15 September 2015 – Tuesday with Margaret Reish Downing

No, My Bathing Suit Did Not Spark Joy, Part 2: A New Dilemma

By Margaret Reish Downing

Margaret R. Downing with Rex


Part 1 Summary: After reading The Life – Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo, I became determined to get rid of any possession that does not “spark joy”. I started by going through my clothes.


Last Friday I donated 14 bags of clothing to Play It Again Segunda in San Felipe. The week before, I gave my daughter in San Diego a number of items and got rid of a few things at a nearby consignment shop and took what the shop turned its nose up at (almost everything) to a thrift store. I threw away embarrassing old underwear. High heeled shoes that once twisted my feet into unnatural shapes are now giving someone else bunions, I suppose. Best of all, that non-joy sparking bathing suit is gone forever. Unfortunately, I had to buy a new bathing suit. That particular shopping experience ranks between an appointment with the periodontist and the St. Didacus School Christmas Choral performance in 1995, and I will say no more about it.


After the discard phase, I began folding or hanging my clothes using KonMari techniques. Marie recommends storing items vertically, not in stacks. This means clothing to be kept in dressers must first be folded into stand alone rectangles. So when you open a drawer, you can see all your t-shirts at one glance. Isn’t that cool? I have a way to go before I perfect my folding techniques. Luckily there are plenty of demonstration videos on line.


I am one item away from completing the clothing phase of my project: What do I do with this?


margaret's foto


I hear you! You’re saying “Wtf?” Well, you are looking at four dead minks biting each other’s butts in perpetuity. Their little beady taxidermied eyes and their little sharp claws are perfectly preserved. This is an item of clothing called a stole. It belonged to my mother, who wore it over suit jackets in the 40’s. Later, she got a full length mink coat, and when the styles changed again, an “Autumn Haze” mink stole like Doris Day probably wore when she went out to breakfast.


Now this mink stole does not spark joy, is not appropriate for wearing on the malecón, and its little tails are falling off. I’m not even sure why I have it, much less kept it in a box under the bed for the last 50 years. I have other items once belonging to my mother that are far more meaningful.


What if Marie Kondo comes to Baja to check on my work? I won’t be able to explain the stole, will I?


So it must go.


I am counting on you, my valued readers, for your recommendations!


Where can the mink stole go to spark some joy once again?


Margaret 2

















5 Responses to “15 September 2015 – Tuesday with Margaret Reish Downing”
  1. Patsy Shaeffer

    Margaret give to one of the weavers and perhaps they can weave it into a wall hanging, scarf,etc.. Or just burn the ugly thing.


  2. Linda Chavez

    Donate it to a museum of natural history

    • Margaret Downing

      I’m thinking the kids at the nearby poblado (Delicias) could make use of it. Thanks for your comment!

  3. satisha sproston

    Hi Margaret,
    Have you considered giving the stole a decent burial? Allow it to transform into something that does bring you joy and loving thoughts of your madre by planting a tree in the same hole.
    Just a thought,.,.,I too have been struggling with my ‘tidying’. Good Luck.

    • Margaret Downing


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