Judy Kucharuk: The horrors of tidying up after the holidays


What did you do over Christmas vacation?

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“OHMYGOODNESS! I watched that Tidying Up With Marie Kondo series on Netflix, and I have been SO motivated to get rid of my junk. It is lifechanging!”

So far, I have had two or three people enlighten me on their recent junk-ridding journey to self-fulfillment. Each told me that they feel so much better getting the clutter out of their lives.

I imagine they stumbled upon the Netflix program right before or right after Christmas when the house was packed full of holiday décor and thus compounded by overindulgence — kitchen counters littered with half eaten boxes of chocolates and solo cups, living room dwarfed by the oversized Christmas tree, gifts of clothing that have no place to go because the dresser drawers are already full.  Maybe that was just my house.

Those savvy programmers at Netflix knew exactly what they were doing when they launched her program over the holidays. They knew we would be feeling overwhelmed, cramped and confined in our homes and therefore it was time for Hoarding 2.0 which is Marie Kondo.

The Tidying Up With Marie Kondo program is a gentler, kinder, more upper crust method of decluttering than the hoarding programs we are used to watching. Remember those shows? Those programs were half mental health counselling and half de-cluttering, and it normally involved a dumpster or two in the driveway before the home was habitable again. There is not much of that happening in this program. Marie Kondo is a petite, soft-spoken woman who communicates using a translator as she guides individuals through the exercises to rid their home of unwanted and unnecessary crap.

I have to admit that about four years ago I was an early adopter of this method and did purchase the Marie Kondo book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I read it — sort of. 

I was particularly intrigued with how she folded everything and as a result I spent an entire weekend folding everything that I own so that it stood up in the dresser drawer like she recommends. Then I folded my plastic grocery bags into tiny triangles that almost gave me carpal tunnel and I decided that it was time that I would never get back in my life. I tried so hard to get rid of stuff like she suggested, but I just couldn’t get past the whole, “Hug that old T-shirt and if you feel something good, like if it makes you happy like holding a puppy happy, then you should keep it. If it doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling then do like the chick from Frozen, let it go, let it go!”

What if that thing that gives you a happy feeling is a pair of soft leggings that have thigh rubbing holes down the inside of the crotch and you only wear them around the house? Do you still keep it?

What if that thing is a pair of jeans that cost an inordinate amount of money five years and three sizes ago? When you hug them, you feel good because you remember how great they fit. Do you still keep them?

What about your aged Me-Maw who bequeathed you all of her teeny decorative spoons that she collected over her lifetime and they are sitting in the china cabinet and your daughter likes to use them to pretend to feed her dolls? Do you keep them or... what?

My perquisites to keeping something would be:

• Do I have to dust it?

• Do I have to iron it?

• Does it need to be washed in cold, by itself, and hung to dry?

I rarely hug my clothing. The closest I get to hug my clothing is when I give it a sniff to see if it is still acceptable to wear one more day. 

I am not mocking Marie Kondo, nor am I mocking her method of de-cluttering. I only wish that I could be as organized as some of the couples at the end of each program. I am proud of myself if I get all of the laundry put away! Who cares if some of it is”‘put away” when it lands on the end of the bed; at least it has been removed from the couch. I am proud of myself when the cupboards are clear of dishes and appliances, but don’t open the cupboard doors because my insurance probably doesn’t cover concussing the neighbour with an instant pot that is sitting precariously on the ledge.

I don’t have a “thing” or “stuff” problem at my house. I have a “you got too many places to hide your things and stuff” problem. Does that still count as hoarding-lite? Does Marie Kondo have an episode about that?

Judy Kucharuk is a lover of sarcasm, witty people and footnotes.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News


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