Sunday 23 October 2016

The tidiness guru snaps under pressure

John Masterson

Published 08/02/2016 | 02:30

Organisation guru Marie Kondo.
Organisation guru Marie Kondo.

If you are looking for a career that will bring you loads of money, a constant supply of adoring clients, and possibly even job satisfaction then may I respectfully suggest that you model yourself on the Japanese organising consultant Marie Kondo. You may not have realised that there is much call for 'organising consultant' but let me tell you that you are in grave error.

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I like stuff. I am surrounded in my house by stuff despite regular bags going to the charity shops. I show no signs of catching up. Ever. Then a friend directed me to Ms Kondo. She teaches the Kon Mari method, which advises you to gather together everything you own and keep only the things that bring you joy. Then find a place for those things.

She suggests that you go through your possessions one category at a time. Begin with your clothes, which are the least emotionally loaded. Then move on to books, and when you have mastered that level of emotional laden-ness you can then move on to photographs.

Ms Kondo's advice is to consider your clothes' feelings. Are they happy being squashed in the wardrobe? Would they feel better if they had a little more room? I briefly wondered if my clothes could do with a little more TLC and, fearing for my sanity, moved on to the books. Incidentally, if you are keener on the feelings of your T-shirts than I am you can get folding lessons from Ms Kondo on YouTube.

I started into the books. The problem was not as bad as I thought as I do a cull every now and again and have gotten better at giving books away and saying I don't want them back as I know I will never read them again. And there in among the shelves was a series of photograph albums from before the world went digital and an old address book from the days before contacts on your phone.

I settled into the address book and remembered people that had not entered my head in years. I particularly liked the entries written in the person's own handwriting. I did think about googling a few to see what they are up to now, but that felt like stalking. I have no interest in hearing from people from a few decades back and I assume they feel the same.

And then, ignoring every bit of good advice from Ms Kondo, I settled into the very emotionally-charged photographs. One of her maxims is that nostalgia is not your friend. Well, for the next few hours nostalgia and I became very close companions. One happy memory after another flooded back as I saw fresh happy faces that time had not yet creased. My life has been happy, busy and varied and I am not going to throw the memories out. Yet.

Ms Kondo will be glad to know that I am not the proud possessor of any old love letters. Thankfully, I had the common sense to cremate all of those once the relationship had crashed and burned. There is some hope for me.

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