Rants & Reflections

An Island

‘No man is an island.  Entire of itself.  Every man is a piece of the continent.
A part of the main.’ – John Donne

This is a quote from a well known poem by John Donne.  If you have never heard of him or the poem, the chances are, you have heard the title phrase.  This poem suggests, that no one is truly self-sufficient.  We all must rely on the company and comfort of others, in order to survive and thrive.  

This little introspective moment began, when I applied, Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method to my house.  The art of spring cleaning your soul.  Tidying your home by category, not room and only keeping things that speak to your heart and bring joy to your life.  Disposing of the items that bring heartache; thanking them for their service and letting them go.  The method has a clear process; starting with clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous objects and lastly sentimental items.  The aim is to turn your home and in turn your life, into a place a serenity and happiness.

Clothes – This was a weird one.   Most of my ‘office life’ clothes, are still too small; rather worn through and some of my blouses, even had dust on them.  That’s just embarrassing.  Did they spark joy…no.  They made me feel fat and old and reminisce over jobs I didn’t like and friends, that have long since moved on.  Disastrous glittery tops, from the days, I used to go out clubbing.  Dresses that were a bad choice, the first time round, combat trousers, crease-tastic linen skirts and ill-fitting tops.  My wardrobe was basically neglected and full of promises, made to myself, that my clothes will fit again one day.  No more!

Books – A very therapeutic exercise; made quick work of that.  Papers – Caused huge delays.  I’m a fan of filing.  Neat, organised, chronological piles of stuff.  Bills, statements, letters, greeting cards, instruction manuals, gig tickets and old boarding passes.  I even keep gift bags, trying to be thrifty but failing miserably.  My shredder was overheating but I was making progress. This was when it got tough.  Old love letters, birthday cards from friends and family, that have since passed away, cards from close friends that I no longer see.  A physical reminder, of how much time had passed.  How many people have left my life.  How close I am, to becoming that Island.

Did these things bring me joy?  Quite the opposite.  Each good memory was tinged with the sadness of loss, the time that had passed and almost a wave of panic, about what comes next.   Not out of the next drawer or cupboard but in my life.

Blank postcards, ancient receipts, random photos, old diaries and a mint condition pair of nipple tassels, fell into my miscellaneous pile.  Cassettes that I have no way of playing, that fill my heart with joy, make the keep pile.  What do you do with old pens?  I’m talking 100 random ball point pens.  Seriously, I don’t know what I am doing half the time!  CDs make this miscellaneous category so tough.  I love music.  Still play CDs in my car and on my kitchen stereo.   Some are very old, bought when I was a teenager.  Old school classics, that evoke every emotion and provide the soundtrack to my life.  I also get pleasure out of selecting a CD and playing it.  Shuffling a playlist or selecting a genre and pressing go on Spotify, leaves me a little cold.  If, like me, you budget your subscriptions – you get lumbered with the bloody adverts too!  My CDs and DVDs have been streamlined.  I’m not ready to go full digital but I also know, clutter is just clutter!

Miscellaneous also covers electric appliances, tech gadgets, beauty products, kitchen and homeware.  Do you use it, need it, does it spark joy?  I could be here a while…

Sentimental items – I am a hugely sentimental person.  From a card, to a drawing, to a pair of my daughter’s shoes.  This category has been made easier, by following all the steps that have gone before.  Marie recommends storing your sentimental items in a beautiful box.  Joy inside and out.

This KonMari Method is not easy but I am taking it on.  I was determined to turn this week, that started with Blue Monday, into a positive.  A fresh and clean start.  The whole process, can be quite cathartic and spiritual.  I really understood the emotion, behind thanking your home, for providing safety and shelter.  We all get so busy at times, to acknowledge the riches around us.  That said, I won’t be thanking my underwear for their service or talking to my clothes about anything!  I will happily fold my garments, into neat little rectangles, as it’s more organised but zero chit chat!

I may be an Island but my home will be a place of serenity and happiness.


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