When I was packing up all my things in readiness for the great move from London to Norwich, I did masses of clearing out, as you can imagine, and the local charity shops did very well out of me! I thought that was all the clearing I’d need to do for a while, but now, four months after the move and well settled in, I’m discovering that there are yet more things which need to go!
I’m conscious of a great need to not feel weighed down with any unnecessary stuff lurking behind drawers and cupboard doors as I’m getting focussed on clearing the way forward for this new phase in my life. No doubt the signs of approaching autumn are nudging me in this direction as the coming season is as much of an important time for clearing out and letting go as is spring.
This feeling has been creeping up on me for a few weeks now and at the same time, I’ve found myself wondering why, after every clearing and de-junking session I’ve ever done in my life, I always find that I have to do it yet again! How does all this stuff accumulate again so quickly? Maybe I never really cleared out properly? Was there, perhaps, a better way of doing it?
A friend of mine came to stay recently, and quite unexpectedly, apropos of nothing we were talking about, she suddenly told me about a book she’d been reading recently about tidying up and clearing stuff, and how it had made a huge difference to the way she dealt with this problem. Talk about synchronicity!! The book my friend told me about couldn’t have been revealed at a more perfect time. The more she told me about it, the more excited I became for it was all about a different approach to tidying and I was curious to find out more.
It took another two weeks before I made my way to a bookstore and finally bought myself a copy of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying – A Simple Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever” by Marie Kondo. And I’ve used part of this recent Bank Holiday weekend to try out some of her techniques.
She has come up with some radically different ways of tackling over-filled storage areas and clutter and mixes it, much to my approval, with some energy work. First of all, unlike all previous methods I’ve adhered to, she doesn’t advocate doing one room at a time, or one cupboard or drawer or one wardrobe at a time, or even doing it little by little. She rightly points out that we often keep the same category of stuff in more than one place or more than one room – clothes being a perfect example of this. She therefore suggests breaking your stuff down into categories ie. Clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, sentimental items and keepsakes, then sorting out and discarding in one fell swoop a group at a time! She recommends that you start with sorting clothes and that you break this category down into further categories : i.e. tops (shirts, sweaters, etc.), bottoms (trousers, skirts, etc.), clothes that should be hung (jackets, coats, suits etc.), socks/tights, underwear, handbags, accessories (scarves, belts, hats, etc.), clothes for specific events (swimwear, uniforms, etc.) and finally, shoes.
When you begin whatever you’re tackling, she then advocates that you go through your drawers, cupboards and wardrobes and then, for example, pull out every single top you have and either put it on the floor or on a large bed in one room. That way you get to see everything you have in that category and OMG! Is that an eye-opener!! Then comes the energy work: You pick each item up one by one and ask yourself if it gives you joy. And if it doesn’t – it goes! So, no hanging onto stuff because “it’s useful”, you’ve got to feel joyful about the idea of wearing it for whatever reason. This is great, because it means that you’re only keeping stuff that makes you feel happy, and that’s good for the flow of your endorphins (those feel good hormones), and ultimately, very good for your energy and well-being overall.
So far I have only tackled the first category of clothes with the sub-heading of “tops”. I can tell you that a) I was horrified at how many I had (!!!!), and b) there were many I could instantly see were not giving me any joy at all (and in some cases, had never done so!!). Deciding what to keep and what to lose on this basis was therefore really quite easy, and in no time, I had a pile of things on the floor which were all destined for the charity shop! The result is that I now have two empty drawers and some extra space in the wardrobe and I have only just begun!!
She also advises on special ways of folding garments to save space in drawers which is miraculous in its efficacy, and dishes out any number of other useful suggestions and anecdotes.
Her second book: “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying” is out now in hardback and gives diagrams of how to fold clothes etc.
So folks, my August newsletter has ended up being a big commercial for this Japanese lady, but I really want to spread the word about her, because I think her methods are very sound and incredibly helpful. Many of us will admit to having too much stuff and long to get rid of it, but find that every attempt either fails, or you make a clearance and then everything starts piling up again. This method offers a drastic clearance in the amount of unnecessary clothes, paperwork and possessions you have around you and promises that you have a better chance of keeping everything clearer and tidier in the future.
I can tell you that despite only having just begun on the categories and having discarded an amazing amount more stuff than I would ever have imagined possible, has made me feel incredibly energised. I’m now envisaging how my new home will be when I’ve been through everything, and how, by changing the energy of my possessions and the clothes I wear, it’ll enhance my health and general wellbeing for the better and therefore everything around me will change more positively as a result. How good is that? It’s a very nice feeling when you can feel that you’re clearing the way forward for yourself.
If you feel this information has been relevant, why not buy the book and give it a go?
Wishing you all much joy over these last days of summer.