I have a confession to make. I am messy, very messy and not at all organised, at least in any traditional sense. In-fact it is probably more than just being disorganized. In my fourth year of medicine I was called to see the dean because the cleaners of the nursing quarters were refusing to clean my dormitory room. They were citing health and safety concerns and because my room was truly disgusting. With the benefit of hindsight I can empathize with their concerns.
It is not that I do not want to be more organised or clean, but more that I just don’t get how to do it. I do not understand how some people can be so certain about where a particular item of clothing, or piece of cutlery belongs. To me there are limitless possibilities when it comes to placing a shirt, book, pen or pair of shorts. Clarity however entered my life when I read Marie Kondo.
Marie Kondo is a petite Japanese organizing consultant who’s waiting list is apparently over six months. I find this amazing, not only that she is in such demand, but that such a profession even exists.
I can’t recall exactly why I bought her book in. Within the first chapter of the book however I was hooked. There is something infectiously charming about Marie’s passion for organisation and decluterring.
The KonMari organising system as she refers to it involves an array or handy and very practical tips and tricks. For me her vertical folding system for clothes was a complete revelation. Words can’t do it justice, but since that day my under wear draw has never been the same
The main tenet of the KonMari method is that you should gather all your things and only keep those belongings that spark joy. I found this system a great way to declutter my clothes and books. I didn’t find it that useful for my garage, and for my work desk the system was a disaster which to a few weeks to undo. Turns out that you should not throw out paper work, bills and subpoenas, even if they does not “spark joy” when you hold them close to your chest.
Beyond the practical advice of decluttering and re-organising there is an underlying if unstated message of material minimalism . Hoarding or collecting possessions does not create joy or happiness. In our modern world of rampant consumerism there is something both innocent and refreshing about Marie Kondo’s message of tidiness and anti-materialism.