Yesterday, as I was poking through my favorite news aggregate, I came across an essay talking about the first step of the Konmari method (clothes) and how beneficial the author found it--not just the clearing out of things that were unneeded/unwanted, but the litany of thanksgiving that accompanies the sorting process if you're fully following the Konmari method. It was a lovely essay, so I looked to see if there were any more on the subject by that author. There weren't, but I did see several by another author, who usually writes fairly sensible stuff.
Not so in this case, alas. She said she read the book all the way through, but then dismissed the goal of Konmari as to make your house look like a hotel room. What really shocked me about this is that the writer is a psychologist, and at its heart, Konmari is a form of therapy.
"The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up" doesn't come from winnowing your shoes down to three pairs (rather, it says to keep a hundred if they all help you to be happy), but from removing the detritus that either hampers your pursuit of happiness or outright makes you unhappy. Using myself as an example, I have discarded clothes that I kept because they fit even though I disliked how I looked in them; a whole bunch of items I had no use for just because of who gave them to me; language books that made me feel guilty for never using them because I knew I never would; things I liked when I was a kid but am no longer interested in, which were getting in the way of current projects; and piles and piles of cards and letters that made me feel deeply guilty every time I looked at them because of various friends I've permanently fallen out of touch with.
Going through all of these things really has been therapeutic. Firstly, because it's been an extended exercise in being honest with myself, over and over and over. Secondly, it's given me a framework through which to close various chapters of my life and say goodbye to futile regrets I've been carrying for years.
Marie Kondo says she's never had a finished client who's relapsed, and I can believe it--but it's the 'finished' part that's so vital. You have to go through everything, have to look every piece of yourself plainly in the face and be truthful about who you actually are. Otherwise it's like scrubbing down your shower but ignoring the bit of mildew in the corner: sooner or later it'll just recreate the mess you spent so much time getting rid of.
Anyhow, am almost finished with sentimental items--only three steps left. 1) Decorate closet interior with pages from old saved calendars, and redistribute remaining contents so they'll be easily accessible. 2) Remove everything currently hanging on walls and do a thorough cleaning. 3) Mount adjustable shelving on newly-cleaned walls, thus gaining several feet of floor-space and making the room Roomba-friendly; rehang remaining pictures. When I close my eyes I can just about see the final product and it's going to be wonderful. And a lot less dusty.
In other news, no internet in the mornings continues to be a great boon for productivity. Also, the next fic bit will go up sometime tomorrow. :)