Clut­ter? Now that’s neat


I in­tro­duced a self-im­posed rule of wait­ing 24 hours be­fore pur­chas­ing some­thing that I’d seen and liked. Nine times out of 10 I’ve for­got­ten about it by the next day or it’s sold out, which my bank ac­count con­sid­ers “a sign” that it was never meant to be.

In the­ory, this tidy and or­gan­ised 2.0 en­vi­ron­ment, filled only with joy-spark­ing items, will change ev­ery­thing and help you live your best, de­clut­tered life. And in prac­tice, it holds rel­a­tively true.

When I moved house at the end of last year, the things I’ve held on to through­out the past decade — setlists from con­certs, pho­tos from over­seas hol­i­days, a nov­elty T-shirt that reads “Texas, it’s big­ger than France” — do bring me joy. And luck­ily, these things don’t take up much space. But what if we were to skip Kondo’s process al­to­gether and sim­ply learn to stop buy­ing so many things in the first place?

As any­one who has ever moved house will at­test (aka ev­ery­one), there’s a level of soul-de­stroy­ing ex­haus­tion that comes from pack­ing boxes upon boxes of mis­cel­la­neous junk at one res­i­dence only to re­verse the process at an­other days later.

Or, in other words, the more times you repack and un­pack things, the less you care about them — some­thing Kondo and her fol­low­ers don’t touch on.

Like di­ets, re­la­tion­ships and bet­ter health, ev­ery­body wants to know “the se­cret” when it comes to feel­ing in con­trol of the space in which we live. And for many, Marie Kondo and her or­gan­i­sa­tion skills hold the an­swer. She of­fers re­as­sur­ance that, de­spite hav­ing no self-con­trol at the shop­ping mall, these messes of our own mak­ing can be rec­ti­fied if we just work through the may­hem and master the an­cient art of fold­ing clothes and plac­ing them where they be­long. But what if there is no “se­cret”? What if tidy­ing up isn’t a “magic art”? What if one day, you just stop buy­ing as much as you used to be­cause you can’t face the prospect of one day hav­ing to pack it up?

Well, that’s prob­a­bly for the next life­style guru to fig­ure out.

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