Last night, I watched “The Joy of Tidying Up” on Netflix.
Oh. My. Goodness. What an inspiration! I couldn’t sleep as the lessons from the show bounced around in my head. It wasn’t until this morning that my understanding of what I had learned fell into place.
The show sees Marie Kondo working with a different family in each episode to help them declutter and tidy their homes. She advises them to work through their possessions in categories – clothing, books etc. – holding each item and deciding whether or not it “brings joy”. If it neither brings joy nor serves a purpose, it goes. What is left gets organised and stored. It sounds very practical but Kondo is all about the joy – and it is evident in everything she does. She shows the family how to handle and store items in such a way that each object is cherished and respected for the joy or value it brings.
This morning, I had 3 loads of laundry to fold and pack away – normally a task I do without devoting any attention to it. I usually listen to podcasts or audiobooks because otherwise, the task is a ‘waste of time’. This morning, I folded in silence. I took the time to touch our clothes, look at them, think about the memories they represent, and consider which items bring me joy and why. As I stood folding, I got a bit tearful as a pattern I hadn’t considered became apparent to me.
Although I enjoy having lovely things, once I have them, I treat them as though they are an inconvenience. That jumper is ‘hand wash only’? Meh. Stick it in the wash. I’m sure it’ll be fine. The kids’ toys are on the floor? Meh. Throw them in a box somewhere, as long as they’re out of sight. Our kitchen cupboards, my desk and filing cabinet, the bedroom closets, the bathroom cabinets, all hold things that have been shoved, dumped and pushed out of the way without any regard for the pleasure or value they represent.
My tears this morning came when I realised that my attitude to these things is not dissimilar to my attitude towards my health and wellbeing – as long as I looked ok, it didn’t matter what I was shoving out of sight, treating disrespectfully or ignoring – and for anything I couldn’t ignore, there was always wine and food to cover up the mess.
Although I have already done a lot of work to declutter my mind, organise my thoughts and find my joy, Marie Kondo has shown me how to broaden and deepen the experience – and also how use my environment to refresh, renew and invigorate my energy when I feel low. The energy flows both ways.