One of my favourite TV shows right now is Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners. Those of you who know me will not be shocked by this. I am an organiser. I cannot abide mess, clutter, superfluity of stuff, disorder. This part of me has two facets: one, being in a well-organised environment makes me feel calm and in charge; two, I am sensitive to the aesthetics of a space. I like things to look beautiful and feel as thought they “belong” together and where they are.
Without blowing my own trumpet too loudly, most visitors to my home comment on how tidy is. “How do you do it, especially with children?” they vociferate.
I recently discovered The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, a cleaning consultant who takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organise your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. I swear by this notion.
Four-ish years ago, when we knew Mademoiselle Headstrong would be joining us, both The Husband and I shifted into declutter mode in a big way. It was wonderful. I adore throwing things away.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We still have an abundance of “stuff”, paperwork to sort through and discard, a ceaseless stream of “artworks” by our children to bemusedly admire, planks of wood and gigantic pieces of Styrofoam packaging under our house waiting to be discarded. But we are not overwhelmed by it.
How? Because I stay on top of it. One massive purge, and then daily bits and pieces and a bigger frenzy once in a while and you will be in charge of your stuff – it will no longer be in charge of you. Start with just one storage box. One drawer. One rack of clothing. One sock basket. Try it. Go through your house and find FIVE items, big or small, that you can get rid of. Now. Or, another effective approach: walk into a room or around your abode and challenge yourself to move / tidy / remove / fix ten things. Straighten a pillow. Put the newspaper in the recycling. Pick up that piece of carrot that’s been there for two days. So simple. So much instant gratification. School holidays begin for Captain Chatterbox this weekend. After assuring him that nothing he really loves has to go, he agreed to my suggestion that we go through his stuff and decide what he’s willing to donate to less fortunate kids. That’s my boy!
Now, Marie Kondo advocates having a chat with your belongings to see if they “spark joy” and, if they don’t, to thank them for their service to you before you remove them from your life. If this practice floats your boat, don’t let me stop you, but I think that’s taking the decluttering process to that level is a wee bit mental. Even I’m not that crazy … yet …