Let me say right off the bat that I’m about to trash Marie Kondo’s methods of “tidying up.’ If you don’t know who she is, she’s got a new TV show on Netflix that is based on her run-away best-selling books and just about every talk show has either been talking about or interviewing her. As a blogger friend said, “You either love her or hate her.” For me, ‘hate’ is a strong word that I reserve for presidents who commit High Crimes and Misdemeanors but a guest on The View was quick to label Marie “his mortal enemy.” If you’re one of her fans stop reading if you can’t be open-minded about my reasons for not buying into her philosophy starting right out with her calling what she does “tidying up.” In one of her videos she said she’s had clients who filled up over a 100 trash bags. That’s not “tidying up” that’s deep cleaning or decluttering. Tidying up is putting the potholders in the drawer and making your bed because company is coming. Language matters. You wouldn’t call a leg amputation a pedicure and you’re not “tidying up” when you can put a 100 trash bags out to the curb on trash pickup day. Also, Marie never addresses the psychological reasons why possessions are security to people who ‘hoard’ to that extent.
To be fair to the girl, I decided to do some research to figure out why she evokes such a negative reaction in me. In addition to watching some of her YouTube videos I bought the Summary: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It’s a 75 pages, $3.99 Kindle download and I read every page but it didn’t change my attitude nor make me want to click to buy the full book. I do like her method of folding socks and I’m am now using the official KonMari method of doing that task. I own a lot of socks. I have knee highs and no-show socks and everything in between---all black or gray. I even have old socks in my cleaning closet that are used to clean up dog vomit, after which I finally throw them out. I’ve tried to research how many socks are too many according to the Tidy Up Girl but I couldn’t find a number. She a minimalism so I’m guessing two pair in each style. I visualize her doing laundry nightly like someone living out of a suitcase.
One of the things that I bad-mouth about the KonMari method is Marie’s attitude towards books. She believes you should throw out books you haven’t read and books you’ve already read. Yup, if you’re reading a book that’s the only one in the house that’s safe from being labeled, “garbage” which is her favorite word to use for our stuff. She also says if you have a book you just can’t part with, tear out the pages you like and throw out the rest of the book. And if you can’t do the tear-out thing then, she says, put the books in a box and store them in your closet. Thirty should be enough to keep. I have an entire library room in the house with twenty-feet of floor-to-ceiling shelves full of books. I value books. I wouldn’t destroy a book but I might start calling my library a book closet. All I’d have to do is cover the glass-paneled door over so you can’t see into the room from the living room. I do plan to purge and donate enough books so I can move six running feet of books from my bedroom to my new ‘book closet.’
Which brings me to another, exciting project. It started with an exhaust pipe in the roof that was leaking and caused a stain on the master bath ceiling. I had the pipe cap replaced, then I marked the edges of the stain so I could be sure it didn’t grow. Enough time has passed that I decided I could repaint the ceiling but guess what. A few years ago when I thought I was going to buy a condo I threw out the paint I’d saved for touch ups. Now I have to paint the whole bathroom so I’m taking the opportunity to change color schemes in the master bath and connecting bedroom and to get a smaller bed. So off I went to shop quilts as my color palette starting point. Hours and hours of online shopping later I bought a quilt and shower curtain. I’m going from a grey, black and red palette to a girlie beachy/cottage theme.
My closet purging project, by the way, got done. Like Frank Sinatra, ‘I did it my way’ in five sessions---not the KonMari one giant session way. Her method of piling all the clothing from all over the house into the center of a room, then picking up each piece and asking yourself it if sparks joy might work for some people but if I did that I’d end up with three things to hang back up: two iconic outfits from the ‘70s and a 1950s Scandinavian sweater that my mom made that earned me a quarter page photo in the newspaper with the headline: Baby, It's Cold Outside! I get joy from many things, but clothing is not in the mix. I get joy from my metal Cracker Jack toys, from my handmade scenic and portrait buttons from the 1800s, from books, stones and seashells. I get joy from my whale oil lamps, woman's suffrage postcards and art prints. The list goes on and much of it serves no useful purpose in this century.
I do respect the idea of creating a smaller footprint---the minimalist mindset. I’ve read a lot about other minimalists in recent years because they do fascinate me but none of them make me feel like a lion who'd like to stalk them for dinner like Ms Kondo does and I figured out why. By her soft-spoken, simplistic labeling of everything that you don’t use daily or doesn’t spark joy as “garbage that you can get rid of” she’s insulting my entire, life-long collector’s life style. Other minimalists use words like ‘recycle’ and ‘donate’ for things you may have tired of owning which I don’t believe appeared even once in Marie's summary book while the word ‘garbage’ appeared so often that I wanted to bounce my Kindle up against the wall. ©
|Photos: My new quilt at the top and this is my new shower curtain.|