CLUTTER- It’s modern day challenge. I can’t imagine too many cave people stressing about the state of the cave. If you had too much wildebeest in storage and Santa had brought everybody, including nana, a new club or axe, it was probably a welcome problem and time to move caves.
In fact, in the form of Feng Shui, I was trained in decluttering is a fairly recent addition as a first step in the process of renewing a home’s energy. Again the ancient Chinese were probably not wall to wall with drawers of Ikea Allen keys, manuals for toasters you no longer own and photos of their cats (or maybe they had their equivalent).
So Marie Kondo’s new series on Netflix is timely (and no doubt deliberately timed). It’s New year- we all want our caves to feel organised, peaceful and supportive of our goals for 2019.
I have watched quite a few episodes (running time around 40+ mins each) and what I like is that if you are not familiar with her work, you still get the basics of her method which is all about tidying in categories through a staged process. Once complete you feel liberated and are more likely to be able to maintain the home in its super organised state. Or at least find a pair of socks in under a minute. And with fewer belongings in your road. Of course, you need to commit to bringing less in again. So you still need to make that fundamental mind shift in how you view your home and possessions and this is where I think this series shines.
I’m sure it feels a bit strange to some to hear Marie talking about the importance of the energy in belongings and the home itself. Although I have read she doesn’t attribute it as a direct influence she was an attendant maiden in a Shinto Shrine for 5 years. Shinto credits everything with a life force – animals, rocks, people, places and objects. This is the crux of her method and why I have a bit of a crush on this organisational Guru.
Marie’s focus is much gentler and kinder than the other recent Netflix decluttering offering, “Consumed” where you feel people are being forced into realisations about themselves. Although both shows end up with piles of belongings on the floor to emphasise the amount of crap the participants have, Marie takes her people through a process of finding those objects they want to KEEP and CHERISH because well, they SPARK JOY. Unlike “Consumed” where people feel embarrassed, full of self-loathing and are asked to get rid of stuff they may find hard to part with. Even when the tower of Tupperware threatens to topple and kill them, this is still too big an ask for some. In that particular episode of Consumed, the woman actually ended up storing it in her in-law’s garage at the end of the process!
“Tidying Up” gives credence to the idea our house is our sanctuary and a place to be creative. We want to be surrounded by things that give us great pleasure. And for those who find it difficult to figure that out there is usually some light bulb moment, like the episode with Frank and Matt where eventually one of them (sorry can’t remember which one! – it’s Marie Kondo blur in my mind), recognised he had moved from being emotionally closed and completely in the dark about which items of clothing gave him any joy, to be able to share more with his partner. Sorting your crap out individually and together definitely can move relationships.
One of the most moving bits of seeing her in action is her ritual of introducing herself to the house, where she kneels in a spot and takes a moment to connect, gently patting the floor. She asks the homeowners to sit quietly and envision what they want from their house-what their intention is for their home. People are so surprised and moved by their own response to this moment. It is a moment that connects everyone to the energy present in people, places and belongings. I LOVE that she is
Setting an intention is so important as a first step. If you are not clear on what you want to achieve – whether it’s feeling peace, joy, inspired or just plain mentally healthier in your home, you run the risk of just stopping midstream and losing focus – potentially with a pile of kitchen utensils in the middle of the floor. Yeah, so from my experience don’t skip that bit!
So, if you are a Netflix subscriber and want a bit of New year motivation to get into the junk room, (I will be doing a whole blog post on this soon), I recommend it as 40 mins well spent. You can even peruse the episode descriptions and find the one that seems most relevant to you such as empty nesters, the family with young children, etc.
Until next time – Happy New year and Happy Tidying!