The life changing magic of tidying up
It all started with Marie Kondo’s book, 'the life-changing magic of tidying up', in January 2015. I am not even sure any more how i came across the book. Probably searching for ideas on Pinterest, or maybe it was a recommendation by Amazon - recommendation algorithms these days are sometimes so good that it’s freaky.
What I remember however is, that I was facing a difficult career decision at the time. I was about to turn 34, working for a multinational company as a application manager. I quite liked my job but we were told that our department will be eventually moved to a different city. This meant I would either need to relocate - to which I couldn’t get my partner’s agreement - or I would need to switch roles within the company - which option proved to be a dead end after all. So there was no future for me the company but my team was facing difficult times with the change and my manager really wanted me to stay and help him through the transition.
To make my dilemma even more difficult, I was very hesitant to switch jobs as I was hoping we would start a family with my boyfriend soon and switching jobs (again - I’m notorious job hopper) would have meant I need to wait at least another year.
I felt confused and I didn’t really know what I wanted, so I decided that cleaning up my apartment would help me to clear my thoughts and understand better where my priorities lie.
The reviews of the book were amazing. Marie Kondo herself sets the bar very high already in the foreword. "From the exploration of the art of organizing and my vast experience of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in your lifestyle and perspective. It’s life transforming."
I can’t say I believed the method would change my life, but I felt lost, I so wanted clarity! I didn’t really feel I needed a new perspective, I knew where I was going. At least that’s what I thought at the time. I felt cleaning up my apartment will provide me with some much needed sense of direction and help me regain my balance.
The KonMari method on it’s own is quite simple. There are six rules:RULE 1 - Commit yourself to tidying up
RULE 2 - Imagine your ideal lifestyle
RULE 3 - Finish discarding first
RULE 4 - Tidy by category; not by location
RULE 5 - Follow the right order
RULE 6 - Ask yourself if it sparks joy
Funnily enough the part that was most difficult for me was rule 2. This meant imagining ideal lifestyle to the detail. Just to give an idea how clear this image should be, let me give the example from the book.
"One client in her twenties defined her dream as a ‘more feminine lifestyle' ...
What do you mean by feminine lifestyle I [Marie Kondo] asked. She thought for a long moment before finally responding.
‘Well, when I come home from work, the floor would be clear of clutter.... and my room as tidy as hotel suite with nothing obstructing the line of sight. I’d have a pink bedspread and a white antique-style lamp. Before going to bed, I would have a bath, burn aromatic oils and listen to classical piano or violin while doing yoga and drinking herbal tea. I would fall asleep with a feeling of unhurried spaciousness’"
Quite detailed, right. I was so stuck with this part of the book! Nevertheless I got myself some sort of vague vision and decided to start the work anyway, as I was not able to get anywhere with imagining how my life is going to be, with so many things in motion. Looking back now, three years later, I have a different view on this, but let’s get back to that later.
The book recommends doing the clean up as quickly as possible. Since I myself was also in a bit of hurry for answers I started the method nearly immediately. I do not consider myself a hoarder - moving countries two times made sure I didn’t hang on to sentimental stuff too long, but I still got rid of 27 bin bags of stuff - which I have donated to charity, for those of you who wonder. Stuff. No idea, what was in those bags. Mostly clothes, I guess. The fact that I don’t remember the content also means that since the clean up (3 years ago) not once did I think: 'I wish I hadn’t thrown that away'.
The cleanup indeed helped me to declutter my mind, and made me decide to follow my own interest - something I struggle with until today -, and explore the options outside the company I was working for. Magically, I ended up with three excellent job offers, two of them being for consulting roles. Consultant! A role I dreamed to have for the last 9 years. True magic. I thought.
Little did I know that this was only the the beginning and the changes to come will turn my life upside down. To be continued...
Blue, Like the Ocean