Our home is changing. In small ways, but still. The sock drawers look different on the inside. The kitchen towels are stacked differently. Those drawers full of bits ‘n bobs now have little boxes and inlays. Old and broken things are going out. And all because I just had to watch Marie Kondo on Netflix.
You are probably familiar with emo-tv, where people radically change their lives and start a bed and breakfast on the other side of the world / choose a life in the country / go from pack rat to minimalist. One of those shows. I guess consumerism is worse in the States, and so there are a lot of people with so much stuff it almost does not fit into their home anymore. Stacks of books on the living room floor, board games, blankets and pillows in the garage, a dining table full of spare car parts, a bedroom with piles of clothing stacked on every possible surface.
I get itchy when I see it. How can someone live like that? Clutter in your home means clutter in your head… you can’t find anything and so you waste a lot of time searching for whatever it is you need, there is no space to really do something and tidying up becomes a monumental task.
The noble art of tidying up
Enter Marie Kondo. Marie is a Japanese lady who transformed tidying up into an art form. Because that is what Japanese people do – elevating everyday things to art! Messes make her happy and excited and she helps people with that typical Japanese friendliness and enormous amounts of patience to sort out their mess. Her tidying method revolves around a few simple principles: tidying per category (not per room), be grateful for everything and with each thing, ask yourself if it makes you happy.
Those tidying categories are also important. Every episode starts with clothing. Marie asks people to put all of their clothing on a pile. And she means ALL. The bedroom wardrobe, any spare drawers or racks, coats racks, shoes, shawls – everything. The second category is books. I guess, if you are a collector, you could also do this with cd’s or dvd’s. After that comes paper, and then all other stuff. The last category is things with emotional value.
The Marie Kondo method
The method is actually simple: take each piece into your hands. Look at it, feel it and decide whether or not it still makes you happy to have this. Does it? Great, you can give it a place in your home. If it does not, it’s time to say goodbye. And to be grateful. Because this thing meant something to you at some point, and you can thank it for being there for you. I really like that thought, and it does right by all the time you have happily (and maybe thoughtlessly) used that thing. It makes it easier to let go. Thank you sweater, for all the times you kept me warm, thank you cd for the lovely music, thank you poster for making my days a little brighter and happier. It is time to go now. Thank you, and farewell.
Everything that stays, gets its own little ‘home’ where it lives. Clothing is carefully folded (in very small packages!) en put away so that you can see exactly what you have and you don’t have to dig through piles to get that one shirt you wanted to wear. Drawers are organised and cupboards redesigned. And so, slowly you get an organised home with things that really matter to you and are all in their proper place. So no making even more mess while you are looking for something.
…and now it’s my turn
After seeing all those beautifully organized cupboards, closets and drawers I decided to try this at home – starting with my own clothes. Now I’ve been getting rid of a lot of old clothes while we moved here last year, so there was not much left to thank and say goodbye to. But still I found a few pieces I haven’t been able to part with last time, but had to thank and let go now. And my wardrobe looks all the better for it: all my clothes (for all seasons!) fit in it, and it is not stuffed to the brim. And I still have plenty to wear.
So, I can conclude that this method works! I cannot get started with the books yet: we are still painting in the room where the books should go. But since we both love books (preferably the paper kind) and we have a LOT of them, this is going to be interesting.
How do you guys keep your home (and work) organized?