A decluttered, tidy life? That will always be just a fantasy

This blog was originally published on a different site, 8/9/16

I’ve been having some rather vivid fantasies recently. You can’t blame me, can you? Je suis une femme d’un certain age, non? These flights of fancy come at all times of the day and night and I’m afraid I’m going to act on them…

Relax, you didn’t think I was going there, do you? No, these fantasies are much more destructive initially but lead to a feeling of calm afterwards, some might say Zen-like in intensity. I can’t help but be curious.

Of course I’m talking about Marie Kondo and her method of tidying up — KonMari-ing. It involves putting everything you own into piles, sorting through it and, if the item doesn’t spark joy, you bin it. Devotees of the method swear by it, speaking of the miraculous benefits of decluttering their homes and lives. One woman claims to have KonMari-ed a bad boyfriend.

As I look at piles of ironing, Lego, pens, pencils and shoes, I realise this might be a little bit harder with kids.

I do dream about it, though. Gently waking, I slip off my silk sleeping mask to be greeted by a bedroom that would not be out of place in Elle Décor (minimalist edition). Descending into a bare kitchen to a sleek Italian coffee machine (you thought I was going somewhere else again, didn’t you? Filthy) and using one of the four cups I own, I sip my espresso in serene silence, waiting for my perfect children to wake, skipping down the stairs like the graceful little ballerinas they are.

Instead, I wake to the piles I’ve created in my decluttering attempts. Removing the arm/leg/bum from my leg of whichever child has decided to join me in the wee hours (“I heard a noise”). Down to the kitchen where last night’s dishes are still on the drying rack or, on a bad day, soaking in now cold, greasy water.

The now-familiar thump! thump! thump! of a child skedaddling down on a blankie, demanding Special K. I’ve stood on some Lego. The morning can begin, while I swear I’m going to take care of all of this before 3pm.

I’m now weeping.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m more Kannydo than Kondo at the minute. If I threw out everything in my house that didn’t spark joy, I’d be left with two kids and a set of copper measuring spoons.

So the best I can do is to keep on top of washing, ironing, homework, baths, dancing, cooking, cleaning and occasional Coco the Clown duties. A well-hung (stop it!) washing will have to satisfy my organisational needs for now.

But on the walk to school, a walk that takes me past some of Glasgow’s finest red sandstone villas, I allow myself to dream again.

Space, glorious, clutter-free space. High ceilings, wood-burning stoves and sleek kitchens. Manicured lawns, stunning decks and views over the expansive golf course.

One day. Well, every girl needs a dream, right?

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