Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Clearing the Decks: Test Driving Marie Kondo's Tidying Treatise

Have you ever noticed how big changes in life loosen the hold of long held habits, opening the door to more change?
To me it seems that change casts a spell over our lives, creating a window of time where the weave that holds the fabric of our choices together relaxes just a little, releasing an energy capable of blasting through 'baked on' life norms.

My current life changing event, moving from part time to full time work (via an absolutely blissful month break) has had me thinking about change, 'impact' and 'bang for my buck'.

In my usual style I waited until the last week and a half before 'new job kick off' to start thinking about change. I asked myself a key question:

 "What can I do NOW as a gift to future 'Super Busy' me to allow ease, relaxation and even more integrally, spare time into my nine to five life?"

Yes, more of my style comes in here, I really wanted to find a BOOK that would link my 'Big Change Spell' and real life action. 
More specifically, I wanted a book that would help me address a 'hard to shift' life habit; otherwise known as 'the lies we tell ourselves'.

My 'hard to shift' life lie is a common one: 

'I am just not an organised person'

In fact, if you went back and read over previous blog posts I bet you would find me writing this exact line (unsurprisingly I even of alluded to it in paragraph four of this post!).

What book could put me in a position to challenge this many tentacled foe? 

As a believer in serendipity, I did not question when my mind latched onto a conversation with my (more organised) sister about Marie Kondo and her globally influential book about tidying.

This was my book then, 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing' by the aforementioned Marie Kondo.

Marie Kondo's love note to tidying
I did not doubt that a book about tidying could help destabilize my lifelong lie. I have long believed that our thoughts create our world; so it is not much of a stretch to imagine how a dramatic improvement in our environment could alter our thoughts.

The book itself is a whirlwind of dramatic tidying advice; some of which I found quite confronting.
I mean the logistics of 'take ALL your books out of your bookshelf and put them in piles on the floor' boggles my mind. Couple that with the direction to touch all of them before deciding if they 'sparked joy' had me wondering why I had not started this project a month before. I simply did not have enough time to handle each of my belongings in a search for those that inspired a spark of joy.

Kondo is clear on this subject though; to get the true life changing benefits of tidying, it has to been done all at once. In what she terms 'A Special Event' tidy (love it).

What to do? 

Being a business minded type, I thought back to my 'Bang for Buck' goal and picked three home categories to transform using Kondo's method that would deliver me the most 'Daily Life' changing impact. 

The 'Bang for Buck' list:

  • Clothes
  • Pantry
  • Linen Cupboard
These three would be the pioneer categories then, paving the way for the rest to come over a longer period of time.

The Book

Kondo's writing splits neatly between very specific 'how to' instructions and more whimsical passages detailing her origin story and thoughts on the impact of mindful tidying.
I found her brand of no nonsense advice and her uncompromising process, wildly motivating and completely 'doable'.
Who after all, is incapable  of moving smoothly through their home deciding what to discard and where to store what remains?
Add to this a constant and reassuring theme emphasizing the magical benefits that flow from serious decluttering and you have a book that gets you off the couch and striding purposefully towards your cupboards, garbage bags in hand.
Marie Kondo shines a light on 'letting go with grace'.

In the end though, it is the results that count. After much effort and many garbage bags, much letting go and some moments of rediscovery; was it worth it?

Do I feel lightened and open to new challenges? 

As I stare into my unbelievably organised and uncluttered linen press (which I have done at least eight times since finishing the process) I feel a tiny fluttering of a new idea as it enters my mind.

'My cupboard is organised.'
(Maybe then, so am I!)

While I don't think extreme 'letting go' is for everyone (at least at the outset) I can with all my heart recommend reading Kondo's book.
See the magic for yourself; and possibly (as in my case) some shelf space that is deliciously and wonderfully.... empty.

If you would like try the 'KonMari Method' her book is available from the following retailers:

Happy reading, and dare I say, may your surfaces appear as magically as mine did! LMK

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