After what could best be described as a fairly frenetic KonMari attack on a large proportion of my house, I stopped just after Easter and embarked on a brief hiatus to see what would happen if I stopped with the tidying up of all the things… That hiatus has now entered its second month and I don’t seem to be in a rush to tidy up anything else. And you know what, the house is still looking ok.
Now, because I’m not keen on being told what to do, and nor am I keen on doing things the way they’re supposed to be done (just call me Miss Free-Range 2016), my approach to the whole KonMari business was probably a bit scattergun compared to the super orderly super structured purist KM methodology. I should also state up front and out loud that I still do have a fair bit of stuff that I like dotted about the place. This could well be described as crap (or komono) by some people, but I like it (or someone else who lives in my house likes it – looking at you, several butt-ugly paintings in various rooms in my house) and I reckon liking it is enough to meet the definition of joy-sparking. And no, I’m not consigning my teddies to the fucking bin, you heartless moll. Ahem.
I suppose I did start at the start, because I started with clothes, but it appears that I also embarked on the KonMari process before KonMari was a ‘thing’ – two years ago, I did a full kitchen makeover that involved gutting an entire room and remodelling. The method I used to decide what should stay or go was remarkably similar to the KM process. Although I also had to consider whether I used the item, and also whether I had room for the item as I lost a lot of cupboard real estate in the renovation ( I lost the equivalent of a row of cupboards as the old kitchen had cupboards to the ceiling and the new kitchen doesn’t.) I still regret parting with my gorgeous Italian ceramic platters and bowls, but I had nowhere to put them. And they’re the kind of thing I’d a) use once a year and b) had a viable if not as attractive alternative that fit in the damn cupboard. (To be perfectly honest, they didn’t actually fit in a cupboard pre-renovation – they were sort of tucked into a very high up cupboard and threatened to land on unsuspecting cupboard openers.) When I officially reached the kitchen section, I cleaned out the pantry (something that gets done twice a year anyway) and chucked a peeler that shit me and kitchen was done.
And as for sentimental stuff – a bit over a year ago, Chaos moved into his own room after sharing with his little brother for nine years (and us living in the house for 13 or so years at that point. You can imagine.). In order for him to be able to move, I had to clean my very important stuff out of the wardrobe and under the bed and in the corners of what was the spare room. This took me a week, I picked up and looked at every single box and item of stuff that was crammed into that wardrobe and got rid of a lot of stuff – goodbye uni texts and notes, nine years after I graduated is long enough to keep them (I had vague ideas of doing honours, but got a job instead). Goodbye 1988 tax assessment notice. And goodbye pictures of people I didn’t recognise. We filled a skip bin twice over. Not just out of that room, other stuff was being culled at the same time, but I had a red hot go. All my sentimental stuff that I wanted to keep is in a chest of drawers under the house. Three drawers instead of an entire wardrobe and ALL the drawers, several boxes under the bed and a whole lot of other seekrit locations.
But I did tidy my clothes ‘properly’, and, with permission and some assistance, the clothes of the Gentlemen. The win for me is that despite actively removing at least half of my clothes, I have more clothes to wear. And a couple of things I didn’t feel the love for any more are now back in the rotation of clothes I wear (it appears I didn’t have issue with the skirts themselves, just the shirts I used to wear with them. I’ve culled the shirts and wear the skirts with different tops. I still need new trousers, but I’m looking at how I can mend the hook on one pair because the fact they don’t stay done up is what causes the lack of love). After discarding a HEAP of clothes I’d worn once, and some that still had tags, I am so much more discerning in my purchases. Even if something is sparking hot pink electric neon ‘buymebuymebuyme’ joy – like a pair of 8-hole cherry red Doc Martens on proper sale ($90 off) and in my size that stayed right where they were for someone else to love because you know what, they weren’t that comfortable and I really do get hot feet.
The most astonishing thing though is how damn easy it is to keep the wardrobes under control. It took me just over 15 minutes in total(!!!!!!!!) to tidy our wardrobes, including refolding Reg’s jumpers and actually folding my t-shirts (eh, I am lay-zeee. They come back from the ironing fairy on hangers and um. Sometimes they don’t make it to the drawer. But because I only have eleventy bazillion shirts instead of a gazillion, there’s room, so it’s ok.) I was dreading tidying Mayhem’s wardrobe – there was shit everywhere. And seven and a half minutes later. What mess? Yes, I timed it. I’m a dork. Chaos sorted his wardrobe on his own (he’s 13) in under five minutes.
The paper situation at ours has also stayed relatively under control, and the discernment in grocery shopping has continued. Most weeks, I’m under budget; last week, we went to the pub and spent the grocery money on beer and steaks. Oops. Nobody starved. All good. Nothin’ to see here…
I suppose I will go back to it eventually, because there’s still stuff that needs dealing with (probably. Ok, definitely. We have about a million DVDs. Or two million. And Netflix). But after a solid three months of tidying and sorting and rearranging and finding more sensible storage solutions, I’m done enough for now. The house feels lighter, and I can now “see” the maintenance that need doing – like changing light fittings so we can have some task lighting in the dining room, getting some art for the kitchen, cleaning or replacing the carpet in the lounge room…And painting. We’ve been here 14 years, and it needs doing. Not having clutter to ignore means I can see the work that has to be done.
I’ve read some srsly negative shit about the process and how “first world” it is, and how only people who can replace the shit they cull can afford to do it, and people who can’t afford it will be throwing out stuff they need. And the poor people and the war refugees and the hoarders, it makes them seem bad for holding on.Except it’s not like that. Well, not for me, anyway – I’ve not replaced stuff I’ve got rid off, except for a vegetable peeler and a couple of t-shirts. I repaired my coat, and I’m looking at fixing (or, most likely, getting someone else to fix) my pants. Yes, the Jobs that need doing are going to add up, but hello. Actually live in the first world, so the having of a house that needs maintenance is a problem that I have. It’s more about living better with less crap. I’ve not got rid of sentimental stuff, or stuff from my grandmother… I hate to think what will happen when I have to deal with my mum’s stuff, but hopefully, she’ll continue to go through her own KM process in the mean time (and keep giving me things she knows I will appreciate and look after.)