Neale Whi­taker:

WHEN IT COMES TO THE ART OF TIDY­ING, LESS IS DEF­I­NITELY MORE

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

On how good it feels to de-clut­ter.

Life can be cruel. Just when I thought I had an un­der­wear drawer that de­clut­ter­ing guru Marie Kondo would be proud of, I dis­cover I’m com­mit­ting a car­di­nal sin. I ball my socks in­stead of rolling them. So even though my drawer has the or­derly pre­ci­sion of a Bento box, my socks are not so much sushi as gy­oza.

Quite why sock-balling is such a dis­grace is un­clear, but who am I to ar­gue with Kondo, a woman whose sur­name is al­ready a verb? A rare ac­co­lade usu­ally re­served for an ap­pli­ance, like a Hoover. While the ex­tremes of her pe­cu­liar zeal (talk­ing to clothes, test­ing house­hold items for their abil­ity to “spark joy”) sound alarm­ing, it’s maybe no real sur­prise that her tidi­ness crusade has made her a me­dia and pub­lish­ing phe­nom­e­non, with book sales top­ping six mil­lion.

Kondo lives in Tokyo, a city in which (as I re­cently dis­cov­ered) there is no such pro­fes­sion as a res­i­den­tial in­te­rior de­signer, be­cause homes are sim­ply too small to war­rant it. There’s lit­tle op­tion but to be tidy. Think of the num­ber of re­cep­ta­cles and ves­sels you counted on your last trip to a Muji store and I rest my case. But Kondo’s phi­los­o­phy, ar­guably born of cul­tural norms in her home­land, has found global res­o­nance, as more of us em­brace apart­ment liv­ing and seek re­lief from the in­di­ges­tion of tech­nol­ogy and con­sumerism.As any good co­me­dian will tell you, it’s all about tim­ing and Kondo is a master. Plus, emp­ty­ing out draw­ers and cup­boards is a cheaper way to de­tox than a week at a spa.

Be­neath the self-help psy­chos­peak, Kondo’s method (called “KonMari”) not only makes sense, it works. De­clut­ter­ing re­ally does make life bet­ter.As read­ers of this col­umn know, I re­cently down­sized from an in­ner-city ter­race on three lev­els to an apart­ment on one. My part­ner and I still have a long way to go, but boy, does it feel good to de-stuff. And I’ve re­alised I’ve been prac­tis­ing “KonMari” for­ever. My sock faux pas aside, I fold T-shirts the Kondo way (years in fash­ion re­tail will do that to you), colour code my shirts and jack­ets (yes doc­tor, re­ally) and have been known to talk to my shoes. Dish­cloths and kitchen sponges are ban­ished from view and only things that spark joy are al­lowed. Bills, tax de­mands, park­ing fines… all gone. Kon­doed away. Neale Whi­taker is ed­i­tor-in-chief of Vogue Liv­ing.

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