Ever since I was a kid, I was never able to keep my room clean. It was never a holy disaster (partly because my mother would never let it get that way), but clothing, papers (and now dishes and laundry, now that I'm out on my own) piled up until I would snap and freak out and whirl around the room like the Tasmanian Devil until everything was (sort of) back where it came from. However, no matter my good intentions and my mother's genetics, I'm never able to keep a truly tidy and clean home. I've been living alone for almost two years and I'm going to snap for the final time. This year is when I "spark joy" in my home.
Marie Kondo has become an international tidying guru through her multiple tidying books. I am currently working through Spark Joy, an illustrated guide to help me learn how to spark joy through all piles of clothing, paper, dishes and laundry (plus literally everything else that has somehow crawled into my place). She makes the process sound difficult but doable, through various case studies of real life clients she has helped throughout her many years as a tidying master.
However, I know a tidying master. My mom. She's a tidying and cleaning queen and I feel embarrassed anytime she comes to my place and it looks like a complete disaster. She has reorganized, and reorganized and helped me clean too many times to count, and everytime we're done, I get so excited because that's how I always envisioned my living space to be. I keep it clean for a couple of days but then one thing leads to another, one piece of paper becomes five, an errant piece of clothing calls other errant pieces of clothing to hang out and soon they've become and insurmountable pile and the place is a mess once more.
I have read through the basic rules and the clothing chapter in Spark Joy (according to Marie Kondo, tidying must be done in five steps: clothing, books, papers, komono (or miscellaneous items), and sentimental items), and the prospect of going through my whole apartment and figuring out what gives me joy and what needs to take a long walk off a short pier seems incredibly daunting. I've made it as far as putting all my clothing in one place: my bed. I have yet to go through a single item and have pulled out the pull-out bed in my couch as I know I will not be sleeping on my bed anytime soon. Like everything, my biggest struggle is just starting.
Marie Kondo acknowledges that bringing joy into your life can be a struggle and can seem totally intimidating. However, she also says that everyone owns a finite amount of items. It took me a minute to fully grasp that concept, but it's true. Yes. I own a shit-ton of stuff. But it's not infinite. At some point, I will have gone through everything I own. It may take a while, but an end is there. It won't last forever. And it starts by tackling that pile. Soon, that pile will become smaller and then I'll fold things into tiny rectangles, as per the KonMari method, and I'll be able to sleep on my bed again and then I'll turn my attention to books, then paper, then komono and then finally sentimental items and I will have hopefully brought in the joy that I have been so desperately seeking.