R is for Rebound. (Please don’t let it be me.)

Dear Marie,

Konichiwa! You might have heard through the virtual grapevine that I recently read your book and decided to ‘Kondo’ my entire house. I kid, of course, about the virtual grapevine, because I suspect you’re far too busy cashing royalty cheques from your selling-like-hotcakes book to pay attention to negligible bloggers like moi. (How do you say ‘me’ in Japanese?)

Speaking of – royalty cheques – where might one store those? Or do you have some direct deposit arrangement with your publisher to avoid that ghastly paper trail and all it entails.

I have to tell you, Marie, I began the Kondo experience exactly two weeks ago today. I followed your advice and started with clothes, though I will be the first to admit I did not thank any of my purged items ‘for their service’ because, Marie, I simply do not value things all that much. I think having kids has completely stripped me of that, because one minute I was wearing a cashmere sweater and the next someone spit or puked on it and I realized, quickly, that clearance items from Target, JoeFresh and Gap would have to become my wardrobe mainstays. At least until these little gems leave for college or trade school or whatever it is they’re going to do.

And at that point, I’m going to be completely grey, likely with a bad perm, and wear elasticized waistband pants from the Karen Scott collection.

But only ones that ‘spark joy’, bien sur!

It has to be said, Marie, that my bedroom has never, in all of my adult life – scratch that, life – looked as good as it currently does. The tops of my dressers are clear of the piles of books I kept meaning to read. The drawers are filled, somewhat immaculately – not quite up to your standards, I’m sure – with folded shirts, stacked vertically so all I have to do is pull open a drawer and select the least offensive shirt.

No more rifling through a pile of folded shirts and upending the precarious arrangement because I wanted to wear the shirt all the way at the bottom. Truly, it’s genius. Every night as I get into bed, I look around the room and am astonished at how tidy it is.

But Marie, I am tired.

For two weeks now, I feel like I’ve done nothing….but tidy. (Which is not to be confused in any way with cleaning. More on that later.) Perhaps this is to be expected, as I’ve gone through every item of clothing in this house. Nearly every piece of paper. My kitchen. The bathroom. And every drawer and cupboard within my little bungalow.

I feel like I spend all of my time tidying and, if I’m not tidying, thinking about tidying. When I’m walking through the house, I am fixating on open drawers, and items not where they should be. I am sweeping up every crumb that mars my (dirty) floor – I swept five times today! I am doing load, after load, of laundry and folding everything just so. And it’s exhausting.

In your book you insist that none of your clients has ever ‘rebounded’ from the Kondo life back to the messy life. And I have to tell you, these words keep me up at night. (Or they would, if I had more energy.) Because what if I’m the one? What if I am the only person in the world who is unable to maintain the magic?

Can you even imagine how that will make me feel?

But on the flip side, I’m not sure I can sustain all this tidying for very much longer. 

First, allow me to point out – simply for factual purposes, – that you do not have any children. You are one person. Living in a shoebox apartment. With, from the sounds of it, a shoe cupboard where you store everything you own.

I share my bungalow, which is just a Canadian word for very-expensive-small-house, with three children and a husband. I also need to point out – again, simply stating facts – that every single one of the people sharing my home is of the male persuasion. I say this, not to be old-fashioned, bringing up long-standing stereotypes about men being messy and women being tidy, because of course there are incredibly messy women and extremely tidy men. But in my particular case….well, Marie, suffice it to say there are no extremely tidy men living here.

For instance today, I finally tackled my boys’ bedrooms. It was a trying experience, to say the least. I have one boy who refuses to put any of his clothes away, preferring, instead to send them to the laundry basket. Even if they’ve just been laundered. I have another boy who puts nothing in the laundry basket. He uses his dresser drawers to store dirty clothes. And I have another boy who prefers to store his clothes balled up underneath his bed, mingling with dustbunnies.

Forget tri-folding their shirts and stacking them vertically, I would just like them to put clean clothes in the dresser and dirty clothes in the laundry basket.

I spent an hour and a half on the first bedroom. I even made masking tape labels for their dresser with the words: ‘Shirts. CLEAN only!’ Then I tackled the second bedroom, inviting my youngest son, who was home sick today, to experience the magic of tidying his room. I invited him to look at his closet and remove any shirts that didn’t ‘spark joy’. He handed me approximately 20 empty hangers, not a single shirt. I invited him to slither under his bed and look for ‘forgotten’ items of clothing. He used that opportunity to wonder aloud what his fellow classmate – also home sick, whose mother coincidentally loaned me your book – was doing. ‘Probably not making beds and getting rid of stuff,’ he grumbled.

His tone of voice suggested it was not the kind of sick day he’d envisioned.

I got my utility bill in the mail today. It seemed excessively high. I was about to compare the current bill to previous months to see if our usage had increased, or if the price had. And then I remembered: I got rid of all my old utility bills. Because you told me to.

And then there’s the matter of the dirt. You see, Marie, I’ve been so busy tidying my house, racking up steps on my fitbit as I scurry around trying to put.everything.back.in.its.place.lest.I.become.the.person.who.rebounds, that I haven’t had any time to clean it.  The layer of dust on every surface is considerable. And let’s not talk about the haven’t-been-washed-in-weeks floors.

But as bothered as I am by the dirt, I simply can’t fathom addressing it, thereby spending even more time on my bleeping house. I have things to do, Marie. Or, at least I think I do. My computer is about to crash underneath the weight of 48,000 digital images. I need to make dinner. I’m supposed to paint three electric boxes by tomorrow, for pete’s sake.

In other words, I’m desperate for some of that magic.

Yours, from a very tidy desk,

Nicola

 

 

 

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