Almost at the end of last year, when I thought I had finished my holiday shopping (who really finishes, right?), I realized that being in Shanghai could be very dangerous for accumulating clutter. Okay, it wasn’t really me that realized this, but my husband, Mr. One-Pen-On-The-Desk Guy that observed this as I joyfully elucidated on my daily discoveries of Shanghai’s fake markets, flower markets, fabric markets, antique markets and you-name-it-markets. When his eyes widened in fear as I described all the interesting but useless gifts I had procured for guests overseas, I decided I’d better take stock. Literally. This is especially after I spent far too much time wondering to whom I should give the fluorescent red wind chime in the shape of a Chinese theater mask that may or may not chime depending on the direction of the wind. You see, I am the kind of person whose mind space is directly related to the amount of clutter in my life. If my house is not in order (or in my kind of order), I cannot work, or function at a level of efficiency I prefer. I also go a little berserk.
Now before you go thinking I’m some sort of malfunctioning C-3PO, I’m not. With two kids, I realize that having a spotless house is not only a challenge, it is a pipedream, but you obviously have to make do. I wanted tips on how to ‘make do’ even better though, so I began researching a book by decluttering queen Marie Kondo. She wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2014 and her strategically timed sequel released for this new year is called Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organising and Tidying Up.
Spark Joy, seriously? Go on—admit that’s what you were thinking as that’s definitely what I thought! This, according to her, is a literal physical sensation – something to do with “cells rising in your body.” (I must lack serious body awareness, as I have never felt any of my cells.) Also, tidying up is now an “art”? I immediately began brainstorming ideas for my series on how to vacuum until someone told me Kondo’s second book has illustrations on how to fold things like underwear and socks to maximize space. And joy. Wow. I don’t even know how to draw a vacuum.
That’s when I decided I couldn’t join the cult of Kondo. Whilst I’m all for ‘putting something away where it belongs,’ imbuing objects with feelings, saying ‘sayonara’ to them as they hit the dumpster and thanking them for their service to you in their short/long lifespan (something she advocates) is a little too Shinto-istic for me. (I also have an old childhood fear that the teddy bear might actually start talking back to me if I so much as acknowledge it might be alive.) Like most non C-3PO-type personalities, my joy is also sparked in other more random ways and tidying up is definitely not one of them. This is not to undermine the life-changing effects felt by some after employing her methods though—two of her clients apparently decluttered themselves of their husbands. True story.
So that got me thinking. Not that I want to declutter myself of anyone specific (for now anyway), it did make me wonder about my social media feeds. Did I really want to hear about whose baby farted how many times and where they had lunch? These things most certainly do not lift my cells! Hence I hit on how I could ‘Kondo’ my life – I would declutter information. And voila! I’m happy to report that it is most certainly life changing in terms of time saved, a clearer mind and my cells being lifted. So please excuse me if you find you are no longer friend on Facebook –it is not personal and I’m sure we will still have ‘kon-tact.’
[Image Via World Arts]