A co-worker recommended I check out the show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It’s on Netflix, so I have access to it, and it’s something the kids can watch even if they don’t want to.
So, I popped it on one Friday night when I was feeling stressed and not really up to anything too gripping, but I also wanted a bit of something on while I went about the evening.
It was an interesting take on tidying.
This isn’t the kind of show you watch for hugely dramatic results. But it does have some interesting lessons.
If you aren’t already familiar, the concept starts with piling like things together then deciding what to keep based on what “sparks joy”.
This is supposed to be done mostly alone so family biases don’t sway your perception of joy. Also, you are supposed to touch things, to let yourself feel the joy.
This forces people to often confront mountains of possessions, particularly clothes, as you round up all like things in the entire house and pile them together. Makes me cringe a little as I know I also own too many clothes.
It also addresses the concept of sunk cost and helps people get past it.
I deal with this from time to time in my day job. For example, a machine we bought is operating sub optimally. When we evaluate replacing it, we do not look at the purchase price of that machine. We look at the cost of the new alternatives before us and what each of those alternatives will give us for the cost of the alternative.
If we put this into practice in our personal life, we should ignore the $500 price tag on the pair of shoes that hurt our feet and we never wear. Instead, we should be asking ourselves if those shoes “spark joy”. If they don’t (and it’s highly doubtful they do), out they go!
Perhaps more interesting is how the tidying process deals with the way we value our possessions as part of ourselves. This manifests in a difficult to get rid of things because they mean more to us simply because they are our things. For example, there have been studies done showing that if there are two identical mugs, and one mug is ours, we put more value on that mug.
This method deals with overcoming that value so we can part with things in a beautiful and graceful way.
Rather than simply tossing the things out, you tell them goodbye and thank them for their service. You then wish them well on their journey.
Maybe it sounds a little hokey written down here, but I watched her tell people to be gentle with things that were meaningful. To say their goodbyes. It felt kind and accepting of the emotion attached.
Overall, the show is interesting, but I don’t have the six months recommended to tidy my home, not with everything else going on. Still, the show did inspire me to tackle a small corner of my closet. I have a feeling if you are good at thrifting, now would be a spectacular time to be shopping!
I never thought of myself as much of a saver, but I will say that thanking something and saying goodbye, then carefully folding it up to send it on its journey made it easier to say goodbye to the next item and the next item after that.
I didn’t need the emotional fortitude to part part with half my dress pants after the dress code change at work six months ago, but I still had the bathrobes I’d worn when I had infants to nurse. I haven’t worn them in over five years, but for some reason, it was still hard to say goodbye.
But I thanked them and wished them well on their way.
And I feel better for it.