The Return of the William Morris Project


Those of you on Instagram or Facebook know I bought The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo in February, around the same time as the rest of the world. I started it, stopped it, and lost it. That’s right, I lost it.

We’re back, safe and sound, after a couple of weeks in Lake Tahoe. It was nice (minus that one week) but we’re glad to be home. I, especially, wanted to get home and tackle this book and my house; I planned to read, review, and hopefully drink the Koolaid everyone has been going on about for almost a year.

I searched for this book the morning after we got home and have been searching for it ever since. I can’t find it, and that means it’s time to change the way I do things around here. My first item on the agenda: start doing things.

I don’t know what will happen when school starts up again; I don’t even know if I have a job. But until then, Thursdays are once again my WMP days.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

My second item on the agenda: find a new quote. I thought the quote was clever when I read it a million years ago, so much so that I parroted it to my friend when her parents died (incidentally, their death inspired the project). Since then, you can find it in every home book, magazine, and blog. Enough. Too much. Overkill. Did George Costanza teach you nothing, Internet? Get out on a high note!

I’m also going to be sharing reviews on the many, many simple living and decluttering books on the market. So many of them say the same thing, but occasionally there are some true gems. Part of the reason The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up became so popular is because of its uniqueness in the genre–or at least that’s what I suspect if the rumors of folded underwear and sparking joy are true. I’ll know more for my review and project post next Thursday, after I re-buy the book on organization and decluttering that I I lost in my house.

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  1. Yay for WMP! So, I just had to comment. I read The Book about three months ago, and though we are not finished applying the method to the entire house, we have made great strides. We began with clothes, as she suggests, and my tidy drawers (everyone in the house has tidy drawers!) do spark joy every single day. We did all the kids’ books, games and toys, and for the past month THEIR ROOMS HAVE REMAINED TIDY. We moved all of 7-yr-old son’s remaining toys to his room and separated them into labeled bins, and he has been pulling things out to play, and then PUTTING THEM AWAY. 10-yr-old daughter now has space to spread out her vast nail polish collection, and a designated place to put it all away. I love and use every single kitchen utensil, and each one has a specific home.

    With a little practice, I’m finding that the magic is in a shifted mind-set about hanging onto things. I am not especially sentimental, but we have the space to store plenty of stuff, so I have kept things in every category that we just don’t use or appreciate. Then the drawers and cupboards start to overflow, and the stuff gets annoying. I don’t need annoying, I want JOY! I felt like I was forever managing stuff. I mean, I’m still managing stuff, but the result is so satisfying, and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Anyway, there’s a bunch of stuff at the end about making room in your life for new opportunities that’s a little foo-foo-la-la, as you say, but I don’t think you need to buy that to get something out of the Konmari method.

    I’m tempted to go on, but it’s time for someone’s piano lesson. 🙂

  2. I just started reading this on the train this morning. I cannot wait to hear what you think. I have high hopes, and although the author sounds a little touchy-feely, it’s not like my current “method” is working. So I’m trying to keep an open mind!

  3. Oh! Can’t wait to hear your take. I have been avoiding it… but read all of the others you have suggested in the past.

  4. I’m so looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this book. I bought it, but I haven’t read it yet because I really, really want to, so I’m using it as a reward for completing a work project I’ve been procrastinating on. I’ve only ever rewarded myself with food before, so this is new for me.

    I’m also happy to see you bringing back the WMP, even if it’s called something else/has a new tagline. I like seeing you take on purging/organizing projects in your home, because yours are the only ones that look like a normal person did them. They’re neat and tidy and practical, but don’t look staged for a magazine like most blogs aim for. I really appreciate the authenticity of what you do. Makes me feel like I can do it, too.

  5. I am so glad you’re bring back WMP. I still love the quote – and if you still do too – don’t be swayed by its popularity right now.

    Still I hadn’t bought into buying Life Changing Magic until you shared about it. I want to play along with your new project.

  6. I’m less than half way thru the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I’m curious to hear what you think about it. Maybe I’ll reserve my thoughts for your review post. A friend recommended Francine Jay’s “Joy of Less.”

  7. YAY! Once I got over thinking her writing voice had to be that of a dancing emoji there really is a lot of good advice. I was telling a friend earlier this week that the WM quote is great but leaves a lot of wiggle room (might it be useful some day? this whole collection of little things is beautiful!, etc.) while I found her “guidelines” to be a lot more narrow. I also really appreciate the idea of doing it by item, rather than room. Often I would just move stuff from room to room while “organizing” and decided it was really just a sh*t shuffle & no organizing was happening.

    A few things that has supported it was reading Simplicity Parenting & The Nester’s Cozy Minimalist course. It ended up the perfect trifecta to really light a fire on getting things taken care of in our life – both stuff & schedules. Can’t wait to see your spin on this!!!!

  8. I read the book this spring, and have this to say:
    1. I didn’t follow the plan as dictated.
    2. The book was still useful to me. (And hey, I know where it is! :-))
    3. Shannon’s characterization of the voice is spot on!

    What I loved most: The idea that doing a little at a time is hogwash. Yes, I’m finding it much better to tackle a big thing all in one bite. And the idea that we should, in fact, strive for perfection. Two ideas I once espoused the exact opposite of. Looking forward to seeing what you make of it.

  9. So glad the WMP is back! I have this book, but haven’t read it yet, so now I’m a little more motivated to pick it up.

  10. Yay for the WMP! If you are tired of that quote, here are a couple other ones I particularly enjoy that haven’t been bandied all over the blogosphere:

    “Simplicity of life is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement.”
    “The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”

    To those who have read the Magic book, have you run into problems with nobody else in your household buying into the system? Any real pushback from family members?

    • I should have sent you my copy of Magic. It doesn’t spark joy for me, so I’m ready to send it on its way.

      Hooray for WMP!

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