Is your life cluttered? Does that get you down? Help may well be at hand and it’s less hoodoo than you think…IF you really need it.
My title of course refers of course to Marie Kondo’s book ‘The life-changing magic of tidying’ which is changing the world one convert at a time. For those who haven’t had the KonMari treatment, there is a (hate to use this word but…) craze sweeping the world at the moment which involves reading a book and then throwing out your old stuff like it’s going out of style (mainly because it went out of style 10 years ago). There’s a Netflix series and everything, it’s big news.
And I want to tell you that it’s all made up but actually I found the process extremely freeing. I felt liberated. I’ve been pretty good at letting things go for some years now but going through the KonMari process helped me clear out with a little more mindfulness and a little less guilt.
BUT I have come to a realisation: although the process of ‘minimalising’ was extremely healthy, I am not a minimalist. And probably never will be.
I the last few years has taken me through some pretty serious life-size, soul-searching thought processes not limited to how I spend my money and the things I surround myself with. The default - the way we’re meant to feel - is “I have too many things, I don’t need material possessions, I should spend less money on things I don’t need”. Well, regular visitors to my blog will know I’m not entirely at ease with this and while I try to give to charity, live ethically & healthily I also believe in celebrating my earning and I think we shouldn’t be afraid to do so. To add to this, we recently took a trip to Scotland for 4 nights and I was reminded of a few things about myself. Keeping luggage to a minimum (we stayed in a tiny wooden cabin on the side of Loch Tay, it was an unquestionably beautiful experience), I allowed myself only one outfit per day, one pair of jeans, one jumper, one jacket and one watch. (Some of you are reading this saying “and the problem is…?” and I know others are wincing, you know where this is going). The trip was sensational - rugged mountains, frozen lochs, aged whiskey, fresh oysters and time alone with the girl of my dreams - but I did miss something: options. We weren’t seeing many people so it wasn’t about looking good in front of anyone but my wife (KLF) and myself, but that was enough to make me wish I had options to change it up a bit. I like being able to put a different shirt on to go together and I like having to make the choice between blue jumper or yellow jumper and I love changing watches 2 or 3 times a day!
I will admit - particularly where my watch was concerned - that the experience did make me more mindful of the things I had with me, I had time to notice the detail in the weave of my Selected Homme yellow sweater and that a white tshirt does work in pretty much every situation but I also was able to notice that when the zip breaks on your only jacket at 2 degrees centigrade you need OPTIONS!! I applaud those who can live minimally - KLF has fully embraced it and it just works for her, which is wonderful - but it’s just not me. Give me cupboards in which to hang my many coats and give me choices.
A Quick paragraph for the watch geeks: I was determined to wear only one watch for 4 days so I picked out one of my newest builds; a brushed stainless steel diver which I have yet to name. I build my divers to have a pretty clean, smart aesthetic (more Tudor than Doxa) so I’m pleased to say that I was as happy wearing it out to the original Loch Fyne restaurant for a posh lunch as I was trekking over precarious rocks around Falloch Falls. Brushed steel is always a winner because it’s timeless and classless; if looked after, it’s a super smart accessory and needn’t be swapped out for another strap just to go out to dinner. I’m also pleased to say the watch kept perfect time from the minute we left to the moment we arrived home (to those less familiar, automatic watches can have a tendency to run slightly fast or slow if worn continually. But not mine :) ). I did however miss the option to put something else on - not because I didn’t love it but because - why fight it - I’m a ‘watch guy’ and I like variety, which is very much my point here.
So what am I saying? Well, first of all, don’t knock KonMari until you’ve tried it, I genuinely think you’ll find the process edifying and you’ll gain a new understanding of yourself. But I’m also saying that part of that understanding might be that you actually don’t mind a few non-essential things around you and that it’s ok if you’re someone who would rather have more choices in life than not.
Have fun tidying up.