By T. Katz
Q: Spring means my spouse wants to Mari Kondo our home, which I think is just code for throw out everything we own! I’m not ready to say goodbye to my mementos and collections. Help me make my argument to keep my things?
A: Ah, yes! Marie Kondo and her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The whole KonMari movement has been pretty popular since it hit U.S. shores five years ago. People who follow her methods swear by the “joy sparking” that clean living spaces can bring. It’s such a hot topic that Marie has written FOUR books about that very subject (which are meant to be given away and shared, not gathering dust on your bookcase, BTW). While I respect the idea of it all, my heart and hearth are wired a bit more like yours, methinks. I have nooks and crannies all over my home filled with an awful lot of stuff. So much so, that I believe it was best described by my Great Aunt Annie (when she was 105) as a “Shooting Gallery.” Yup. Something to see, everywhere you look. It brings me joy and sparks conversation, so I’m good with that.
The Spring Cleaning bug bites many a household this time of year because it’s only natural to want to have some bright, shiny surfaces once nature sheds her winter wrappings. We want our bodies to trim down for sun and fun, so let’s loosen the lard from our domiciles, too! Studies have shown that order in our living spaces can help promote some healthy life choices. On the other hand, some studies have also shown that physical decluttering can lead to “lower levels of life satisfaction.” Imagine that, something that works for some isn’t something that works for all?! What this means, is that you and your partner need to sit down and discuss this. What’s driving the need for the complete cleaning (if you have 100 hats and 200 mugs from your favorite sports team, let’s be real … it might be justified). Psychologists tell us that there are people who gather loads of stuff because they associate that abundance with a full and satisfied life, which isn’t always what happens. It’s a fine line between collecting and hoarding, so be honest about what you’re holding onto. On the flip side, a crusade to not just clean, but purge – can be more about what’s happening between the ears, not fears of years of concert t-shirts in your shared closet. Your other half may need the reinforcement of having more order and organization at home, because we all know the digital world piled with growing emails, texts and voice messages leaves life feeling chaotic. Maybe once you establish the reason, whether simply the season of tidying or a deeper need for order, control and diminished chaos – then you can work together to find a creative compromise. Maybe think outside the box? (Because I’m all for turning that t-shirt collection into a quilt!)
xo – t.