Wednesday 16 August 2017

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

I've been intrigued by this book for a while now. Seems like everyone has read it, and everyone has an opinion on her Methods. Some of it sounds rather far fetched, so (this time last year!) it was time to check it out for myself. I bought the book at the start of last year- even though it seems counterintuitive to buy a decluttering book, I feel like I should be borrowing it from the library instead of adding to the (largely book) clutter that needs to be tidied.

I could do with some Life Changing, I imagine we all could. Marie Kondo (who uses her nickname KonMari) promises great things.

The KonMari Method is a simple, smart and effective way to banish clutter forever. Start by discarding. Then organise your space, thoroughly, completely in one go. If you adopt this strategy, you'll never revert to clutter again. 

But it's not just a tidier house she's promising. It's self help, self-actualisation through tidying.

when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don't, what you should and shouldn't do. 

Tidying must start with discarding. It all needs to happen in one mammoth one time effort which Marie suggests will take about six months.

The key is to make the change so sudden that you experience a complete change of heart.

Sort by category, not by location. And you must, must, must tidy in the right order- clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items and then sentimental items and keepsakes. Naturally, there are then subcategories within these categories.

All you need to do is look at each item, one at a time, and decide whether or not to keep it and where to put it.

It's rather pivotal that she has turned the decision "Should I throw this dress out?" around to become "Should I keep this ornament?" which is where the much derided "Does this jumper/book/pillow spark joy?" comes from.

Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.

KonMari doesn't encourage her clients to listen to music while they work, and listening to the TV is "out of the question". Oh and you'll need a bright early start.

When I've been considering her method in any of the dozens of articles I've read I have wondered about being wasteful, but KonMari tells us that we can't "be distracted by thoughts of being wasteful". Yes, I see why she would say that, and I have seen some of those hoarders on tv saying that they are keeping things for recycling or environmental reasons, but I think it is a consideration. I think we do need to be mindful about what we do with waste. Clothes are fairly easy - we can all donate them to charities, but what about things that are valuable, just not to you? Should these things just be tossed in landfill? It seems ridiculous to do so as polar bears are dying out and the Great Barrier Reef is bleaching.

KonMari is ruthless here.

To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To throw away what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful. 
And I think she does just throw things out. There was a lot of measuring of progress in garbage bags.

Let them go, with gratitude.

She's very big on folding. "By nearly folding your clothes, you can solve almost every problem related to storage." But then she goes way beyond natty Japanese space saving methods.

The act of folding is far more than making clothes compact for storage. It is an act of caring, an expression of love and appreciation for the way these clothes support your lifestyle. Therefore, when we fold, we should put our heart into it, thanking our clothes for protecting our bodies. 
There is then a written folding tutorial which gets rather complex. Thankfully for the more visual processors amongst us Gwyneth Paltrow is all over this at her GOOP site and has an illustrated video guide to folding.

I hadn't been aware that my socks needed to rest when they were not helping me walk in my shoes!

I've actually made quite a bit of progress in my War on Clutter in the past year. Most of it wasn't due to the KonMari method, but reading this book really did help me in the pre-contemplation stage.

And now by the Life Changing Magic of not tidying this post and posting it in the last year I can manage to actually post something for Women in Translation Month 2017 without really trying. 


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I love the ideas in this book. I keep remembering how long it took to clean out my grandparents' house after they passed away; I don't want anyone to have to spend that much time tossing things after I'm gone.

Brona said...

I like your comment about pre-contemplation - that's how I used this book too. I used to roll my t-shirts etc, but now I fold them Kondo's way because they do actually fit better in my drawers that way.

I've got much better at passing on books once I've read them, but I've yet to tackle the photo's.
That's s bigger, harder job!

Jeanie said...

This book makes me totally tense and agitated and I swear she's a nut case. Not that all her ideas are bad (and much as I hate to admit it, I've started folding and rolling and it does save room in the drawers and cut down on wrinkling when you pack.) But don't you touch my books, Marie Kondo! Don't you dare go near my art supplies and taking a picture of things that are meaningful and wishing them well before they go out into the world to make someone else happy does not solve my separation anxiety issues!

I'd better hit publish because I can already feel my blood pressure rising!