on being messy

book by Marie Kondo ISBN 9781607747307

book by Marie Kondo ISBN 9781607747307

not quite a book review of the bestseller, the life-changing magic of tidying up. 

I have a confession. I am very messy and not at all organised, at least in any traditional sense.  In fact, it is probably more than just being disorganised.  It is not that I do not want to be more organised, but more that I just do not have an organising system.  In truth, I do not understand organised people and how they can be so certain that a particular item of clothing or piece of kitchenware belongs in one particular place.  To me there are limitless possibilities when it comes to where a shirt, book or plate belongs. Much of this confusion however evaporated when Marie Kondo entered my life.

Marie Kondo is a petite Japanese organising consultant who's waiting list is apparently over six months long.  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 – perhaps a purchase based on a voyeuristic interest, rather than any genuine plan to utilise any of the instructions.  Within the first chapter however, I was hooked and could understand why the book has sold over 2 million copies and been on the New York Times best sellers list.  There is something infectiously charming about Marie's passion for organisation and de-cluttering.  

The KonMari organising system, as she refers to it, involves an array of practical tips and tricks to get tidy, like her vertical folding system for clothes.   The main tenets of the KonMari method is that you should gather all your things and only keep those belongings that spark joy.  Once only your most joy-giving belongings remain, you should then put every item in a place where it’s visible, accessible, and easy to grab and then put back. Only then, Kondo says, will you have reached the nirvana of a tidy life.

I found this system a great way to declutter my clothes and books.  Although, I didn't find it that useful for my garage and for my work desk, the system was a disaster which took  a few weeks to undo.  Turns out that you should never throw out paper work that does not "spark joy" - especially bills.

Beyond the practical advice of de-cluttering 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.  If you need some practical help on how to get tidy or perhaps, like me, feel curious about how organised people think, then this book is definitely worth a read.

article by Dr Riccardo Caniato