Last Tuesday I wrote about being a clutterbug and feeling a bit swamped with the household chores and finally deciding to do something practical – step forward Marie Kondo : The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.
I got comfy, a coffee and sat down to find out how tidying and decluttering is going to solve my problems. The first line in the preface read :
“Have you ever tidied madly, only to find that all too soon your home or workspace is cluttered again?”
“If so, let me share with you the secret of success”
Ok, I’ve bitten – tell me more!
“When it comes to tidying, we are all self-taught”
No-one is taught to tidy. We are told to tidy our rooms as kids, but not shown how.
“Tidy once and properly”
Doing a little at a time is a fallacy – STOP IT
“If you put your house in order properly, you’ll be able to keep your room tidy always, even if you are lazy or messy by nature”
I’m hooked; reel me in! Game on!
The first chapter lays out the theory and quashes some long held tidying beliefs that probably 99% of the nation hold as gospel, having lived by them for generations. For example, storage solutions are not infact solutions, they are part of the problem – they encourage hoarding. But I like storage solutions and everything looks so lovely and organised in IKEA. No, I must be strong. Also, tidying up by room or by area is bogus – need to tidy by category, as in ALL the clothes in one go or ALL the paperwork etc. I am a tidy by room person so this could be interesting. Starting to get itchy to get started, but not yet finished the first chapter (there are 5 chapters). The most important 2 things to consider in this exercise is discard v’s where to keep it, that’s it. Keep or chuck, and if keep, it had better have a home. At this point, my bullshit beacon starts to gently whir into action, not quite at the bells, whistles and disco lights stage, just a nod towards a sceptical raising of the eyebrows (plural here, I cannot raise just one eyebrow independently, try as I have over the years.) when I am informed that this is a once in the lifetime tidying exercise and once done I will never have to tidy again ( not never ever, maybe once a year for about an hour or so…). HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA The sceptic in me is proper ROFL-ing at this, while my inner optimist is shushing the laughter, with, come the fuck on, let’s give it a go and just see. Because, in truth I REALLY want this to work.
In order for this to work, there is thought and consideration to be observed and processed before delving head first in to “the big tidy” as I am now calling it.
A little homework is required. That, and actually reading beyond the first chapter! So I read the entire book, regularly quelling the urge to “maybe just get started on the books in the bookshelf” between chapters. Now having read the book, and without having tidied anything – and I mean this quite literally, I haven’t tidied or cleaned other than the usual stuff like dishes and laundry since I picked up this book – here is what I have learned so far:
- Desperate though I am to get stuck in and start emptying the wardrobe and drawers, I first must think about and visualise what I hope my home/life will look like once the process is complete. Ok done that :
happy serene clutterless show home*reality check* happy comfortable family home that still has elements of our personalities and character but with no likely injury sustained in form of lego foot or tripping up over assorted crap, all the while knowing where stuff is and not losing my rag when I can’t find ‘something’. That works for me.
- Tidy by category – clothes / books / papers / miscellanous (aka komono) / sentimental stuff. The individual categories are further broken down but this is the bare frame work. Tidy the entire category IN 1 GO, starting with discarding – very important. Discard. Discard. Discard. Don’t even think about where it’s going to live if it’s staying, until the discarding is complete. This also includes discarding all the now defunct advice around keeping an orderly home we have grown up with.
- Does it spark joy? As daft as it sounds, hold each individual item, eyes closed and ask yourself if this item sparks joy – if not, discard. Initially when reading this, I was a bit “are you serious?” but as she explains it, it does actually make sense – trust me! It’s a bit like the famous William Morris quote :
- Understand and appreciate that while this method will be done one category at a time and in one go, it will take some time to do the whole lot. KonMarie recommends around 6 months. 6 months? That’s ages! That is not quick, I am impatient and want it done NOW. Or at least before start of December, because, well, it’s December, and decorations, and making/baking time. So that is my deadline – November 30th to have KonMarie’d my home.
- The most startling thing I have gleaned from the 240 pages is the sheer amount of bin-bags full of rubbish that has been discarded by herself, her clients and followers of this method. People tossing 50-200 45ltr bin bags during the gutting of their homes! There is no mention during the process of the method I have seen so many times else where – the 3 bag process, 1 for bin, 1 for charity shop 1 for recycling. Everything in this book appears to get humphed in the trash, leaving me in a cold sweat with LANDFILL scrolling continuously across my mind’s eye like *Breaking News* ribbon on the TV. Read the book as see for yourself *shudders*. I will NOT be chucking everything in the bin, as little as possible will be destined for a landfill-fate.
- At pg 223 my bullshit beacon broke out the bells, whistles, disco lights and jazz hands. I seriously wondered if this was the end of my KonMarie reading, 17 pages shy from the end. I know I believe in, some would say, “hippie dippie crazy shit, and am open to the possibility of re-incarnation, BUT, not really that open to the energy of clothes/possessions re-incarnating (I have difficulty with this passage):
“Everything you own wants to be of use to you. Even if you throw it away…it will only leave behind the energy of wanting to be of service. Freed from its physical form, it will move about your world as energy, letting other things know you are a special person, and come back to you as the thing that will be most use to who you are now…A piece of clothing might come back as a new and beautiful outfit, or it may reappear as information or a new connection. I promise you: whatever you let go will come back in exactly the same amount, but only when it feels the desire to return to you.”
- Then there were the claims that tidying and putting your house in order could also make you thinner and more beautiful with clearer skin….
Anyway, the last 2 points aside, I actually can’t wait to finally get started. My itch is about to be scratched. But first, I need to do a bit of regular cleaning, or else I will end up creating a midden whilst trying to tidy my way to peace and contentment, and that’s just not going to work.
Oh yeh, ehm, so I may have told a wee white lie about not starting the clearing out…yesterday I had a flash of inspiration and retrieved an old dress of mine that I have held onto for years (possibly around 2o years give or take) because I adore the pattern and colours despite knowing I will never again fit into it, and re-covered an old canvas that I no longer liked. Instant art that sparks joy. I’d say that is a result!
I’m raring and good to go. Less Pokemon Go and more KonMari GO! Starting with clothes.