Diabetes KonMari: Supplies

Have you heard about The KonMari Method? It’s the concept of de-cluttering your life developed by Marie Kondo. She wrote this book:

51H8x07Fd7L._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

She wants you to only keep things that “spark joy” and to find a place for everything in your home. Obvious, she does not have diabetes, because she would know that it’s hard to get that spark of joy from a lancet. But.. I kind of get what she means. (I’ll explain later.)

I was curious (her “method” is hot on Facebook and Pinterest), so I took a gander at what her revolutionary concepts boiled down to – and if I could adapt them for life with diabetes.

KonMari: Diabetes Supplies

Here’s what her main concepts are – and my take on whether I can (or you can) KonMari my diabetes supplies. Some of what she espouses is a little touchy-feely, but if you can go with the flow or look past “thanking your items,” you might find Diabetes KonMari could work for you, too.

  • Tidy up all at once, not little by little. The idea that if you just try to organize a little bit every day, you’ll end up organizing just a little bit every day.
    • I feel like that’s all I do with a kid. Tidy up little by little – a Lego here, a stray sock there. You know the phrase: “Death by a thousand cuts?” That’s what tidying up little by little can feel like. Anything that I can do for my diabetes to “tidy up all at once in one fell swoop,” I’m willing to do. Also, need to check those expiration dates, right? So, let’s do this.
  • Sort by category, not by location. “The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, mementos…Sticking to this sequence sharpens our intuitive sense of what items spark joy inside us.”
    • OK, it’s all komono with diabetes, right? Grab all your diabetes supplies and everything related to diabetes. Everything. Put them all together. Wait. Did you forget that box of lancets hiding in the other bathroom? That one, too. The meter in your purse? The extra meter in your suitcase? Glucose tabs. Juice boxes. Anything and everything to do with diabetes, down to the extra supplies in your emergency kit. Put it all there, sweetie. Everything.
  • Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely. “Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding,” she exhalts.
    • I had diabetes detritus that I didn’t even know I still owned. Items that I’m sure I said once: “I might need that.” and threw it in a box. Lancets from 2004, still in the packaging. (Admit it… you probably do, too, if you’ve had diabetes that long.) I culled my diabetes supplies down from a mountain to a fairly robust mound, putting some items into piles for donation (if I could) and trash (if I couldn’t). Gotta say it was cathartic. And here’s why…
  • sparks-1-1553324-640x480Keep only the things that “spark joy”. She wants us to pick up every item and ask, “Does this spark joy?” She tells us: “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.” Let’s be real. We’re not going to hold every item. But…
    • “What the hell, Christel!?! (Yes, that rhymes.) How can diabetes supplies give me joy?” Yeah, yeah. I’m right there with you. Except that I have this one favorite lancing device that I use, so why do I have seven different other types of lancing devices that I will never use? Why do I keep infusion sets that I tried once and abhorred? Why do I have glucose tabs that make me gag in the bottom of a backpack? (I’d rather eat table sugar.)
    • The point of this is to figure out what you do like and keep those items and get rid of the rest. If you’re scared about losing your one lancing device you own, get another from your medical team or purchase one. (Or swap an unused one with someone you know.) Clear out the stuff you “might use someday if I use up everything else” and you’ll find you have the diabetes supplies that may not bring you unbounded joy, but don’t suck.
  • Once you’ve finished discarding things — (selling them, donating them, giving them away, or ::gasp:: throwing them away) — only then do you store them. KonMari tells you to think about why you have a particular item(s), and then think hard about the role it plays in your life. Ask when you got it. Why you got it. How about that spark? If you decide it’s not worth keeping, you can say, “Thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me,” and let it go.
    • Um… I don’t think you have to touch and thank each lancet separately. You’d be “thanking” for a long time. But think about what you don’t need.
    • But in donating these items, you’re helping someone else. Books on diabetes that you don’t need? Donate them to your local library or share them with your local diabetes group. Ask if anyone could you unused lancets, syringes, meters, etc. and gift them to someone who will be sparked by joy. And if you can’t find anyone, you can always donate to Insulin For Life – USA. (Link and info on what you can donate here.) But throw away any expired or used items. Those aren’t helping anyone – especially you.
  • If you use it, you need to put it away. Storage is key. “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort to get them out.”
    • I bought clear plastic bins with locking lids and put my most used items (strips, pump supplies, and Dexcom sensors) on a shelf that I can easily access. Extras? Storage that is easily accessible but out of the way. What about glucagon? Glucose tabs? Those lannnnnccccetttts? Find a place for them to “belong” and keep them there until they are needed. Nothing is worse that trying to find a glucagon kit shoved in a drawer.
  • Eliminate visual clutter. “By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.”
    • Sounds funny, right? “I keep the meter on my bedside table, along with my juicebox and my glucose tabs and my receiver and…” We talk about being overwhelmed with our supplies/devices sometimes, so this is what I’m doing:
      • My bedside drawer holds my meter, my glucose tabs/juicebox, etc. At night, I take them out and if they didn’t get used, they go back into the bedside drawer in the morning. It’s a hard habit, but I like being able to look over in the morning and see the absence of diabetes on the night table.
      • I’ve begun to find storage places and taking diabetes out of my line of sight, but I know where everything is stored now.

empty-box-1312775-639x424Would you be wiling to try and KonMari your diabetes? Do you think this method can’t be used for diabetes? Or do you have a better method to “spark joy?” I’m curious as to your thoughts, too!

Insulin for Life USA

9450799For many of us, the thought of not having insulin or testing supplies is…unthinkable. We know what happens and it’s not acceptable. There are many organizations that work throughout the world to help people with diabetes get the life-saving elixir and the needed supplies to those who would otherwise have nothing… and bluntly put… die without our help.

When I see people on social media ask where they can send unused insulin and supplies, I immediately think of Insulin for Life USA.

Who is Insulin for Life USA?

They are a not-for-profit organization located in Gainesville, FL. They collect unexpired and  unneeded insulin, test strips, and other diabetes supplies (think lancets!), and ship them to developing countries. They are then distributed, free of charge, to children and adults with diabetes who otherwise would go without these life saving medications.

What does Insulin for Life USA need?

Here’s the list.

They will accept insulin vials and pen cartridges, syringes and pen needles, glucagon kits, A1C kits, ketone sticks, new in box meters, strips, lancets, and unused lancing devices. You can pack your unused supplies and ship them to Insulin for Life USA and they’ll send you a tax-donation receipt. (I’ve done it. It’s super easy.) Here’s all the info…

Insulin4Life_Flyer

Donation packing guide

Updated Shipping Label

Why Insulin for Life USA and not somewhere else?

Yes, I know that there are people in the US that need supplies. There are a ton of “pay it forward” groups on Facebook where people are asking for insulin or strips to help them get through. There are gaps in insurance or help right here in the US. (And I created the comprehensive list of programs and co-pay assistance for people in the US to get prescription medications and supplies because most people don’t even know about them!)

But…

Imagine no pharmacies. No Wal-Marts. No cheap way to get a vial of Relion insulin, a meter and a few strips to tide you over.

Nothing.

Think about how you would feel.

This is why Insulin for Life USA exists. And if you have the ability to send a box of unused supplies to that person with diabetes to give them something…. please know that this option exists.

They’re on Facebook and posted this message yesterday:

You may recall in late August that Tropical Storm Erika devastated the small country of Dominica in the Caribbean.

Insulin for Life USA has been contacted by the International Diabetes Federation requesting that we send diabetes support to aid in the rebuilding process. We encourage those who would like to play a role in this emergency support and our ongoing efforts to assist those in need to consider making a donation.

You can become a part of our team either by donating insulin, test strips and other diabetes supplies or by making a financial contribution. All gifts to Insulin for Life USA are considered tax deductible by the IRS.

There are many worthy organizations. This is one of them. And they’re not asking for money (well, yes, they will take a monetary donation…), but if you have unused supplies…. this is the organization that can distribute them to those who have no access. 

And I’m all about that.