As a mother of many I feel I spend a great deal of time tidying up. More time that I would like. I travel though my house tidying as I go. I have a reasonably large house and by the time I get back to where I have started, someone has undone all my work. An ongoing battle. A battle with stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.
Those of you who know me well will know that I have a weakness for Pinterest. Yes ok, I love it. I admit. While I have spent lots of time tidying I have also spent lots of time looking for better storage ideas and quicker tidying methods. You know what? It doesn’t work. No matter how good a tidier you are, you will never get on top of the stuff. I am a good tidier. I’m proud of my tiding. But it doesn’t get any better. I don’t want to spend my life cleaning and organising. I want to enjoy my life and my children. Many will now say; your children are only children once. Ignore the mess. But I can’t. It makes me mentally distressed. I cannot sit in a mess and feel free. There is no freedom in clutter.
The other day I stumbled across Marie Kondo. I have seen her folding techniques before and have heard of her being this minimalist guru but never really considered it. Seeing some before and after pictures of an avid readers house I decided to investigate further. ‘The life-changing magic of tidying up’ her extremely successful book. On reading the article and many more it linked to, I concluded that this girl was a little crazy. I mean come on, thanking my discarded objects for being in my life. Just a tad strange. But, since some upcoming changes may lead to a house move, I decided to give it a try. I will not move to a new house and bring all this clutter!
The Konmari strategy. By following Feng Shui principles and abandoning the traditional organising tactics, she has created a onetime method. You need never repeat the extensive purge. Tidying thereafter should be quick and stress free. The basic principles are simple. Follow the plan, by the rules, and you will be clutter free. Simple. Although, she does say this could take anything from a few days to 6 months. I don’t have 6 months and I’m pretty sure I can’t do it in a few days!
The action plan:
- Paper work
- Sentimental items
She believes by following her order you will find it easier to purge. I can see why she suggests sentimental items last. By that point, you should be well seasoned and have felt much freedom from purging, that you have the power to tackle the hardest last. Or it could be starting with the biggest burden first. I know myself and all my children have far too much clothes.
- Visualise life clutter free
She asks for more than just imaging your home free of clutter. Imagine your life clutter free. What would you do if you had more space and time. For me, an easier house to keep tidy would leave me time to spend with my family without feeling stressed about mess. For others, it may be space to have a crafting area or room for a new baby. Whatever that space may hold. It’s time to unlock it.
- Keep only those things that spark joy
By this she means don’t keep anything which is not needed, for any reason other than your own enjoyment. If you love an item, no matter what it is, or what others think, keep it. Endorse your love and hold on to it. Anything else however, get rid of it. She believes that by being surrounded by love your inner peace is promoted.
- Keep what is needed
Although she endorses keeping for joy she also states you must keep for need. I know you don’t really love your toilet cleaning supplies, but you do need them. You must keep them. Joy sparked or not. Same goes for paper work. My collection of cattle records and calving dates certainly don’t spark joy, dread maybe, but I do most definitely need them. She effectively establishes techniques to downscale need, be it with papers or supplies.
- Guilt free purging
Don’t hold on to things just because you would feel guilty to part with them. If you have a necklace that cost a bit of money but you don’t really like it. What joy does this give you? What Joy does it give the necklace? Hidden in your jewellery box where no-one can see. Kept only from guilt, not love. Give it away and serve purpose to your life and that of another who will love the necklace. (I know it’s a bit mad but stay with me)
- One day I might….. Will never come
You kept the torn footstool because one day when you get time you will recover it with new fabric. You kept a dress that you once loved because one day I might repair it or adjust it. Kondo says these ‘one days’ will never come. How many of you have something that you are going to fix one day and that one day has long since passed? I know I have. She describes these as weights to our happiness. The freedom we will feel when we let go of these expectations that we will never achieve.
- Tidy like items all in one place
By pulling all your items of that kind to one place you can see the sheer volume of stuff you have. I know it might sound counterproductive to make more mess by dragging all your clothes to the floor in one room. But when you get them there you discover you have 6 black dresses that you only ever wear at funerals. Do you need 6? Did you even know you had 6? Chances are that it’s a no. You will find things you forgot you had. Unloved things. Things you most likely don’t even need. Taking up space. Making clutter.
- Embrace the freedom and be thankful
This is where it gets a little out there. She recommends thanking your discarded item for touching your life. Thanks for the value it gave you and wish it well in its new life. Your possessions reflect your state of mind. Many items will serve to preserve the past or act as a fear for the future. The items that we hold on to as they are reminders of our past. Be it from happy or sad times. The ones we keep for fear of the future. What if we might need to know this. Kondo endorses living in the now and letting go of the past and leaving the future to worry about itself.
I don’t know about you but I am fired up for going Kondo on my house and possessions. I’m not sure I can think like my items are alive and give them thanks. But I am looking forward to the freedom she describes. Imagine a life without clutter. Amazing!
I’ll keep you posted