What relevance does self-compassion have to organising and decluttering our homes? The more I do this work, the more I want to give the self-compassion gift to my clients, my friends – and me.
It’s some time since I, together with a number of APDO buddies, had the privilege of being members of an audience hosted by a women’s magazine I’d never buy. This was an audience with the world-renowned Japanese declutterer, Marie Kondo. I still talk about that evening. It makes me smile, so I thought I’d share…
I’m not sure the magazine hosting us really understood decluttering & organising. We were welcomed to our seats by a goody bag. Naturally, I harrumphed in a sanctimonious, judgemental manner. Goody bags are the product of the devil, containing a whole load of useless crap to blight our lives. I put mine on the floor. Ironically, two minutes later, several seats down from me, my accountability partner, Sarah, applied some hand cream. It smelt lovely.
Yup. It came from the goody bag. Up to that day I have never worn make-up. Since then, I’ve been applying (goody bag) mascara several times a week. The hand cream is now finished. Nice to have ones values challenged.
Marie has done masses to raise the profile of Professional Organising. I’m grateful for that. I read her first book in one sitting. Her folding advice is brilliant and her notion of whether or not an item sparks joy is, in my option, powerful. I also thank Marie for guiding me to think twice before passing on clothing to my daughter; am I giving her something she actually wants or presenting her with something to feel guilty about not wearing herself? A number of useful discussions have arisen from that one.
Marie spoke to us with conviction. She explained her systematic methodology as described in her books. She is tidy, smiley and welcoming. She’s also firm. Question time revealed that anyone struggling with the method isn’t following it precisely enough or doing it in the wrong order. I was captivated – and slightly alarmed.
That was the night I (shamelessly) realised I’d folded my socks ‘wrong’. Marie’s folding demonstrations dictated up-ending. I like mine on their sides – that works for me.
It’s not that I rule out a bit of up-ending as an option, it’s more that I reject one-method-fits-all. I’ll always go for collaborative over prescriptive and flexible over rigid. In my book, there’s no right or wrong way to go about organising someone’s belongings and surroundings. My role is to help a client find the right way for them.
I’m lending my copy of Marie’s book to a dear friend. I put a little note in it. It says ‘reminder – it’s a menu, not a recipe’.
– j, london