It’s a compulsion. I stare at a grocery store shelf, sizing up boxes and containers and packaging. I pick a section. Attention. My hands quickly grasp one item after another to align and straighten them into neat rows. I’m the colonel of this regiment of retail soldiers. Conditioning. That’s what it was called when I was paid to bring order to wayward toiletries and canned goods and cleaning products.
I’m no longer on payroll, but it’s reflexive. I condition while I wait for someone else to make a purchasing decision, carts trundling nearby and cashiers ringing up orders in the distance. A few bottles here, a couple of boxes there, all set. The organizational habit does not carry over to my home. With two terriers, a tabby cat, two adults working full-time, daily activities plus low vision missing the dirty details, well, there’s always something that needs a scrub.
Things will motivate me on to clean, a social visit, a noticed mess, a moon phase. I listened to the audiobook of Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She’s a megastar in her native Japan, quickly rising in celebrity here in the States. Her KonMari mantra: figure out which items in your home bring you joy, discard everything else. Simple enough. I’m not buying into the discussions she has with inanimate objects, but I agree with her general premise.
Living with low vision encourages me to whittle my possessions to what I need. If tidying up is in the genes, my DNA is in conflict. One parent harbors a penchant for collecting a hoard of things, more sentimental about stuff. The other parent tends to pare down and discards objects without remorse, living in the moment.
“Never pile things…If you stack things you end up with what seems like inexhaustible storage space. Things can be stacked forever and endlessly on top which makes it hard to notice the increase in volume. In contrast, when things are stored vertically, any increase takes up spaces and you will eventually run out of storage area.”
With low vision, routines are king. I admire straightforward systems worthy of the Real Simple magazines I used to read which featured uncluttered, spring-breezy lifestyles page after page. Easy to like, hard to duplicate. With the KonMari Method, I can realize, if an item doesn’t bring me joy, I can let it go. If I decide to keep something, I need to find a permanent place for it. The next time I shop, I’ll still straighten a few Items. Habits, like John McLean, die hard.
What do you think of the KonMari Method? Have you read Marie Kondo’s book? Do you stay organized or are you a clutterbug? Is it hard for you to get rid of things? Tell me about it.