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!