Anyone else new to Marie Kondo? I stumbled across it recently and now think Netflix needs an award for offering up a bit of soul in a 40 minute sitting. Although my hubby would disagree as he calls it the screechy ladies programme. Watch the welcomes and greetings in the programme and you will understand his point.
For those of you who haven’t got a scoobie doo as to what I’m going on about, let me explain. Marie is a tidying consultant. Yes, you heard me right. She brings sunny positivity to cleaning and tidying and invites you to reimagine your life by letting go of your possessions. Again, yes you heard me correctly. It’s almost a step beyond decluttering. There’s a sense of reverence to the process. She quite literally introduces herself to the house by kneeling, bowing her head and silently respecting her new environment. It’s all very Zen.
I’m going to rewind as Marie’s programme isn’t the first time I’ve been persuaded on the benefits of decluttering and reorganising. I used to be pretty messy, I didn’t respect my belongings and I was encumbered by far too many ‘things’. I found it hard to let go of physical items. I read a diet book called the ‘Louise Parker Method’ (she would argue her book isn’t a diet, but you know what I mean). Her second chapter is about decluttering and before you start her programme, she asks you to make decisions about letting go of your possessions. I found it a little hard to accept that losing weight would be easier if you let go of your stuff. Nonetheless I followed her advice, and 15 charity shop bags later I felt amazing. I felt lighter and I could think more clearly. A billy bonus was that I could put my hands on what I needed. Plus, I felt so good giving to charity. It was win, win, win.
I’m not perfect at it, but if you visited my home you would hopefully know that we try and keep our knickknacks down to a minimum and it’s only things that truly bring us joy that we keep and display (that’s a Marie philosophy – retain what sparks joy). This is now a conscious decision. When my home becomes littered with too much ‘stuff’, I start to feel tetchy. I like this idea that it’s so much more than simply just chucking out your redundant belongings. This blog, for example, came out of this philosophy. I was quite frustrated one day by my store cupboards. I was pulling out packets of out of date foods, simply because they were out of sight, out of mind. I had a bloated sense of what was a food cupboard “staple”, plus we were left with foods disregarded after failed healthy eating intentions. This was a recipe for wasted food pie. I felt so frustrated. What an utter indulgence. I instinctively knew the root of the problem was food clutter – I had no system. I set about buying some shelves for the kitchen to make my own form of a pantry. I got a load of different size glass storage jars from that online shop that sounds like a rainforest. It didn’t matter if they matched or not, it just mattered that I could clearly see what I had.
On the day they arrived I took much delight in having a good old-fashioned sort out. Lots of decanting took place. I was just in the middle of putting rice into a jar when I got cocky and tipped a significant amount over the counter. Instinctively I went to swipe the rice into my hands to go straight in the food bin. I stopped. There was nothing wrong with the rice and the side was clean. There was no reason why that rice couldn’t be put in the jar, but it wasn’t my first instinct to do that. At that very moment I thought about the person who had hand-picked the rice. I have no idea why. But there it was. A distinct sense of shame for my impending wastefulness. The feeling washed over me, and I put the rice in my hands straight in the jar. And that’s when it came to me. Somebody Somewhere. That person, who picked the rice for me, was worth thinking about before I wasted. This wasn’t about rich versus poor. Somebody’s life can appear poor to a Western eye, but in fact be so very rich in life. This was about being less self-absorbed and taking a world view on things. I don’t think I could have had this moment if I hadn’t of gone through the process of reorganising my kitchen and accepting how wasteful I am. I now had a system, I only had what I needed, and I could clearly see everything. I don’t think it was a coincidence that I was then open to a moment of inspiration. And in that moment, I felt ready to set up a blog, after a few years of thinking about it.
I have a few tips below, but I would recommend watching Marie’s programme. If for no other reason that the aura she radiates. Here’s my take on it:
- Do a bit at a time and do it well when you do it. I like to do a room at a time, whereas Marie likes to do categories of sorting (e.g. clothes, books etc).
- Select anything that shouldn’t live in that room, and at the very least get it to its right home. I don’t know about you, but my belongings migrate like they have a life of their own.
- Get everything out. Everything. Look at it and make bold decisions. If you don’t love it (Marie’s joy), you don’t need it – let it go.
- Decide if it needs to be binned or put to a charity shop. I promise if you charity shop it rather than car boot it you are going to let go of far more. When you do visit the charity shop really be present – this is the reward. Revel in it!
- Put your keepers back in some sort of reasonable order and try to compartmentalise. Again Marie has some lovely approaches to this, but I personally don’t feel the need to do her clothes folding thing.
- Move the redundant stuff out of the house as quickly as possible. Don’t give yourself the chance to make an alternative decision. It’s destined for a new home.
- Keep it up – it’s easier to keep on top of things than to let it go and start from scratch.
Now one final word of warning. You will feel the need to spontaneously rearrange your Tupperware shelf. And you will feel strangely great. Don’t believe me? Trust Einstein when he says, ‘out of clutter, find simplicity.’ Enjoy!