Think I mentioned last time I plopped ma fingers on the keyboard that I would maybe have a wee chat you youse alls about the houseworkings. Now, I am at best, an ordinary house keeper. I have staff to deal with the basics – the ironing disappears on Monday morning and comes back on Wednesday all smooth and delicious. The dog hair and dust disappears in a similar fashion on a Friday. Crinkle free clothes and a clean house – what more can a lassie desire?
A lassie might like a gourmet chef to prepare delicious, nutritious and calorie free meals, someone to hunt and gather free range and organic ingredients for aforementioned meals; and someone who will transform the slightly grubby and well-worn clothing into a suitable state for de-crinkling. Yeah. Like that’s ever going to happen. There are also those rotten little jobs that fall outside the bailiwick of the cleaning fairy and the ironing fairy, like cleaning the oven, and murdering the dust bunnies behind the bed, and washing the fucking shower curtain so it doesn’t go mouldy. Oh, and cleaning the damn coffee machine. Sour milk and coffee smell so attractive. Not. There’s a whole heap of other little jobs that – while you know the earth won’t fall off its axis if they’re not done – make the earth rotate a lot more smoothly when they are.
Hence my dalliance with the Flylady and the KonMari business – I’ve also dallied with a few other ‘cleaning systems’ in the past as well, with similar amounts of (ahem) success. I keep going back to Flylady because she does keep track of those Little Jobs; and I keep breaking up because the twee and mundane and the fucking hell, I can feel my blood pressure rising. Lordy.
Now, I gave KonMari’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a red hot go last year. I looked for joy in all the right places, and I culled and I cleaned and I sorted. Bags and bags of stuff got sent to the op shop and the school fete and to friends with needs for random things that I had but didn’t need. Then I got to a point where I a) didn’t want to spend all my free time tidying up and b) reached a level of ‘clutter’ I can more or less live with. I live with three other people and a hairy little dog, and we all have our own level of mess. Obviously, mess times four is not sustainable (the dog also contributes hair and leaves her toys around the house, so it’s really mess times five), but a girl has to have some light in her life. So, I stopped tidying for a bit to see what would happen.
And this is what happened…
Clothes – well. I have gone back in to all our clothes every few months and culled a bit and culled a bit more and culled a bit too much (oops) to the point where I had to replace a few items with “it will do for now” rather than actual joy sparkers, because public nudity is still not an acceptable thing. On the plus side, some joy sparkers I did keep are now in rotation after the diminishing bosom diminished enough I can do up buttons. There’s nowt like shopping the wardrobe for a wee bargain or ten. BUT, in saying that, the last cull was a wee shopping bag between the four of us, rather than 5-6 garbage bags it was the first time and 3-4 the second time; and to the best of my knowledge, nothing was new with tags. Also, in the past, sorting clothes was a FULL day’s job for the four of us. Now, it took me less than an hour to sort Reg and my wardrobes, and maybe 20 minutes each for the kids. Win. I have become a more discerning shopper – I know that I do not like certain cuts of t-shirt, I don’t like some fabrics, and I prefer dresses with no defined waist lines. I will go shopping for a precise item of clothing and only buy that item. (And if someone knows where I can replace a pair of butt-ugly walking shorts with pockets, I will be eternally grateful) I’m saving a fortune! Even with the kids clothes, I am buying half what I would have bought them in the year.
Oh, and when I fold the clothes, I can’t help but mutter to myself about Ms Kondo’s folding theory being alright for teeny tiny Japanese lady clothes and underpants for teeny tiny Japanese lady bottoms, while I wrangle the suitable for a six foot plus cuddly Anglo Saxon man’s clothes into submission so they’ll fit into the teeny tiny 1950’s style cupboards we have at ours. Mutter grumble. I did re-jig the folding techniques somewhat to accommodate the relative size differential (in comparison to those tiny Japanese Lady Things) of Man sized (and tall lady sized) items of clothing . Sweet folding spots are over-ridden by the gravitational pull exerted by a XXL hoodie.
Books and paper – I did a massive cull of books last year, and while I’ve had to resort to buying the odd paper book again, I’ve not bought *that* many. I’ve even backed away from the cook books. I have actually exchanged cold hard foldings for e-books as well since my previous source sorta dried up, damnit. And I have always been pretty good at paper – I keep what I have to and cull a year’s worth at a time.
Komono – As far as crap goes, that’s even been kept to an acceptable level. And, again with the discerning shopping… Not buying shit because it’s pretty is a good way to save a load of money and not necessitate an endless cycle of pulling out all the things and putting them all back again to squeeze in the new pretty thing that you are 98% sure you’re going to use once. Oops. There’s a couple of places I need to re-visit, and I still need to get an Old Person to sit down with me and name names in the photo albums, but aside from that – all good. When I look into cupboards, stuff is still more or less where I left it a year ago, if it’s been used, it’s gone back, if it hasn’t been used, it’s still Weird Shit you can’t actually throw out, because it’s all stuff that you’ll need it when you need it and not before, and the effort to procure said weird shit outweighs the minor irritation of keeping it in the damn cupboard.
So, at the end of the day, realistically I am not a minimalist and I never will be. I am never going to end up with bare walls and one artfully placed blossom in a gorgeous vase. While it’s nice to look at, it’s totally not my jam. I like to have nice things around me, and the people I live with also like to have their things out where they can be admired and enjoyed. (And where they can reach them, assuming there’s going to be a shortage of zooper dooper wrappers and chip packets in the future. But that’s mess that can be dealt with by the perpetrator in eleven seconds flat).
My house is tidy enough.