Miss Maudy v KonMari
When I was reading Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I came to a very strange realisation – the fundamental philosophy behind tidying KonMari style was the basic philosophy I utilised when I renovated my kitchen. Now, that was an epic epic job – the entire kitchen was being gutted to empty shell, and not only that, while the new kitchen was going to have more space, it was going to have less storage. When we first moved into this house, I was pregnant (and a little bit cray cray) and we were moving the contents of two kitchens worth of stuff into one. Shit got shoved in cupboards, never to be seen again until the day we did the giant clean out. Anyway, with assistance from mum, we pulled every single thing out of every single cupboard and every single item was handled by me and a decision made about whether it should stay or go – first run through, I probably got rid of 40% of the crap in the kitchen – most of which ended at the op shop, some at mum’s place. Fast forward two weeks and I’m ready to move everything back in, and I revisited each item again and got rid of another third of what was left. Every single thing left in the kitchen has a purpose and a place, including the Kitchen Witch (ye olde Scandinavian or even ye olderer European tradition – I’ve had her for years, and she lives in the cupboard).
Two years later… seriously, the damn kitchen is the easiest room in the house to clean because it NEVER gets untidy. Ok, occasionally there’s crap all over the bench, but it goes away really quickly to where it belongs. In two years, the sum total of ‘tidying’ I’ve done in the kitchen is sorting the pantry every six months, and occasionally tidying the plastics drawer. That’s it. One room in my house is always tidy and almost always clean. (Ok, two – our bathroom is so minimalist anyway, that it stays tidy by default. I probably spend twenty minutes a year in there, tidying up and that’s when I go through the medicine cabinet to chuck out of date shit). And therein lies the proof in the slightly underdone puddin’. Getting rid of most of your crap means it’s easier to keep the rest of it under submission. In fact, it almost does it by itself. Who. Would. Have Thought.
It appears I have test-KonMaried a room and it worked.
Now, I know declutter THEN clean is the underlying message of the Flylady, however, KonMari is more flat out like a lizard drinking go at the decluttering ’til your head explodes or it’s done; and Flylady is pissing around, picking at the edges for 15 minutes at a time. I’m more of a boots and all type, so yeah. Singing my song. Loudly, albeit slightly out of tune.
Before I bit the bullet and read the book, I’d already gone through my clothes and culled three or four bags of clothes and shoes. After I read the clothes section though, I went through them again and whadderyou know – there was a whole bundle of stuff that barely sparked ‘meh’ so out they went. When I was a callow yoof, I used to drive my mum insane (it’s in my contract, I still do) because, while I was a scatty, lazy teenager (and a scatty lazy twenty something and maybe thirty something, if I am completely being honest here) with a propensity to fling shit from one end of the house to the other, and store things in precarious piles, my wardrobe was always immaculate. Shirts hung in sleeve lengths and colour coordinated and everything. So, when Ms Kondo was talking about how to organise and how to hang your stuff once you’d culled it – man, I was humming her tune. I rearranged three t-shirts in the drawer, pulled out two more for the ‘meh’ pile and I could feel the damn joy in that drawer. It was singing. Weird, hey.
The wardrobe – I realised that some of my skirts would rather be hung by the waist than over a hanger, and I got rid of *another* bag of stuff from one tiny section of my wardrobe that I’d already been through twice before. I do have a wee selection of clothes that I do like but I don’t fit into – BUT as I am losing weight, albeit slowly, they can stay until a) they fit or b) I change my mind. This includes a truly gorgeous frock that I adore (it sparks lerve, baby) BUT the fucker is a wee bit tight across my bum and across my bosom (which became formidable). If I don’t lose enough weight to fit in it without feeling like Jessica fucking Rabbit, I will sell it at the end of the year.So there. Said it in public. That means I have to, doesn’t it!?
I’m not one for a heap of accessories – I wear the same pieces of jewellery every day, I use the same handbag every day, and the odd bits and bobs of jewellery I have that I don’t wear all the time, I still like so it’s all stayed; I ditched a couple of unsuccessful handbags and that was that bit done. Our room is still a work in progress, I have the entire top shelf of my side of the wardrobe to go – there’s a LOAD of crap up there, but it all belongs to non-clothing related categories, so it can wait for the time being or until the siren call of that damn shelf becomes too hard to resist.
All my books are in one place (ok, two places. Cook books are in the dining room, and I went through them at the same time as the kitchen. Everything else is in a 2m by 3m book case. I’m onto the book case at the moment – this is epic. The Knee will not allow me to kneel, and it’s too fucking hard to stand up from ground level without using my knees at any point. So, I’ve dragged in a bench from outside, and I’m sorting fiction into the boxes. Non-fiction can wait until I can kneel! Now, I’m not looking for books to spark joy, because quite frankly, ALL books spark joy. I’m using a much more pragmatic sense – “Do I love this author enough to buy their books in paper?” and “Am I ever going to read this again?” Nope goes in a box, yep and maybe goes back on the shelf for now. I figure when I go through what’s left on the shelf, a few more will end up in a box. So far, six boxes and 190 books are heading to the school fete in a couple of months. Wins all round.