The Queen of Clean and the Duchess of Much Less


Flavour of the month in France, we hear, is Marie Kondo’s  The LIfe-Changing Magic of Tidying, which brings the ceremonial spirituality of the tea-ceremony to the art of tidying up, with a few added benefits. Marie believes that rolling your socks up and putting them into serried rows, folding your sweaters a certain way and arranging them in boxes, and similar ceremonial activities, will energise you so that you can dump that bad relationship, lose your anxiety (but presumably, not your OCD tendencies), and, the Holy Grail, lose weight. Well, maybe you will if you’re scurrying round all day folding and packing things away.

Marie has written three books on tidying, with sales of 2 million, has a website that teaches you how best to fold things  up, and runs a consulting business. Her basic premise is simple: only keep things that “truly spark joy”.  She doesn’t seem to believe in books, but she’s very interested in the respect you show your socks and tights.

Gert would like to have the benefits of this system, but she doesn’t want to work so hard at it.  So she’s come up with a few rules for decluttering your life and  taking the work out of keeping your house clean.

1.   Get rid of all your clothes.  All you need is a simple uniform for summer and another for winter (make sure it’s one that sparks joy).  All the better if it’s a onesie, so you only need 2 coat hangers. You can hire clothes for special occasions.

2.  Don’t wear underwear, socks or tights.

3.   One plate, bowl, cup, etc, for each person in the house. Guests can bring their own and take them home to wash up.

4.  No need to stockpile that bulky linen! Use biodegradable sheets and towels. Dig them into the garden when they’re worn out and buy some new ones. Double bonus: you’ll also free up the space where your washing machine used to sit.

5.  Replace that cupboard full of saucepans with one – Gert’s All Purpose Saucepan™,  which, by an ingenious systems of flanges and sprockets, converts to four different sizes.

6.    Your cat can be trained to do the housework  using Gert’s training program Make your Cat a Domestic™ and Gert’s Cat-Friendly Cleaning Tools™. These are,  of course, much smaller than normal – another great space-saver.

Do try Gert’s program. And let us know if you lose any weight!


17 thoughts on “The Queen of Clean and the Duchess of Much Less

  1. Gert is really cooking with gas! Oh my, I love the idea of wearing a onesie and getting rid of all those clothes. Then having your company bring their own dishes and taking them back home after to wash. Well that is splendid. I think we might go the paper plate route. What say you?

      1. I actually prefer my Wedgewood bone china. No trips to the supermarket for them. Not a chip out any of it for 50 years of service! Mind you I still have to wash it. But washing Wedgewood is always a delight for me. (Eating off Wedgewodd is even a greater delight!)

  2. Funny. I just came across a book about getting rid of clutter, so you must be tapping some sort of cosmic vein. Idea: why not just sell your house and pitch a tent in your friend’s (assuming you have at least one) front garden.

    1. You may well be able to do that if you follow Marie Kondo’s strict rules. We saw the room of a student who had been ‘decluttered’ by her. No more desk, computer or books.You don’t really need all that clutter. Embrace nature!

  3. Also don’t have children and don’t have pets. I love a good throw out of stuff. Hard rubbish collection is therapeutic for just about everyone, the OCD types and the hoarders.

    1. A good throw out is cathartic. I still pine occasionally for student days when I had one room, and one wardrobe and that was it. Where has it all come from?

  4. I can;t imagine that Marie Kondo would like the room of a first year male student though! I somehow have the idea that you are a very neat person, Charlotte. Am I right?

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