Liz Kearney: 'Oh Marie Kondo, how I love you... but not even you can help me now'
Oh Marie Kondo, how I love you, with your tiny white cardigans, your charmingly broken English, and your lovely, calm, graceful manner as you incite near nervous breakdowns in the homes of those you visit.
I've been glued all week to Marie's addictive new Netflix show, 'Tidying Up With Marie Kondo', where the pint-sized Japanese author, famous for the KonMari decluttering method, works her magic on families who are drowning in stuff.
It's impossible to switch off as one by one, the participants on the show become overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the clear-up job they need to finish before Marie returns to check on them.
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I can empathise. I'm watching from the sofa, where the tail of a large dinosaur discarded by the four-year-old is wedged into my thigh. There's Play Doh ground into the kitchen table, porridge all over the chairs, and the pine needles from the Christmas tree have yet to be hoovered up.
I keep imagining what it would be like if lovely polite Marie descended on our home. First, she'd probably sprain her tiny ankle by tripping over the toy bin truck at the front door.
Then she'd proceed down the hall, gracefully ignoring the crayon marks on the wall before quietly contemplating the warzone that is the living room.
But could her implacable good nature survive opening the drawer of doom, where my husband keeps his three million stray electric cables?
It's at this point that I imagine her fainting in horror, overwhelmed by the task ahead.
I am OK with that. I might love the show, but I am 40 years old, and not even Marie Kondo can help me now. I don't mind a bit of mess, and I have no intention of enlisting my children in marathon clothes-folding sessions, as she suggests to one frazzled family.
Anyway, if I threw out everything in the house that didn't 'spark joy', as the KonMarie method dictates, there'd only be chocolate, cheese and a bottle of chardonnay left.
Fashion editor Bairbre Power, of this parish, interviewed Marie a few years ago and arrived back in the office having perfected the KonMarie fold. Bairbre swore her drawers - and ergo her life - would be transformed.
'Still folding?' I asked her as she walked past my desk this week. She gave a wry laugh.
That's the thing about tidying. It's a way of life and, for those of us who are naturally slightly chaotic, it's impossible to keep it up long-term. So instead of doing the hoovering this evening, I plan on chilling out with the last episode of 'Tidying Up'. I'm sure Marie would approve.
You don't need sticker to let you feed baby
We have pretty low breastfeeding rates here in Ireland so any attempt to improve them is welcome.
But the Government-backed 'We're breastfeeding-friendly' initiative, pioneered in Limerick and about to be rolled out nationwide, is a bad idea.
Having fed my own kids everywhere from the playground to the pub, the idea clubs, cafés or recreational facilities proudly display stickers proclaiming themselves 'breastfeeding-friendly' drives me crackers.
It means that new mums who are already struggling with the overwhelming demands that breastfeeding brings might find themselves scouring the main street for a sticker, without fully grasping that actually you are entitled to breastfeed anywhere you like: at Mass, in a nightclub, in a beer garden, on the footpath, in a park, in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
You are protected by law, and if anyone asks you to stop, they are committing an offence. So forget the stickers, and feed your baby.