Fine Art of Tidying Up for the Disorganized Brain

cluttered officePropensity for organization is an inherited gene, which I lack. Tidying up will never come naturally, but I thought reading Marie Kondo’sThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing would spur me into action.

That clever little Japanese lady created a brand name consultancy agency and reality TV show based on her KonMari Method to eliminate clutter. Combining philosophical wisdom, Japanese cultural traditions, and practical advice, she makes staying organized sound easy.

“The act of tidying is a series of simple actions in which objects are moved from one place to another that involves putting things away where they belong.”

Therein lies my problem. I truly believe books belong under my bed, words belong on paper everywhere and clothes belong on chairs (to eliminate folding.)

Ah, clothes tossing, a big no, no. Marie elevated folding clothes to an art form claiming, “Every piece of clothes has its own sweet spot.”

“By folding clothes,” she explained, “we transmit energy to the fabric and show appreciation for the way clothes support our lifestyle.”

Sun set on yet another day before I finished blessing all my favorite basketball T-shirts.T-Shirts party

It took an additional week to “energize” my closets by hanging items from heavy to light.

Following her crucial adage “sort by category not location” can be exceptionally challenging in compact Swiss homes where little rooms are stacked atop one another like Jenga blocks.

As a writer, you never know when the muse will strike, so we have a desk in our bedroom, the guestroom, the loft and the living area. Pencils, pens and papers litter every room except the bathroom. Little notebooks fill every coat pocket and drawer.

Worse yet, bookshelves abound in every available space including hallways. When Marie Kendo insisted books should be sorted by dumping them out on the floor, I wanted to cry. Laid out, my book collection could loop around the block twice. How can I limit my love of literature to a mere dozen Hall of Fame books?

To further add my dismay, she insisted that you keep your papers in one spot.

“Put your house in order and your life will change dramatically,” Marie Kondo claimed. “Effective tidying requires only 2 parts – discarding and deciding where to store things. Visualize your destination.”

I breathed deeply and meditated as instructed. But when I opened my eyes, I was still surrounded by the same damn mess.

I wanted to give up. Then a miracle occurred. After searching on 2 continents to no avail, I was convinced my prize boots had been confiscated by border control during one of those random luggage searches on a trans-Atlantic flight.

“No one would steal a pair of boots!” my husband exclaimed.

lost & found boots“It wasn’t any old footwear,” I whined. “They were new Vasque ultra dry, winter- proof boots guaranteed to keep toes warm up to 40° below and I only wore them twice!”

Miraculously, during my Japanese inspired cleaning frenzy, I found my “stolen boots” sitting on a shoe rack in our entryway where they had been hiding in plain sight for 2 years.

Bless you Mari Kondo.

Still I wonder if putting things where they belong only befuddles more so my chaotic brain.


Comments

  1. Peggy Ellis

    Lovely! I think I’d be more at home in your house than in hers. (And I’m glad you found your boots!)

    1. Pat McKinzie

      Thanks Peggy. And I hope you know you are always welcome in my home if you are ever in the neighborhood.

  2. Debbie

    Thanks for my morning chuckle, Pat! I, too, am a HUGE believer in organization. If I haven’t worn or used something in five years, out it goes, whether to trash or charity. Of course, you make a good point about writing notebooks and pens, which no writer wants to be without, Ha! But gee, finding your long-lost boots is a plus, right?!

    1. Pat McKinzie

      I always thought the creative brain lacked the gene for organisation, but you and others prove that wrong for you are very creative and also incredibly organised. I guess I will have to come up with another excuse. The thing is that I really like my belongings to have a sense of order, but they just never stay that way.

  3. Sheila Thompson

    Laughing loud and hearty at this one! I am a borderline hoarder. It’s the sentimental attachment, or “I know I can use that again!”, or I’m saving it for Torianna, or I will organize that later, or it was such a bargain, or I will give that as a gift to ___ (IF I can find it when it is time to GIVE the gift!), and the excuses go on. Lot’s of folks have offered lots of ideas on how I can declutter. I smile and nod and buy another book! 😉 Maybe someday! We can’t all be as efficient and organized as our dear Suzie! <3

    1. Pat McKinzie

      Love it Sheila. So nice to hear from you. You sound so much like me when you smile and nod in agreement about needing to organise, but then go out and buy another book. I complain that our dear Suzie hogged all the genes for organisation in our family. But boy can she whip us into shape whenever she comes for a visit. She is also the first person anybody calls when it is time to pack boxes to move.

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