LGN 114: Declutter

Inside: Nutrition coaching; KonMari; Hacking my brain; Frailty; Fighting for air

Did you miss me? I’ve missed you.

I’m motivated. I think it’s the energy chew. Doesn’t matter. We’ll start here. This is all made possible by good coaching.


One of my near term goals is to declutter my apartment. You know how it is. You slowly wake up to the fact that your space isn’t conducive to a clear head, perhaps reflecting your internal state. It nags at you in the periphery of your concentration and attention span. 

Google KonMari. There’s a book:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

There are helpful YouTube videos, too. I like finding ones with men when I can. There aren’t many. I’m not trying to follow it exactly. It is powerful inspiration and direction. A lot of people who make videos are doing their own thing with it but are also having good results. Many call it life changing.

For the longest time I couldn’t tackle this place. Just couldn’t do it. Mental block. Lack of energy. Being logistically overwhelmed.


Here’s the thing about me. When I see something, I want to do it. When I’m interested in something I read about it and watch videos about it and the tension builds irresistibly to do that thing: mountain biking, skateboarding (not really), snowboarding, drawing, painting, making music, photography, etc.

So this past weekend during the snowstorm while I was reclining on the man-couch looking around and thinking how I really need to get started making my space livable and watching Phlearn tutorials I had a thought. I get intensely motivated to do what I watch so I should search for decluttering videos on YouTube. I did. Then I started. The next day.

I bought a digital version of the book and I’ve been skimming but mainly I just took what I saw in the videos and rolled with it. The first category is clothing. Take all your clothes out, toss out items with brutal efficiency, and then fold the keepers in that KonMari way. It took me two days but I went from this:


To this:

There are a few other drawers, of course, but all of my clothes are folded and hung in an orderly fashion. It is intensely satisfying.

Half of the closet has been salvaged. All the camping gear that was on the couch and scattered around the living room is now in the closet. Progress.


The main thing that’s helped me so far is the emphasis on storing things vertically. Clothes are folded so they’re thick enough to stand up. I mean, look at that. If I want a pair of white ankle socks or snowboarding socks or hiking liner socks it’s right there at my fingertips. Underground Athlete T-shirt? Oh, there it is. (Eventually, I’ll go one step further and organize by color as they rotate in and out.)

Marie Kondo recommends using shoe boxes and other boxes like iPhone boxes you have laying around as storage and organizing containers. Wish I had taken “before” pictures but that would have been embarrassing.

Also, this place is still a friggin’ mess. Long way to go. Every now and then I’ll put things in a box or bring home a container from Target or the Container Store and boom. Order out of chaos.

Bathroom counter. Before, 90% of the counter was under something. (Pay no attention to the mountain bike in the bathroom.)


What was my impenetrable junk pile of frequently used items on the bookshelf in the living room:


Kondo recommends tidying in a concentrated effort, as opposed to piecemeal tidying for the very realistic reason that tidying one small area every now and then will drag out the process indefinitely. True dat. She has an insightful animism in her approach that I can relate to.

So vertically organizing (not stacking but standing up side by side) when possible, start with clothes folded in this particular way. Amazing.

The temporary downside is that I have all these bags and crates sitting around full of stuff that needs to go. And there will be a few rounds. But I may just get a hauler to come in and deal with it. Guess I’ll do whatever it takes. It’s on, y’all.

Check that book out, though. There’s a lot more to it and more categories and approaches. It’s painful, yeh. I describe it as playing MFK Tetris with your B-list possessions.

I’ll meet with my declutter consultant next week. Are you ready, Marisa? Brace yourself. You will be pushed to your limits. Haha.


2015 was a year of regression. My knee tweak turned into full blown injury. I’m going to physical therapy and was just approved for an MRI. Over Winter vacation, on vacation with the family, it swelled up like crazy. It feels better after I work out — program designed to avoid exertion and full range of motion, of course. Thanks, Matt. There’s something that gets snagged in their, though, and painfully clicks every few steps. That’s not going to get better on its own. 

I gained about 20 lbs. Did next to no socializing. My outdoor activity fell off, partially due to the lack of socializing (and vice versa) and largely due to the knee injury. I was exhausted all the time, absent from strength training, missing people that aren’t around, lacking the energy to do anything about any of it.

I sometimes dwell on 2014 and how I rode the high of all that social outdoor adventuring right into a low ditch. Splat. All of that energy, burning at full blast, making things happen and the subsequent … failure. I wasn’t building what I thought I was building. It was empty. I say that not to dwell on it further but to say that I learned a lot about myself. To declutter, to take all of the fun and good and adventures and learning that brought me joy and leave the rest. I have inexhaustible shine. I just have to replenish and not try to draw energy from where there is none. 

That’s the trap, though, with the lows. You’re stranded in the desert. You have no water. Every now and then you encounter another person but you don’t speak the same language. You beg for water. They hand you bread or a pair of shoes or sunglasses or a head covering and go on their way. You find a radio, contact the civilized world and they tell you to wait for rain and recycle your urine in the meantime. Or criticize you for not being prepared. Meanwhile, you desperately try to conserve energy to survive.  

It was people at the gym that noticed I was off my game. So when Justin asked if I wanted to do something about the weight gain, lack of motivation, and general drag-assing I said yes. Like I told him, I wanted to do something but I couldn’t do it by myself.


Remixing my metaphor, I had no inner tinder. Nothing to catch, to spark the the fire, the bellows motionless.

What I did not expect is that the conversation about my physical goals would become a conversation about my life. Not only a conversation about my life, but a series of well defined actions, goals, and plans to get things on track.

After the first few weeks of change to my eating habits I regained my energy. Macros to suit my goals, meal plans, and shopping lists. Hydrating and supplementing. Keeping track of food, sleep quality, and other objective and subjective factors. 

After consulting with Justin, talking to someone who has high expectations of everyone and listening to someone other than the voice in my head I felt a resurgence of hopeful motivation.


There’s a small group doing the nutrition coaching. Consistency is the biggest challenge, I’d say. I’m not the best at doing anything consistently for any period of time. 

It helps to have other people on board, whether actively or passively. Checking in every once in a while is invaluable. 


I want to spend more time with the family. A week with the fam in Virginia Beach while it was 70 degrees in late December was perfect. Even sick with the flu and a troubling swollen, gimpy knee it was right. And fun.

Decluttering is one of the things on my list. Justin asked when I wanted to do it by. I was about to say in a month or two. He was like, “I know you can get it done by New Year’s.”

Haha. That’s how he does. I didn’t. Not that he was wrong but I just didn’t. I was on vacation and also putting my time into practicing my photo lighting. Priorities. Productive distraction. But that’s one of my goals that the group is holding me accountable to. I’ve found a good setup for taking photos here so getting this place fit and comfortable for visitors will open up possibilities.

I want to create more. Photography, art, music. I’ve gone months unable to find willing subjects. None of the models I’ve contacted on ModelMayhem or anywhere else have responded but I suppose I have to prove my mettle first. Fair enough. By the time I’m done models will be knocking on my metaphorical door. Bet.


It feels good to be active again. To move and lift and stretch. There are a lot of things I can’t do but Matt wrote a good injury recovery program and all of the coaches help me work around the injury.

Can’t say I’ve been any kind of social but I’m down 10lbs and counting, which is half way back to my pre-2015 condition.

On the mend. On the rise. On fiyah. 

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