Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Tidying Outliers

A few months ago, I was seeing this little book that somehow totally took over the Internet: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Perhaps you've heard of it?

Thought so.

I needed to see for myself what all the excitement (dare I say obsession?) was about, so I checked it out at the library and read it.

And then I called bullshit.

Not on the premise that people need to get rid of stuff. Most people do. Including me. But I called bullshit on it because it is not applicable to everyone. Not even close.

If you want to live in a sterile apartment and do nothing but go to work and, I don't know, stare at your TV when you're home, get on that tidying up method. If you live alone, or with one other rational adult? It's probably perfect for you. Even if you live in a nice, modern suburban home and have a nice, modern suburban life (as I used to), it would probably work really well. And has for a lot of people.

But if you live in the country with three insane boy-children, two other adults with varying interests--one of whom is an enormous man with enormous clothing--in a climate that requires multiple wardrobes and equipment for the change of seasons, plus dogs, ducks, and a cat . . . well, I'm afraid Marie Kondo would not know what the hell to make of Blackrock.

We need tools. We need snowshoes and utility sleds and snow shovels. We need building materials. We need lots of changes of outdoor apparel for the children (and ourselves). We need a lot of STUFF.

Yes. Need. That's what I said, and that's what I mean. To live the life we choose to live, we need things. More things than will fit in an apartment in Tokyo, for damn sure.

I am the opposite of a hoarder. That happens when you grow up in a military family and move every three years. Packing boxes so frequently makes you very conscious of what is worth shipping three thousand miles. Throwing things out brings me great peace, and I do it with some frequency, but Marie Kondo's tidying just doesn't work here.

Though I think it would be pretty amusing to have the lady herself show up and try to apply her principals to Blackrock.


tu mere said...

It's great that you've resolved, at least mentally, that there are some things that are totally out of your control and, therefore, not worth stressing over. Your house is definitely one of those things. No matter how much effort you put into it, it will always require more. The book just lets you know that you're spot on in setting your priorities.

lindsey @ HerbandFlowerSoapCo said...

YES. To all of this. I read parts of that book before I chucked it as not applicable to me and my homesteading lifestyle. I need implements, soap making supplies, various stages of wardrobe, that giant water bath canner and oh, yeah, the pressure canner, too. And that dehydrator, and...on and on ad infinitum.
I read Radical Homemaking and that made me feel sane. That book reaffirmed my belief in home as project and and living centered. Where we try stuff, and cook, and preserve, and harvest and build forts and be messy.
I could be neat and tidy, but I got stuff to do. I'll be neat and tidy when I die.
Have a great week!!

Mary Wallace said...

I'm seeing more backlash to this book. I'm like you. I have many interests and they all have specialized equipment. Canning, brewing, knitting, gardening, etc. Maybe I need to read the Radical Homemaking book instead. And do at least a little tidying to make room for a Kegerator--brewing is a hobby where there's always another piece of equipment one needs.