Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Re-Starting My KonMari Quest

I've decided to renew my commitment to KonMari'ing my house -- all of it. I wouldn't say I gave up, just that it was on "accidental hold" for a while. I got a job, then I had an exhibition, then I got another job, then winter hit, then ... well, life just gets in the way sometimes. I'd always meant to get back to it. For some reason, now feels like a good time. I'd been undecided on whether to get Marie Kondo's second book, Spark Joy, but I ordered it a few weeks ago and am about halfway through it. The follow-up book can be described as an expansion of the first, with illustrations of the folding techniques, common questions answered and re-inforcement of the most important points. There are a few stories of clients peppered throughout, which I enjoy reading about. As embarrassing as my underwear drawer is, there's always worse out there!

To mark this commitment to re-start my quest, I'm writing this post with some of the points I feel are most important to remember. Perhaps someone else will find them useful, too.

I am so glad that I made up a spreadsheet of all the categories of items in my house before I started. I started with a basic list that I found online and customised it to fit my belongings. If I thought any categories were too large, I broke them down into smaller ones. I went round my whole house with a clipboard, looking into every nook and cranny to make sure I didn't miss out on any. (Don't forget the garage, shed and garden!) The list is like a master plan. If I start to feel overwhelmed, I refer to it to see what to do next. And of course, after a break, it's invaluable to know where to pick up from again.

I can't tell you the number of times I look at an item that I know I've already KonMaried and think, "Why did I decide to keep that?!" These are usually things that I dealt with early on, before my sense for what sparks joy was well-developed. As Marie Kondo explains, the more you practice the process, the faster and more decisively you will be able to determine what items spark joy. This makes me think that I'll probably change my mind about many items in my home sooner or later. In fact, I don't just KonMari twice -- I'm always KonMariing. Every time I use an item, my brain almost unconsiously goes through a process of re-deciding whether I still want to keep it, whether it still sparks joy. And there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone changes -- I've changed a lot in the last year. It makes sense that the things that once brought you joy might no longer. That's when it's time to say goodbye.

Often, when I stand in a room and look around, I feel overwhelmed. There are still boxes full of things stacked up in corners. (The amount of stuff has increased since my first KonMari effort, I have to admit!) When I open up cupboards, they still look full. My coffee table is still littered with stuff. I can't picture how it will all be in the end, how it could possibly ever be neat and tidy. I feel overwhelmed and I just want to give up. I have a feeling I'm not alone in this, though. At the start of Spark Joy, Marie Kondo re-iterates her instruction to find an inspirational photo. Look through magazines or the internet, and find one photo of an interior that encapsulates what you want your home (and let's face it, your life!) to look like at the end of the process. It seems like a small and trivial thing, but I'm starting to see how it's very important. I haven't yet retrieved that one photo which represents my ideal, but I can imagine how I would feel when I look at it -- my spirits will revive and my heart will lift. I'll again be able to imagine my house being a place where everything will have a home.

Much of the KonMari process has been quite hard for me, emotionally as well as physically. Not only that, but starting something again that you didn't finish the first time always comes with extra baggage attached. The very first section in Spark Joy is entitled "tidying is the act of confronting yourself." It's no wonder that people find the KonMari process and tidying in general to be filled with difficult emotions. It's essential to acknowledge the feelings and blocks that come up during the process. As Marie Kondo reminds us, it's a natural part of the process -- it shows us how attached to our belongings we are, and how important it is to have a home that sparks joy. So, take a break, take a bath, have a cup tea, celebrate every milestone, no matter how small it is. You will get there.

Check back for more posts on KonMari, clothes and crafts.
(Not necessarily all three, I just like alliteration!)

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