In every job that must be done there is an element of fun…
Maybe some of you have heard of Marie Kondo and her method of cleaning? If not, it’s a good thing you’re here! This life-changing festival will make you feel more free, less-stressed and overall happier.
I heard from two friends who used to live in Japan about Marie Kondo and her KonMari method of extreme tidying. I really don’t like tiding up. I come home, chuck the things I am wearing on the floor (our washing basket is just too small and full of stuff that needs to be on the delicate wash and I’m just too lazy). So instead of winging it and just clearing up, I went the full hog, I read her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and made notes.
The book was a bit hippy-ra-ra with some ridiculous stories of the people she meets during her full-time cleaning job and it annoyed me that the book was aimed at women and not just people, but in Japan it’s still normal for the woman to be the homekeeper. The book is okay if you skim-read and then follow the rules of tidying completely. She says: You will never get your house in order if you only clean up half-heartedly […] I recommend aiming for perfection just once.
I decided to trust her and so we started our ‘cleaning festival’, so-called because of the fun we would have and the joy it would bring. After three days of it, I was hoping for some Japanese festival snacks and big Japanese drums to bring me joy, but if I’m totally honest, cleaning doesn’t bring me joy. On the other hand, our apartment looks amazing and it makes me happy to wake up in our lovely room.
Here’s what we did:
First we thanked our house – for keeping us safe and looking after all our many many things. Then we put every single item of clothing we own onto our bed. We’ve been here for less than two years and I have a whole attic of stuff still in London, as well as a house full of furniture etc, so I was a bit surprised at just how much stuff we have accumulated over the months we’ve lived in Germany. I’m going to have to do the whole thing again in London soon – ugh! As I looked around the mess, I had to admit, for someone who doesn’t enjoy shopping, I’ve done pretty well… ahem…
Then we picked up every single item of clothing one after the other and if it sparked joy we folded it beautifully and put it in the drawer. If no joy was sparked, we thanked the item for all it had done for us and it went carefully into a bag and onto the way to the recycling bin. This took HOURS. Literally, HOURS. However, I’m amazed. We had planned to buy more cupboards for our clothing, but it’s no longer necessary. My dresses can breathe in the cupboard, there are no piles of clothing stacked on top of each other in every nook and cranny and the washing basket is completely empty. I keep opening the cupboard to re-check how beautiful it is!!
Next on the list was books, electrical items (I don’t know how I could never find a converter plug, as we found over ten hiding away in drawers), fabrics for sewing, paperwork, photos and all those little bits hanging around. It took three days. Instead of using and having things that are okay, we can only buy things that we LOVE and that spark joy in our lives – so although it’s expensive buying new things, apparently if you follow all her rules then you will never revert back to your old habits. In fact, we already found a new set of drawers for beside the bed, a coat hanger and a lush plate set in IKEA. Every item we own has its own place to shelter and rest and because of this our items will be cherished and looked after better, which in turn means they will last longer. I cannot recommend this more – you won’t buy rubbish – you will buy things that last and make you happy.
As a result of all this cleaning, we are surrounded by things we love. I’m wearing clothes that were hiding at the bottom of the pile behind the front pile of stuff in the cupboard. Our place has no clutter. Pictures have finally been put into frames and onto the wall. I’ve discovered how much fabric I actually own and know now that I have no excuse not to be sewing all day long!
Because we don’t know how long we will stay in Berlin, it always feels like a waste to make a beautiful home, when we are renting and it’s not our own place for the long-term future. However, we have been here nearly two years and even if we decide to leave tomorrow, it’s made me realise how important it is to make your house a home and really love the place you come home to.
I can only recommend the KonMari method. Have I persuaded you to give it a try?