Marie Kondo to the rescue!

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I have always reacted to stress in my life by trying to bring beauty and order to my personal life. The El Faro sank on October 1, 2015. When it happened I was pretty busy working as a Port Relief Officer at the Matson docks and later as third mate aboard the Matson ship M/V Mokihana. The El Faro was on everyone’s mind on the dock and on the ships. I was sure that it was time for me to stop going to sea. I spoke of it often to my shipmates and coworkers. It is an old trope among mariners that everyone always talks about retiring for years and years before they do. I had to take a lot of good natured ribbing every time I said I was going to retire.

Once I finished that seagoing assignment in 2016, I was on vacation for a while. I had just gone past my 20th year of days at sea, qualifying to retire. I was extremely disappointed to find out how small my union pension would be. I would not be able to retire until I was 59.5 so that I could draw on my 401K and IRAP (Individual Retirement Account Pension.) It was then that my mind began to fixate on the El Faro since I knew I would have to work on old dangerous ships for at least two more years.

Just as the stress started to mount I heard about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I read the book page for page, carefully following the play in the order Marie Kondo outlined.

I had no idea that the closet was so large.
Who would have ever thought that there could be so much stuff in my small place. This only the clothes.
All the paperwork I was needlessly keeping.
Some of the clothes neatly stowed.
All my books stacked up.

It took me about seven days, and at the end I had sorted out fully half the things I owned. All the things I kept were stowed away quite neatly, and over the past two years making sure they stayed neat was a process, which never failed to sooth me.

This was the pile that Salvation Army came and hauled away.
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