Before and during our big house move over two years ago I did a lot of de-cluttering and down-sizing (down-sizing? Well, sort of….. down-sizing of the amount of belongings, if not the size of the house). I have tried to continue the plan of ‘less is more’ and ‘fewer is better’ over the ensuing couple of years and now, when something new (extra) comes into the house then (theoretically) something old (& unnecessary) has to leave.
I have made a point of maintaining a bag for the op shop constantly available and ready for filling. Every time I wear an item of clothing that I don’t feel comfortable in, or don’t like the look of, or is just something I have had far too long, (looking old and tired, like me!), it goes into the op shop bag.
The same goes for books. We gave away nearly 1000 books in the move. Sad, but true; an awful thing to do, but the three large (wall-sized) book cases we had in the previous house were replaced by about 4 shelves only in this latest home. I have joined the library (Yay, a great place!) and so books are coming and going regularly but not in danger of filling up the non-existent and minuscule shelving.
So the tidying and de-cluttering continues – with minimal success, I might say.
But yesterday I read about the tidy mind of Marie Kondo. She’s the young Japanese woman who has become amazingly popular with her book, ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up’. Marie’s writing (now translated into almost every language) – and her ideas – have become a world-wide phenomenon. (Look her up on the Internet).
At first I was sceptical, when reading about her tidying methods, especially when she suggests reverently holding each item you are contemplating tidying or getting rid of and, as you gently hold it, you ask yourself, ‘does this spark joy?’
If the answer is in the affirmative, then the article is kept and cared for. If an item does not spark joy, then it is discarded – but not before being talked about, thanked and praised. (Oh, for heaven’s sake!)
However…however….I fired up my computer and researched Marie Kondo. And, you know something? I felt inspired!
This morning I started on my clothes. An hour later, I was still sorting and assessing my underwear drawer. I classified and discarded lots of articles of clothing (forgetting to thank many things – sorry, blue, lacy singlet). Then I folded, rolled and secured the various pieces and placed them (standing to attention, some fastened with rubber bands) in their correct place.
With the use of two (open) boxes placed in the drawer, these clothes are now carefully secured with their fellow similar items. Oh, wow, does this drawer look neat!
I feel a sense of accomplishment and am pleased with my progress, so far.
As suggested, I started with clothing and still have a long way to go. The T-shirts are next in line, then the jeans.
Goodness knows when I will reach the book tidying task.
Then there will be the kitchen cupboards to deal with and, heaven forbid – eventually the garden shed!
In her book, Marie begins a ‘conversation’ with ‘Dear old screwdriver….’ .
I can’t see me talking to every old tool in the shed…but we’ll see how we go.
A tidying course overseen by Marie Kondo takes six months – and costs accordingly. I will avoid any cost by attempting to do it all by myself and will not fret if it takes a few months. I imagine that I will still be thinking about it and mentally planning the tidying up chores for a long time still to come. But I do have one extremely neat drawer – and the op shop bag is very full!
Marie Kondo advises: ‘If you feel anxious all the time but are not sure why, try putting your things in order’.
Apparently her version of tidying and the resultant de-cluttering can work wonders for your psyche as well as life in general.
Perhaps give it a try – but never expect to have your things looking as excruciatingly tidy as Marie Kondo seems to manage in her demonstrations.
PS: ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up’ is now available as an app.
Do you recall a time at school or university when you suddenly awoke to the fact that if you listened – truly listened – to whatever knowledge the teacher or lecturer was imparting, then more than half the ‘job’ was done?
Once you have learned how to earnestly listen you reduce the effort needed to remember and understand what you were (supposed to be) learning.
Were you able to catch on to that notion? The fact that, if you really listened, there would be less reading to do and far less (later) studying needed?
By simply employing genuine listening, we gain more and easier understanding of the information imparted, no matter what subject.
Did this ever occur to you?
It did for me - and saved my skin once (so to speak!).
Or were you one of those ‘smarties’ who always listened intently to everything that was said to you? Were you a good listener and even listened and remembered everything that you heard on the radio waves or on television or in a play? And do you still listen like that? Well done!
Sadly, that’s not the half-hearted listening method that most of us employ.
It’s an obvious statement but not always heeded that hearing is not the same as listening! You can hear lots of things yet hardly really listen to what you hear.
We listen when we know we truly need to – such as when we have asked directions.
Here’s a little test: Next time you are having a conversation – in any setting – observe yourself and try to note how much concentrated listening you are doing. Are you taking in what is being said to you? Are you involved with what the person is saying? Are you engaged in the conversation – or merely hearing what is being said?
Do most of us talk more than listen when in a social or family situation?
Sure, when someone is imparting a particularly fascinating piece of ‘juicy gossip’ or relating a truly exciting piece of news, we listen - and listen with undivided attention, but…..but….
How true is this? “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” (So said Stephen R. Covey, in ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.)
How very true!
Listening is not the mere cessation of talking; it is the involvement and interest in what is being spoken – especially if the words are being spoken for your ears alone.
Listening is a courteous and respectful gift we can give to others, where we all benefit.
There seems to be an awful habit appearing lately, where people actually put up their hand in a ‘stop’ motion, indicating a pause is needed in the conversation, because their mobile phone has rung! AARRGGHH!
Even an apologetic, ‘so sorry, excuse me, but I’ll have to take this call/ check this text…’ is excruciatingly horrible!
Sorry to sound as if I’m delivering a sermon. I am as guilty as anyone of not listening intently (although never have I so rudely stopped a conversation to answer a call on my phone).
I suspect we are all in need of a lesson in listening.
You never know, you may learn something and it will benefit you and the person to whom you are listening.
It seems that the ancient Greek philosopher, Diogenes Laërtius, may have been wiser than we are today when he suggested: “We have two ears and only one tongue in order that we may hear more and speak less.”
See if you can involve your listening ears more than your speaking tongue.
Here’s a story of a couple of politicians. If you dislike politicians you may wish to stop reading now.
This is how it was reported last week: An Australian politician (Jamie) was on an official, dutiful visit to Hong Kong. One evening there was a social gathering (for what? we weren’t told). After more than a few alcoholic drinks the 38 year-old (married father) politician offended a young 20-something woman diplomat by first commenting on her ‘beautiful eyes’ before placing an arm around her shoulders and proceeding to kiss her neck. (Not a ‘friendly peck on the cheek’ as he later claimed, but a neck kiss – and we all know how different that is from a ‘friendly peck’).
The woman diplomat did not appreciate the attention and reported the matter to her superiors. She did not wish to make a formal complaint about it but needed her displeasure registered.
Once back on home ground (Australia), journalists got wind of this Hong Kong happening and a (female) journalist wrote about the incident, voicing her displeasure at what had occurred.
Our brave politician did not like this publicity and sought sympathy and support from his political colleagues – which he seemingly received in abundance(!)
His most senior ‘mate’ (Peter) sent a text telling him (Jamie) not to worry and that the journalist who wrote the article criticising him was (his texting words) ‘a mad fucking witch’!
(I bet he almost used a ‘b’ in place of the ‘w’!)
But what did our senior politician do with this text? Unbelievably - and very unfortunately for our moronic and technically incompetent public servant politician, Peter, he sent the text, not to the neck-kissing pollie, Jamie, but to the very journalist he had referred to as ‘a mad fucking witch’!!
Amazingly, when the error was made public, the journalist claimed that she wasn’t too upset and laughed it off…Yep!
Unbelievable! (I strongly suspect she was ordered to make light of the misfired text).
Now, I don’t know about you, but I am fairly sure that I have no male close friends or relatives who would ever refer to a woman as ‘a mad fucking witch’. And yet here we have a senior Australian politician using those exact words.
Is this an example of who’s in charge of our country?
What an upsetting thought.
I am deeply offended to know that someone ‘in power’ talks like this pollie did.
And I wonder how acceptable this language is amongst his peers.
PS: Sorry about this post. Just felt I had to get it ‘off my chest’!
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.