Everything old is new again

There seems to be a lot of buzz these days about decluttering… I’ve been hearing a lot about a Japanese lady making a HUGE name for herself in this area (I know, I’m very late to the party)! I’m yet to read one of her books or watch her on Netflix, but I did “google” her and get lots of results including her own Wikipedia page (if you’re like me and tend to be bit behind the trend, look her up, her name is Marie Kondo). Apparently, the whole decluttering caper has become a big enough trend to provide a surge in Rubbish Removalist jobs and is even causing problems with too much influx of unwanted items at charity, second hand and vintage shops. As with any trend there’s usually something valid behind it, but  there’s usually an extreme edge too which can take away from the original benefit.

Funny thing with trends is that they’re often seen as a brand new idea, but mostly it’s something that’s been around forever and is now packaged up and presented differently in a nice new shiny box! Whether you call it decluttering, tidiness, cleanliness… it’s a part of yoga! It’s a part of the “Niyamas” which are 5 ways to practice self-care.  “Sauca” (the name of this particular “Niyama”) translates loosely to Purity and is about taking care of your physical self and surroundings.  Some religions have also used the phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness”. There’s something wholesome and “right” feeling about having a tidy and clean environment, do you agree? But like everything (and I alluded to this earlier), it can be taken to extremes. Becoming rigid and uptight about everything being spic and span and in its “place” ALL the time is exhausting for everyone. Creative people are stereotypically messy, and we all have some creativity in us (yes, all of us!), so there’s definitely a case for letting things go sometimes.  We also don’t want to get caught up in an ego driven need to appear that our lives are “just so” and we have the perfect Pinterest living environment.

There is definitely merit though in taking time out on a regular basis for decluttering, tidying up and cleaning.  Human beings can’t escape the fact that we are continually impacted upon by our internal and external environments. We have an inextricable connection to everything whether we like it or not and whether we are consciously aware of it or not! As the American biologist Barry Commoner (one of the world’s best ecologists from the 60s, 70s and 80s) stated, “Everything is connected to everything else”.  

Our external environment impacts upon our internal environment. In some ways, one is a reflection of the other … take a look at the bedroom of many teenagers!  This is not to say that teenagers should be forced to continually tidy their rooms – they’re at a particularly busy time of development in their brains (as can be younger children), so a little bit of compassion for the state of their busy mind might be more useful. It can help though to give them a hand (if they’ll let you) or encourage them to keep their personal space in some semblance of order, particularly if they’re toward the end of school years and need to stay as focused as possible. Sometimes, teenagers go the other way and make keeping their room in perfect order too much of a priority, in an attempt to feel in control of their life (this can happen at any age).  As with most things, children and teenagers learn most from the modelling of the important adults in their lives. Teenagers in particular don’t pay much attention to what’s told to them by adults who aren’t practicing this very same thing. For example, teachers who are organised themselves and stick to their stated plans tend to get the best response from their students.

As for my advice on how to go about decluttering, tidying up and cleaning? There’s SO much already out there I don’t think there’s much I can add!! Except to say that my own rule I try to have is to have a “place” for everything and mostly everything in its place 😉 , which is what I’ve been doing with my workspace (take a peek below if you like – unfortunately I don’t have a “before” photo, if I did… you would be VERY impressed on how hard I’ve been working!!)


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