Friday, February 5, 2016

Tidying According to Marie


Seeing that it's become such a phenomenon, I bought Marie Kondo's book on "tidying" (a word I hate) for the school library. The kids won't be interested, but the parents, teachers and staff might.

It arrived a few days ago and I've been reading it -- not out of necessity, because I'm habitually pretty neat. I'm just curious about her approach and her success. So far I'm about a third of the way through and my initial take, as I told another blogger pal, is that she's a little bit crazy. Apparently, as a young girl, she was sneaking into her relatives' rooms and closets to throw things away. Throwing out other peoples' possessions crosses a line for me (though I've certainly been tempted).

I think some of her tips are good. The key to her success, it seems to me, is the very Japanese notion of thanking each object for its service before discarding it. This simple tip helps relieve the owner's guilt about throwing the item away. It's an emotional salve that enables the discarding.

We do need a bit of tidying here. Our bookshelf is getting a little out of hand, as is our garden shed, and God knows I'll be glad when the weather warms up enough to put some of these plants back outside. This morning I cleaned off the hall table, where Dave's mail has been accumulating -- he tends to ignore paper mail, so I have to go through it every now and then, and it really is mostly trash. (I guess that counts as discarding another person's stuff but it's not like I'm digging into his wardrobe!)

I have trouble figuring out what to do with my RPS magazine. It's a really nice publication, on nice heavy paper. But I can't save them all -- it would be ridiculous to try. Into the recycling they will go, like all my other magazines, I suppose. Marie would agree!

(Photo: Sprucing up a pub in West Hampstead.)

12 comments:

37paddington said...

the mail. I can't figure out why I can't get on top of it permanently. We have mail in bags that we will never go through. But we cant throw it out till we do. I'm curious about Marie's tidying book. I wonder how her principles overlap with fung shui, if at all.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

The psychology of tidiness/untidiness is interesting. I am of the opinion that great obsession with tidiness is as weird as being a hoarder living in a virtual rubbish tip. An ultra-tidy office space is not a sign of efficiency but of someone who doesn't have enough to do. Besides, human beings have always been quite messy. We are not robots.
P.S. I hope that man does not fall from his ladder. It looks rather precarious. There should be somebody at the bottom stabilising it.

herding tapeworms said...

i agree she has an extreme obsession with stuff, but i tried her clothes folding method (or a less involved approximation of it) and it made my clothes SO much easier to find. not that i have a thousand things crammed into my drawers, but being able to see the items vertically is more useful than i expected. at any rate, it's an amusing read

Ms. Moon said...

Control. It passes over and crosses the line, I think, this obsession with tidiness. We are seeking control in this world in which we have no control and some of us do it by never leaving the house and some of us do it by exercising excessively and/or counting every calorie of every bite that crosses our lips and some of us do it by color coding our socks. And some of these things can be helpful if not taken too far.
God knows I could use some help in that area.

ellen abbott said...

I am neither neat nor tidy. but I know where everything is. though I do go through spells when I get everything cleaned up. My husband will not get rid of anything. when we lived in the city on trash day I would throw one piece of trash away that he was saving/hoarding. he has never, to this day, missed any of it.

Linda Sue said...

With Ms. Moon on this one. People who "ART" are rarely tidy, creative space can not be controlled but I do understand the need for "everything in it's place" functionality , especially after having lived in a boat and in a small cabin. I compromised standards when the kids lived here, had no choice. Even with them gone, I am forever compromised...tidiness is just not a priority. I have forgotten how! I am sure that Dave appreciates you sorting his junk mail!

jenny_o said...

Marie Kondo must be rich from book sales by now. Every decluttering blog and every thrift blog I've read has done a review. Very popular to read, not necessarily so popular in the reviews!

As for your magazines - if they have nice photographs in them (which I suspect they do), is there an elementary school near you where the teachers might like them for the children for arts and crafts or for illustrating concepts? (if you can bear the thought of having them cut up)

Sharon Anck said...

I loved reading everyone's comments. I can keep every room in my apartment neat and tidy except my office which is a jumble of piles of books and papers and framed photos that aren't hung yet and so on. I guess that jives with what Linda Sue said about the ART space. It's where I upload photos and edit them as well as paint when the urge strikes me.

e said...

Why can't you donate your magazines to a library or another organization? I donate mine and people enjoy them.

Red said...

I'm always suspicious of those wonderful people who have a sure fire way to clean things up. It works for them but it'll never work for slobs like me!

The Bug said...

Oh ugh - we are SO untidy here - piles of paper & socks, and YARN everywhere. Last week the Sheldon comic strip talked about this very book - hilarious :)

http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/160127.html

http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/160128.html

alphabet soup said...

I want to know why you hate the word tidying? Especially as you are a self-proclaimed neat person. Oh, that word self-proclaimed just ran out, unbidden, through my fingers to the keyboard! Don't be offended....

The closest I've come to reading Marie Kondo's advice is to save an article about her in my email box - I haven't yet opened it, to read any of her advice.

Ms Soup