The number of times I hear stories where people are upset with how they’ve been…
Have You Been Marie Kondoed Yet?
Over the school holidays this year I happened to stumble across the Netflix phenomenon Tidying up with Marie Kondo.
I switched on the first episode and watching till the end became beguiled by her sweetness and smallness and just downright passion for tidying up. To be fair, I lived for a year in Japan, so the elements of the show that evidenced this cultural heritage and aesthetic were lovely reminders of my time there.
From Ms Kondos’ polite but gentle iron will and reverent process of ‘greeting of the home’ (which reminded me of all of the tea ceremonies I attended and the serenity at the Shinto shrine I lived in for three months), to being inside other peoples’ homes and observing the transformation to calmness and order. It was a voyeuristic pleasure and a sentimental reflection.
It’s funny how sometimes simple things can spur us into incredible action.
I think I was simply ready for Marie’s message. Over the next few weeks that single episode (watched with my teenagers) spurred a whirlwind of enthusiastic, exhausting and liberating momentum that indeed ‘sparked joy’.
A good spring clean has always been something I avoid like crazy.
Until I don’t, but the results are always pleasing. This was different. Literally moving from room to room and isolating each and every article to see whether it was loved enough to keep, respected enough to send to charity or simply acknowledged for service and permanently retired indeed enabled an inner emotional clean out as well.
To know with certainty what I have now in my home is actually intentionally chosen is hard to describe. Perhaps simply … A relief. Our home is no longer bloated with the past. That includes emotions, memories and stuff. I feel lighter, my kids feel lighter, the house feels lighter, and the whole experience whilst hard work was incredibly rewarding.
Here are some quotes from my (now addicted to folding their clothing into regimentally lined up and organised items) teenagers after the process:
“It’s so nice to see all of my things and know where they go.”
“I find it relaxing to put my things away now.”
“I feel good that I am so organised, I can relax.”
These are teenagers!
I love feeling so organised and so do they.
It got me to thinking about the energy of space, places, organisation, and ourselves as we inhabit spaces. After my home ‘cleansing’ experience, the deep satisfaction, sense of achievement and calm it gave me I started to question what heavy or non-productive ‘energy’ my practice might be carrying.
As a wellness practice, the aesthetic of our clinic has always been a priority. Our goal is to ensure a calming escape from everyday busyness for our clients.
However, it wasn’t the waiting area I was worried about. It was the ‘hidden’ and ‘unseen’ spaces inside cupboards, shelving, storage and laundry areas. The clutter that builds up with use that becomes invisible due to it’s ‘ever-presence’.
What were my staff and practitioners ignoring, avoiding and accumulating that might not allow a ‘spark of joy’? The weight and stress of disorganised stationary cupboards, an oversupply of stock, messy linen, etcetera, was exerting a subtle but insistent negative pressure.
So began the ‘business’ stage of this frankly addictive process of clearing, cleaning and saying goodbye to stuff, with gratitude.
The staff became engaged, and it had a lovely connecting effect on all my people as they saw their working and shared spaces transformed. Cleaning up literally removed the physical and emotional weight. With properly folded towels, cleaned out draws, reorganised, categorised and boxed up items in order, I saw my people relax.
Again the feedback came in:
“Oh wow it feels so fresh and organised now.”
“It is so easy to find things.”
“It is a pleasure to open the cupboards.”
Only good news. For me, the process was a revelation. I discovered a great deal about the ways I viewed ‘stuff’ and the resultant energy it can create.
I also realised there were real gaps for myself and others in knowing how to manage slow and incremental accumulation, specifically:
- Our emotional attachment to things; which manifests as clutter (and dare I say it, an addiction to ‘having’) is something to explore in our homes and in our workplaces.
- Our ‘memories through things’ is great but it can become a weighty problem.
- Our caution around always having replacements and ‘just in case’ items challenges the actual energy of the spaces in which we spend the majority of our time.
The positive elevation in mood and enthusiasm with the shifting, gifting and removal of stuff has made me a diehard fan, and guess what? There are Kondo Method Specialists right here in Australia.
Go forth and tidy my friends, spark joy.
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