
  • Keep a photo journal

Incentive: Monthly cleaning service at the new house!

Lofty Goal: Being healthy and giving generously

Tidying up fits in the health category because of the peace of mind I feel when I am in a tidy space. I also choose to list philanthropy because the discarding process will give us the opportunity to donate a lot of the things just taking up space.

Moving is hard, but Clayton and I have done more than our fair share. I am hoping that implementing the KonMari method will help us get a jump start on packing so that it’s not a mad rush the week of our move.

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing or other organizational books? Please share any tips or tricks in the comments!