This year, I’m trying to read at least a book a month which is despicable compared to what my fellow teacher friends are doing (they look like they’re reading a book every few days/every week *cries in envy*). And another post will be dedicated to books I’ve read so far this year. One book in particular has turned my life around. Seriously. It did.
Marie Kondo wrote that by tidying up your environment, your house, your bag, your work space, it will lead you on to tidying up your life. This year, I didn’t set out any resolutions. I wanted to improve myself and knew that I need a focused resolution but didn’t know where to start.
Tidying up, it seems, was a good way to start off.
Now my ex housemates, uni friends and friends who go way back will know that I’m not a tidy person by nature. Let’s just say I was happy with having an organised mess, ie I know where things are in the different piles around my room. I was happy living this life until I got married and discovered I married a man who is the polar opposite of me in terms of tidiness and concepts of cleaning (if you cant see any dirt, its clean and why the need to vacuum if it looks clean?).
His ex housemate said to me recently (who I havent seen for years) “How are the boys doing with his OCD-ness?”
Let me tell you now though that for all my gripe on tidying up, he has made me a tidier person. Our room is 95% tidy most times – 5% untidy because of my clothes pile and random kids stuff.
In fact I think I’ve improved so much since I married him. (He thinks I have miles to go though still… what high standards!!). I used to be like ‘Tidy level = 3’ and now have gone to 6, I reckon. Let me ask what he thinks. Wow, he actually agrees!
The only thing was that my key to ‘tidiness’ was that if you cant see it, it’s tidy. So imagine my drawers and closet to look like it has been by a hurricane inside. Things will be thrown in and may or may not be folded properly. I mean as long as M doesnt know, its ok right? (He does know… I’m sure he peeks into my drawers every once in awhile like a warden and is hurting inside whenever he looks at it).
So comes this Marie Kondo book!! Her motto is essentially this: Hold on to the things that brings you joy and therefore, get rid of those that does not bring you joy.
That itself was a revelation to me. I usually base my throwing out rituals to these questions: Do I need it? What if I need it for the future? Do I hate it? I realise now that those questions hinders me from getting rid of things. I am an absolute hoarder. I keep (or used to keep) boxes, plastic bags, fancy plastic/paper bags, any cards that were given to me, photos, countless stationery that may or may not work. When I asked myself ‘does this bring me joy?’, I found it easier to get rid of things. I guess this has also been gradual inclination of wanting to get rid of things that I do not need and so, it hasn’t been as hard or arduous job than it seems.
Here are things that I have taken away from the book:
- Follow Marie Kondo’s system
Marie Kondo have a system. Start with clothes, then books, then kitchen, etc etc. When you are sorting your clothes, take out all your clothes and wade through the things you want to keep (that brings you joy). I kind of followed the system to a degree. After awhile, I thought it was easier to do things ‘room by room’ and have things ‘contained’. After all, whilst spring cleaning, there will be mess and lots of items out of the shelves/drawers.
Pictured: left side – Not bring joy. Right side – Joy. Middle – Couldnt decide at the time.
I soon realise that this system is less efficient and I couldn’t compare and look at ALL the items that are similar. For example, I had finished sorting through the kids clothes and then realise I have clothes in the storage area or in one of the room downstairs. I couldn’t then keep track of all the clothes that I have kept/chucked. It is far easier to see, for example, all coats/outerwear together and decide which one to keep.
2. You will have to keep things that do not bring you joy
Bills. Bank statements. Tools. These things do not bring me joy but is necessary to keep. But it’s ok… as wacky as it sounds, once I go ‘Thank you for your worth’, it’s ok. I learnt (or am learning) to keep the things I really do need, even if it does not sparks joy. And by keeping those that is essential (ie chucking all the paperwork that is not really needed or well past its worth), that load of items needed but not loved is much smaller.
3. Everything has a place
I know this is logical to many of you.
But yes… that.
4. Folding things and keeping it upright.
Pictured: I can see everything! I think I have abot 30 scarves and technically should be able to wear a different one each day per month!
Folding and keeping it upright saves so much space and lets me see what I have. This also means that as I’m able to clearly see what I have, I tend to use items more often than before. You know how you always tend to grab the nearest item or items that you’re comfortable with…. now that there’s full visibility and I have far less items (hrhr), I use up things more!
It’s been almost two months now and this still looks like how it is. So I hope this stays on as it is!