Playing With the Konmari Method

I heard about the bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up at a SciPy talk about deculttering your data science project. The speakers admitted they hadn’t read it - they were simply trying to point out that tidying up your space and tidying up your software project are both similar.

I’ve been married and living with my wife for about a year now. After we moved into “our own home” last year, we have both undergone major role reversals when it comes to tidying up. I was never accustomed to spaces larger than a single bedroom, so I never cared enough to sort or declutter my space as long as my desk and bed were clean. As for my wife, she never owned too much stuff (between the two of us, I’m the hoarder) and therefore never had to make a chore out of tidying up. Now that I live in a fairly spacious apartment, even a little clutter looks very conspicuous to me. My wife generally agrees with me about tidying up, but she’s not anal about it. I have been having arguments about the clutter in my house with her for a long time now. Since both of us jokingly say that I’m the wife in this relationship (by the way, I would be proud to be one), tidying up and decluttering is often left up to me. I lost no time in buying Marie Kondo’s book and diving right in.

I’m through the first couple of chapters of the book and these are the broad points of it:

So far I’ve been using Google goals to schedule my cleaning sessions twice a week, 30 minutes at a time. There are two problems with this. First, it’s only thirty minutes at a time which isn’t nearly enough to gather any momentum. You can at best clean a desk, put away disks in the proper cases and organize a closet in that time. Now since I’ve got only thirty minutes, I would want to use that time to tidy up spaces that are the easiest to organize. And these are often the spaces I consciously use the most - which makes them even easier to organize. For example, the easiest space for me to organize is my bookshelf. It’s no wonder that by the time I get to the next cleaning session, it’s these very spaces that are cluttered again, and then I painfully realize that I’ve never had the time to reach the bathrooms or the wardrobes or the kitchen. The second problem stems again from the frequency of these sessions. Since it’s only thirty minutes at a time twice a week, it’s very easy to miss these sessions and hit “Defer” on the Google calendar app. The goals also make it a chore - which sucks all the fun out of it.

It’s clear that I really need to follow the KonMari method. I’m going to wait until the weekend before I go on a decluttering marathon, and till then I’m going to resist spending time on putting things away. (Except I really have to organize my wardrobe tomorrow. I can’t even find a pair of matching socks. I wonder if anyone would notice what color socks I’m wearing…) The book seems to be (unsurprisingly) very well organized and I can perhaps tackle a chapter one weekend at a time. If all goes well and if the KonMari method is really effective, I’ll be clutter free forever in only the next few months.

I’ll follow this post up with photo essays.

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