I generally like things to be tidy, to have a place and be put away. It’s not always the case and clutter often infiltrates. Rooms get cluttered and I go about trying to tidy up, somehow the circle continues… I wasn’t a very tidy child, I was lucky, I got to play outside… a lot, usually barefoot. My bedroom was often a mess, not a couple dolls lying around kinda mess but rather utter chaos. I think the expression “It looked like a bomb has gone off in here” originates from my childhood bedroom! More often than not, there was a fort being built in the center of it, made out of every sheet and blanket in the house. It was so bad that I remember my sister offering to tidy it for me on a few occasions (the sister who kept her magazines in chronological order). She would come in and totally make over my room, it was awesome, I found toys I forgot I had, it looked like it was out of a decor mag and it would last a couple days… till I was back to making forts again.
Taking stock of my wardrobe, I have a lot of stuff and it’s time to start decluttering.
Armed with Marie Kondo’s “The life-changing magic of tidying” I set off… Her method has a name – it’s called the ‘Konmari Method’ and her book is not just about how to put your stuff away but about how her method can actually transform your life. So the gist of it is two parts; firstly, you need to put your hands on everything you own and ask yourself “Does this spark joy”? Second, once you have the items you love left, you then find a place for them where they are visible and easy to grab and put back. This is the cornerstone of it all and once achieved – the vicious “tidy circle” will cease and you will have achieved housekeeping Japanese Goddess status!
Lessons I learned:
- Tidy by Category – not by room:
I started with my clothes which according to Marie is where you should start, followed by books, papers, miscellaneous and memorabilia – the hardest one and I totally get why, being the sentimental mug I am – I am going to need an intervention when I get to photos and old letters!
- Discard first:
Put ALL your clothes into one big pile. Leave no stone washed pair of jeans unturned and lying in the laundry basket. EVERYTHING of the clothing category needs to be in the pile and then you go through it one by one. This is apparently why you may have the tidy rebound effect and after a few days, things become cluttered again. How to decide what stays? Hold each item in your hand and ask yourself if it sparks joy? Listen to how your body reacts to the item (apparently it does). If not then thank it and put on the discard pile.
- Storage – (Clothes have feelings too you know):
Marie presents this idea that your clothes are miserable being crumpled and squished into a cupboard and that they would be happier stored correctly and best folded. She also talks about how we don’t treat our socks and tights with enough respect. You should NEVER ball up your socks cause they can’t rest properly! This all seemed terribly “foo foo” but looking at my clothing pile, it was odd how suddenly all my clothes looked exhausted and forlorn! In a nutshell, folding clothes is a far better space saver than hanging them and with the right fold and storage, you will be enlightened. She also recommends old shoeboxes as drawer dividers.
- The Fold
Folding your clothes and storing them vertically makes them easier to see and more difficult to make messy. Can be applied to everything from shirts to socks… yep – a real space saver.
So does her method work? Yes, I believe it does; if done properly following her instruction. Is it life changing? Definitely! Depending on your situation it can be – there is something liberating about it. I remember seeing this one episode of Oprah about hoarders and this one lady had such a problem with stuff she couldn’t open doors to most rooms, it was severe and shocking. Suffice to say she had some rather acute phycological issues and pain she was holding on to and what was even more alarming was the breathing problem she had, due to mold that she couldn’t see from all the stuff piled up everywhere, it was literally making her sick. When they cleared it, all her health problems disappeared and she was able to move past a lot of the trauma she had been through.
The point is, that I think we all have too much stuff, waaay too much stuff. Stuff we don’t need, things we hang on to that we should let go of. I am working towards a far more minimalist lifestyle only surrounding myself with things that bring me joy and the things that usually bring us joy are the people in our lives and the experiences we engage in…not stuff! Skydiving anyone?
The next category on Marie’s list is book’s… and I think I may just dismiss everything I just said and flat out disagree with Marie’s method – because ALL the books always have a place, anytime, anywhere!
Happy folding Lovelies!