Jun. 22nd, 2015

dynamite_lady: (Default)
I had a look at the free sample of Marie Kondo's book, 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (Up)'. (The up is in brackets as it doesn't appear on some editions - I'm happy to leave it out, since while 'tidying' raises my hackles a little, 'tidying *up*' induces mild to moderate panic for various reasons.)

The background for this is that, to a great extent, I am intrinsically somewhat untidy. Firstly because 'tidying' is a massive category, containing hundreds of thousands of possible millions of subcategories and the way my brain functions (or doesn't) means I am bound to miss one or two of those, and the best I can do is live with this and not get ALL THE ANXIETY about it. Which means that for a long time I was less anxious about living in a complete tip where I could only move across the small parts of the room where I'd cleared a path than about trying to tackle the mess. (Suffice to say, in no instance has this made moving house more fun) It's only in the last few years that tiplike living conditions have started to make me sad. Secondly, because (with the exceptions of the smelly or dangerous sort) leaving messes untidied bothers me considerably less than leaving certain other tasks undone. Thirdly, I have hoarder-like tendencies that reached their peak a couple of years ago when I finally decided to reverse the trend. I no longer have class registers from three jobs ago or notes from my least favourite undergraduate modules in my possession. Books I don't enjoy reading get released back into the wild so someone with different tastes from me can find them. Shower gel gets finished, unless it is truly grim and then it gets binned. I buy one batch of my favourite usually-expensive thing on special offer, not ten. But, and this is a big enough BUT to impress Sir Mix-A-Lot, minimalism will never work for me and I have given up trying to force myself into that nearly-empty box.

The take-home point here is that I tidy better if I can avoid anxiety about it. I really wanted to look at Kondo's book and see the 'magic' she purports to work, find some inspiration - and, let's face it, make the next house move as un-ordeal-like as possible because things are already sorted before they need to be packed.

The first two pages, where she details her routine on coming home from work, made me suspect that we may not be compatible. She unpacks her handbag every day and puts everything away in its proper place. I unpack my handbag once a month or so, cull the receipts and vouchers and bus/train tickets and put the necessary stuff back. I thought for a bit about trying her routine, and realised that it would make my morning routine longer and open all sorts of windows for forgetting to take something vital out with me. On the other hand, my bag has a proper place - the bottom of the stairs - where I put it carefully on returning home. So I figured there was scope for adapting her method.

There is something strangely compelling about every item in your home having a place. Certainly I can see the appeal of an alternative to forcing as much storage into a place as possible and as much stuff into each storage unit. But, and I like big buts and I cannot lie, it starts to get mildly apocalyptic at this point. Because EVERYTHING COMES UNDONE the minute an OBJECT WITH NO PLACE takes up residence in a previously uncluttered place. This sounds rather like the attitude I grew up with and had to shake off for my own sanity. The idea that a, for example, hairband on the coffee table is a big deal and more of a threat to family harmony than making a fuss about the hairband being on the table because one's teenager forgot about having left it there. I can't deal with the kind of thinking that implies one out of place object is the end of the world.

Suffice to say, I didn't buy the book after reading the eighteen pages that are available on Kondo's website. If you've read beyond that, I'd be interested to hear what you think. In particular, if it gets less or more apocalyptic in tone after the first chapter.
dynamite_lady: (Default)
I packed some books today. That isn't the main point of this story, but it's the starting point. I decided to pack the books that I had out, so I could get other ones out and sort through them. I have a lot of books. Hence, I ran out of plastic boxes of the right size. (part of the reason I'm ok with repacking some is that they are in massive boxes I have trouble lifting) I had my soft toys in a plastic box of the right size. They were in such a box because the estate agent in Stirling said they should be packed away early on for viewings, so they needed to be in something stackable. They don't need to be in a small plastic box for this move, so I unpacked them. Here's where it gets nasty.

Our spare bedroom in Stirling used to be prone to infestations of small brown insects, of the 'oh thank f*ck they're not mouse turds' variety. I never saw a live one, but every time I cleaned that room over the summer I'd be sweeping up dead ones. I have no idea where the live ones lived. I'm not sure I want to know.

So, I lifted the lid of the plastic box, and noticed that the topmost duck had a few insects on. Yuck, and how did I not notice when packing them? Probably because I did it in a hurry before the next viewing. Then I noticed more insects. Every plush critter in that box needed a few insects brushing off. Thankfully none of them were damaged, but I was getting a bit phased. Then I came to the fluffy yellow duck with a (thankfully detachable, you'll see why in a minute) lavender scented heat pack in a pouch. I brushed the insects off. I remembered the pouch. I realised, urgh urgh urgh, that the heat pack was the likely source of the insects. The heat pack is in the bin. The duck has been annointed with citrus oil. My hands have been washed a whole lot. The plastic box has been splashed with cleaning spray and squirted with the shower. I had to talk to an estate agent on the phone in the middle of this. By 'talk' I mean stutter out my less-grossed-out-due-to-distance-from-scene partner's mobile number.

I guess 'I binned the heat pack' is probably quite a mild ending as horror films go, but the moment of discovery was pretty grim.

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