Some of you may have seen my personal and Grimstone posts on Facebook recently. Who wants Mortimer Grimstone’s Epithium? Anyone fancy a box of gothic miniatures? Or perhaps some candle-making equipment? Some tricks to use in a professional magic show? In case you haven’t guessed, I’m doing a clean out.
When my mum told me about Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she explained that the idea is that rather than choosing stuff to throw away, you remove everything from your cupboard and then decide what to keep. And the only criteria for your decision is this: when you hold it, does it spark joy? Forget practicality, forget all those things you should have or might need one day. If it doesn’t spark joy, you toss it.
It sounds rather far-fetched. But my mum, who has a house full of clutter, has been sufficiently inspired to deal with it all this year. There’s got to be SOMETHING in it if it’s got my mum inspired. Once I read the book, I was skeptical.
Marie says that if you tidy up by doing your entire house, for once and for all, the proper way, clutter will never rebound. Wow. That’s seductive. But it has to be done the proper way, in the proper order. You have to do your clothes first, then your books, then your papers.. and on it goes. By the time you get to the hardest stuff, memorabilia, you are well trained.
I decided, on a whim one evening, to try step one. What have I got if I toss out far too much stuff from my wardrobe? It wouldn’t kill me to get more clothes if I make bad decisions. I got started, and sure enough, very little of what I own truly brings me joy. By the time I’d carted many huge bags to the op shop, there was very little left. Once I’d stored it as instructed, the ‘proper way’, with everything standing up vertically, I had a little thrill of excitement. Actually, I felt euphoric. There was my wardrobe filled only with clothes I love. When I get up in the morning, I give myself permission to wear the clothes I want to wear, instead of the clothes I think I SHOULD wear. Ok, we’re touching on the life-changing bit now.
As I’ve worked through my house, filling car load after car load, bag after bag of actual rubbish, and overflowing my recycling bin, I’ve come to understand the life-changing magic bit. As I’ve given away every show I am equipped to perform, except for The Grimstones Hatched, I feel myself growing lighter. I’m letting go of the past and opening myself up to the future. But I think the real crux is this: the point of tidying up this way is not to Be Tidy.
It’s to learn what brings you joy, and to learn how to cast aside that which does not. The tidying is merely practise for that, a way of simplifying and uncluttering your life so you can see and feel clearly.
I already see it filtering into every aspect of my life and my relationships, as I start to make more choices that bring me joy and become better at turning down the options that don’t. I tell you, this is big and radical stuff. I think reading about it can’t do it justice. DOING it, on the other hand, is very transformative.
I highly recommend this book, and her companion book, Spark Joy. Happy reading! (Or should I say, Joyful Reading…)