It’s been a year since I first read The life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo. It had been rather hyped, just released in Swedish and I came across an article in The Financial Times (House&Home supplement; behind their paywall so I can’t link) about it and thus got a copy from the library.
- Why did I do it in the first place?
I’m not ignorant about how to tidy. I grew up in a house with every surface filled and cupboards ready to burst; linens enough for a hotel, china to supply several restaurants and assorted knick-knacks that took forever to dust. A lot of clever storage solutions were used.
And I do like stuff. Colors,art,books and fabrics inspire me to create. And I love to create. Sewing and crafting to her hearts content this one. I found out pretty quickly in life that I was not made to dress in all black chic clothing nor have a minimalist home.
But to much stuff can be a problem. There is that saying about “not seeing the forest because of all the trees”. Something I felt I needed then was to have space in my life to create more things, which meant going through materials and being realistic about what was usable and inspiring. That old “could be useful in the future”-mantra that I’ve heard my whole life has proven so rarely to be true; most things are never useful “someday” and when that day comes you’re gonna buy something new anyway.
2. How was it?
Books in this sort of lifestyle/selfhelp category are often written in a way that can get on your nerves in their self righteousness. This one did bother me a fair bit; I felt like she wrote for a naughty child. That said I did read the whole thing and because she recommended a few things that I was already doing I decided to give it a go.
I did like her approach to do it all at once and not do it room by room. So there was a weekend of chaos. I didn’t give away any clothes because they all “spark joy” ( and as pointed out before; my wardrobe will in periods self-destruct *). Had a proper sort of my materials and sewing tools. Gave away a lot of books to charity and recycling. I had saved books from Uni that I will never use again(they are probably outdated even) and books I didn’t like because they had nice covers. I will never make a book cover-outfit unless I like the book so there is no point in saving stuff like that. I would say that I sorted more then threw away and it was an improvement. I’m thinking now that I could have been more ruthless but I still have the opportunity.
3. Did it work?
Kondo claims that no one ever relapses. Maybe that is true. To be fair to her I didn’t really drink the Kool-aid; I basically skimmed her instructions. However; my goal was to make space for creativity and in that regard I have been very successful. I have made more things,clothes mostly, then I have ever before. I have also gone out of my comfort zone and learned new things,tried stuff and been generally more adventurous. With the kit all in one place it is easier to start a project, and to finish it. So I will declare success even if I did’t follow her word to the letter. And I do recommend it.
However I do wonder about recycling, and charity shops being filled up with clothes no one wants to buy and how we got into this mess to begin with. But that’s another book, and another blogpost.
4. Now what?
I will not stop buying or being given books. As much as I like the idea of immediately disposing of books I don’t like that hasn’t happened. A few have been re-gifted or given to free libraries pretty quickly but they also pile up. I let them. I’ve decided to go through my shelves at the beginning of fall every year.
Nor will I do as she recommends and not have seasonal wardrobes: the winters up here demand bulky clothing and I do like the outerwear to be cleaned and stored away during summer.
Did not fold my socks then and won’t start now. I do however keep my tights rolled up though(except the thinnest Wolfords; they stay in the packaging). Bags are not stored in bags despite her claim that it is easiest that way: so many of my bags are the same size so it doesn’t work. I have started folding a lot of things(sweaters,linen) and find that it is a good method.
I’m still looking for a good storage solution for my materials but I learned that lesson already: don’t buy something you don’t love just because. Not something that big at least. Holding out for the sideboard of my dreams.
As I see it,for me, it will probably be necessary to go through certain areas on a regular basis. My desk is still a mess;it’s where important things end up.As I am much more creative now I don’t think materials will linger very long in future but it’s worth going through now and again. If nothing else just looking through those bags and boxes can give me ideas.
I’m still glad that both that time, and for this post, I have gotten a copy of the book from the library.Despite it having helped I actually wouldn’t like have a copy of it on my shelves. I don’t know why.
Which brings me to the tear-sheets in the picture; when it comes to lifestyle advice choose your guru wisely. Rita Konig is bossy but it’s a bossiness I can handle. This is an article that I tore out of an old UK Vogue ages ago and where as some of the advice has become dated(and some wasn’t relevant to me living in Sweden to begin with) there is common sense there, and reasonable guidelines. This one is about “Spring cleaning” but a lot of it can be applied to “Autumn cleaning” such as”getting a new scent” and “take any books you don’t care about to a charity shop”. These tear-sheets will be kept, folded up in a book and brought out twice a year. That is a routine I can handle(in fact I have been doing it to some degree for years). I will never be perfect, or an adoring disciple of Marie Kondo. Will be creative and a bit messy which is good enough.
*Clothes that have had to be discarded during the last few days; another skirt(that had been made of a dress), a dress, a sequined clutch, a down jacket (it’s lost so much down that it doesn’t keep me warm anymore. I’ve had it for over 10 years) and a pair of leopard print trousers from Zara.