Actually, It Was All My Idea.
As far as the KonMari process goes, my jury of one is still out. I’d say the chances are good that the outcome will be positive.
But that doesn’t mean it gets all the credit.
I was already on a path to a stripped down, more effecient lifestyle.
Like a lot of people though, I had all sorts of obstacles in my way, and to make progress on my own I’d have had to overcome them all one by one.
The physical obstacles are the more obvious ones. Loads of stuff. Many, many things. Items everywhere. Actual baggage.
But there are also mental obstacles.
It isn’t a comprehensive list, but just off the top of my head I’ve come up against these:
Guilt at not wanting things that were gifts.
Guilt at wasting something that someone else might need or want.
Fear of throwing away something you end up needing later.
Guilt about throwing things away and the ecological effects.
Sadness at not wanting things that were once important.
All barriers when you want to de-clutter, but not insurmountable.
In spite of these, one area where early progress was made was in the kitchen.
I mentioned in the last post that I have the luxury of moving things from old house to new without any deadline. Which meant I could happily box up all but the essentials for feeding myself and providing tea or coffee for a guest or two.
Having removed a lot of items that might get used on a yearly basis if that. Plus some multiples of more often used items, but not really needed in large numbers, I was free to look at the ergonomics of the room. It’s a joy to cook (though my standard barely qualifies really) when all of your pans are easily to hand next to the hob.* The few plates and mugs are all together in one place. The top drawer is no longer bending under the weight of cutlery, and the other drawers have cooking tools in small numbers that are easy to identify and get a hold of with no tangling or digging under other things to get to them.
Even pared back, it was soon clear that there was still scope to simplify even more. I’m not likely to bake my own bread again. I rarely, if ever use scales. And there were few other items I realised were never touched.
The one thing that didn’t go straight from my old kitchen into the garage of my new home was a full Kenwood blender set. That non-existent deadline I’ve mentioned a coule of times now, well it’s meant my move has been a long process, and that blender got used to make banana smoothies two or three times, and hasn’t done anything else in what must be over a year now.
Anyway, though not overflowing with experience, I’ve since helped out getting another kitchen a bit more ergonomical to work in. But there’s something you come against on a regular basis with these attempts to streamline your life and make things simpler. There isn’t always a quick fix. Making one small change won’t help much. Sometimes you need to empty the whole space out and start from scratch, just putting the essentials back int. And if you have a whole pile of stuff left that you don’t need very often (or ever), then so be it.
But that need to empty first can be a big stumbling block. I was lucky. I had the house to myself, and had previously turned the back room, adjent to the kitchen, into a workshop. So I had a big surface to put everything on when it came out of the kitchen, and no one to inconvenience while I sorted things out and worked out where I wanted things to live in the new, simpler layout.
It wouldn’t be as straightforward for everyone. Even before the rationalising, I don’t think I had a particularly packed kitchen, and it isn’t all that big. A large kitchen with equipment crammed in everywhere is going to be a much bigger challenge.
So, you need time and space.
But you also need to have a feel for putting things in places that work well together. There’s no point reducing the amount of things if the bigger problem was everything being in places that make life difficult, only to then put the smaller of things back in the old places just to have the same issue of the flow being all wrong.
That is something mentioned in the Marie Kondo book. She doesn’t believe that basing where things live post KonMari is important, but I disagree a bit there. Maybe I won’t so much after completing my journey, and maybe there’s more need for ergonomics in the kitchen than in the rest of the house.
*Frying pan, griddle pan, wok and two… pans.