How learning to be tidy is making me happier.
If there was one thing I could change about myself it would be that I was tidier. That I excelled at housework. That somehow, despite the child, the job and the dog, my house looked pristine when anyone turned up.
Unfortunately that isn’t the case. I am a little bit lazy which unfortunately means I’m a little bit untidy. Ok, it depends when you catch me. I can be a lot untidy and I’m not proud of that. I didn’t get that gene and they definitely don’t teach it at school. And, to be honest, there are other things I would prefer to be doing! However, I have found something that is helping to change my habits and although it sometimes feels like two steps forward, one back, it is making a difference.
I’ve found Marie Kondo. I have found my bible that is called ‘The life-changing magic of tidying up’ and I’m suggesting that if you struggle with keeping things tidy, you find her too.
At first glance it’s yet another self help book full of slightly off the wall anecdotes about her slightly strange childhood and what she learnt from those days. But it is also packed with some of the most helpful advice I am yet to find on this subject, and believe me I’ve done my research.
Other books are the ‘cabbage soup’ or ‘cayenne pepper and maple syrup’ diets. Quick fixes that never last, or are so arduous you never actually get further than reading the book.
Marie Kondo, or KonMari as her avid fans like to call her (yes that’s me), is the healthy lifestyle. The gentle exercise, the good fats and the balanced meals type of diet. It takes a little effort for a while but it becomes a habit and so you no longer need to think about the fact your eating more healthier or in this case, keeping on top of the tidying up. And it doesn’t matter if you fall off the wagon because your previous work has made it so easy to hop back on again.
So what’s different about her? Well the question she asks of all items in her house is:
“Does it spark joy?”
As bizarre as it sounds, just stop and think. How many items in your wardrobe spark joy for you? Then think about the items that don’t. The items where the shape doesn’t quite suit you. The items that have a small hole that you notice every time you wear it. The items that have served their purpose and now just make you a little sad about the fact you will never get to wear them again.
Yes, we all need clothes for different reasons, so throwing away your pretty dull, but pretty useful black work trousers may not be immediately possible, but wouldn’t it be more inspiring to open your wardrobe to a sea of tops that spark joy and go with those trousers than not?
Well I can tell you it is. Getting dressed is 10x more easy because you don’t have to wade through all the clothes that you don’t like for a multitude of reasons.
This principle works through out the house. Sorting and discarding in categories and not by rooms. Putting all your Tupperware in one place is an eye opener and it’s surprising that you probably do have a few favourite boxes that get used way more than the others. Go on, you can admit it!
The process is not a quick one, KonMari gives an average of 6 months to do your house. But at the end it is done and you and your house click. This is not about minimalism either. It’s about developing a house and, more importantly, a home, that sparks joy for you and who doesn’t want that.
How do you keep your house tidy? Let me know in the comments.