De-cluttering: No mess and certainly no sentimentality!
THE latest de-cluttering craze has been sparked by a little book written by Japanese tidier-upper Marie Kondo. The thrust of her message is that you keep only what brings you joy.
Now, I'm not sure exactly how literally we're all supposed to take that. I have tons of stuff in my house that don't bring me any joy at all, but I can't get rid of them. Clothes horses. Wellington boots. The desperately unflattering glasses I must now wear at my laptop.
Like lots of things in my life, they're just useful. But I can't honestly say that they bring me joy.
However, in an attempt to organise some of the mess that seems to surround me, I decided I'd give her ideas a lash. She suggests de-cluttering by category, rather than location. And you start with clothes.
So I did. I took every item of clothing I possess out of my wardrobe and chest of drawers and dumped it on my bed. I took one look at it all and decided I'd go out for a coffee.
Duly caffeinated, I returned, and began the job. Apparently you have to hold an item close to you and ask if it brings you joy. If it does, you fold it a particular way (or hang it, although I didn't really get into that) and you keep it. If it doesn't, you thank it and say goodbye.
After the 20th item, I realised I was on a hiding to nothing. If I were going to follow her instructions, I'd be waking up the following morning with nothing to wear except my pyjamas. And only a single pair of those, while we're at it.
I decided I'd try another method. The would-I-be-embarrassed-if-I-met-an-old-boyfriend-while-wearing-this? method.
It was fecking marvellous. Out went all the ball-y sweaters, the shapeless jeans, the black cardigans...how does a woman accumulate so many black cardigans? That no self-respecting nun would wear?
Just under an hour later, I put the final piece of clothing in the charity bag. Then I hung the few items back in my wardrobe, and wondered what I'd do with the three empty drawers. I now have Wardrobe-At-A-Glance. That's a new term, by the way. I've just made it up. WAAG.
I haven't figured yet how I'm going to tackle every other area of my cluttered life. I mean, obviously the method I deployed for my clothes, is hardly going to work for the various folders, baskets, boxes and random shelves that hold endless paperwork. But then, neither will the Does-this-bring-me-joy method. Because who the hell finds papers joyful?
At this stage, I read Ms Kondo's instructions again. Apparently we also keep entirely necessary stuff. Fair enough. If only I had a more organised brain to figure that out, though.
And I have to tackle things like Miscellaneous (I shudder at the thought) and Sentimental Stuff. Absolutely nothing from this last category will be dumped, much to my kids' mortification.
In the meantime, the ridiculous amounts of toiletries and makeup the average woman seems to end up with, is no longer a problem in my house. The master bedroom is now a shining example of Feng Shui. Truly a joy to behold.
Because I've been able to shove everything into those three empty drawers.
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