OK, so it’s technically not spring yet, and won’t be for a couple of months.
But we’ve fallen under the spell of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix — who can help it, when she brings such bright, joyful energy to the task? — and can’t wait to get started.
Oh, and this isn’t just a couch potato inspiration — The New York Times recently cited Socrates on the subject. Of course like us, they were thinking about Marie Kondo when they did it:
At the beginning of “Oeconomicus,” Socrates puts forward a thesis: True wealth exists only in the form of possessions that are beneficial to their owner. Likewise, Kondo famously tells her clients to keep just the objects that “spark joy.” If you own a flute but don’t know how to play it, both Ischomachus and Kondo would see it as superfluous to your life and advise discarding it….
Marie and Socrates are not alone. There seems to be a sort of consensus on the subject among folks who have thought seriously on the subject. HuffPost recently ran this piece from the Oprah Winfrey universe of wisdom:
So, the first step to a clutter cure is to write down your favorite pack-rat phrases. My clients’ top three are: “I have to go through those,” “Someone could use that,” and “But I need it!” Unless you use the object in question at least once a year, such righteous exclamations are actually symptoms of dysfunction. Obeying these protests will keep you overstuffed and off balance forever.
Instead, use your powers of analysis to outwit the primitive logic of these phrases. When I ask clients what they long for, the most common responses are “peace,” “space” and “freedom.” Clutter keeps us from achieving these goals, and we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying larger homes. Empty space is more valuable—psychologically and physically—than almost any object….
By the way, that same article suggests that you start by figuring out which kind of pack rat you are:
Too Busy = Too Many Extras: You buy items you already own because you don’t have a system in place for where to store them or, when you need to find things fast, the time to search through all the possible storage spots.
Constant Worrier = Must Save Everything: You’re concerned that you “might” need something in the future, so you save everything, “just in case.”
Overwhelmed in Life = Overwhelmed at Home: You don’t know where to begin—so you just live with the chaos.
… and then act to counter in yourself the habits of thought that keep you from an orderly life.
And now that we’ve analyzed the problem, our work here is done. What? Did you think we were going to do the actual work of cleaning up for you? No way. If you want more tips, see Ms. Kondo. In the meantime, follow her advice (and that of Socrates, and Oprah): find your joy, hang onto it, and toss the rest of that debris right out!