I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up recently, and it changed my life.
I have been on a hardcore decluttering rampage ever since. I started with our clothes (9 garbage bags went to vinnies), then I hit the pantry, and now I am working my way through the entire house. I actually read the book a few months ago and, because nothing happens quickly around here, I have been on a mission to get this place organised ever since.
For those of you who have achieved a more advanced level of #lifeskills than I, you have probably been putting your sh*t back where it came from for years. But somehow I missed this lesson when they were teaching how-to-adult sometime back in my introduction to living out of home. Tidying up has never come naturally to me. My mum will be the first to confirm.
However, in my quest to take pride in my space and be a good role model for the kids I have been making a real effort these last few years. And in all my soul searching and laundry folding I realised I have ZERO innate
life tidying skills. I’m terrible at putting things away and Jai is not great at throwing things out, so the odds have pretty much been stacked against us from the get-go. But knowledge is power, so I feel like change may be upon us!
From what I can observe, those who can have unexpected friends call in without having to panic about the Weetbix cement drops on the kitchen floor, seem to have a pretty foolproof system of cleaning up as they go. So I figure there must be something seriously wrong with my system if it feels like I spend EVERY-DAMN-MINUTE cleaning up, yet still have to navigate mountains of un-homed items (or bundles-of-doom as we refer to them around here).
Thank heavens I discovered the Marie Kondo method. I think I have finally got my head around the moral of this tidying up story. Every damn household item needs a place. Only took me 31 years. Now let me be clear in stating that it is not for lack of trying, that I have never achieved the zen like state that I imagine comes with total household organisation. I have had two pregnancies after all, and both included some pretty hefty nesting periods. This is not the first time I have come across the idea of giving everything a place, but in the same way that it took me a while to get behind eating peanut butter out of the jar, it just took a while for the penny to drop, or really, for me to actually look around and realise we have no official designated spot to home the sticky tape/paper towels/nail clipper. I realise this is most likely a no brainer for most of you because – lifeskills. But I have a kondo inspired plan and (perhaps naively) I am banking on it, to lead me down the path of organisational enlightenment.
Step 1: Sort by category
Choose a category eg. books/clothes/papers/toys (lets use books for this example) collect every book in the entire house and dump it on the lounge room floor. Decide which ones we need in our life and which ones we don’t. Kondo suggest holding the item and asking yourself if it sparks joy. Seeing as I am throwing myself into this wholeheartedly, I feel it necessary to perform this slightly kooky ritual. I’m committed.
Step 2: Throw things out
Take the throw out pile of books (or whatever else you’re sorting) and donate, hand me down, return, whatever, just make them disappear.
Step 3: Find a home
Find a home for books. Ideally all in the one spot. The aim is to keep it as simple as possible.
Step 4: Spread the word
Make sure everyone in this household is familiar with the spot for the books.
Step 5: Repeat
Now go back through steps 1-4 with every single other category of ‘thing’ in our life. By the time you are done with that, you might find your books could use another pass.
Sounds kind of simplistic (and maybe a wee bit unrealistic), but as I mentioned, the old system is not working and this book wasn’t a bestseller for nothing right?
In pretty much all other aspects of life I have a personal policy against perfection. But in this case, I feel like aiming to have every single item in place at the same time for just ONE WHOLE MINUTE will lead me to some kind of organisational enlightenment. I am also hoping for some kind of eternally tidy snowball effect… A girl’s gotta dream.
It is early days but I will keep you posted. If you understood how much joy I get from my recently organised pantry (sometimes when no one is watching, I trot off into the kitchen and sit crosslegged on the pantry floor in the dark eating granola from the jar), you would understand my enthusiasm.
This could very well be the end to me standing in the kitchen yelling, “Why is there a sock in the cutlery draw?”