Monday musing: is KonMari for creatives?
The world of creatives is super glamorous – slick white studios floored with polished concrete; inspirational images pinned so artistically to mood boards that they could be mistaken for finished works; pale pine timber shelves hanging from ropes and lined with succulents in pretty pastel plant pots; and any work materials neatly piled/hung/stored out of sight or skilfully incorporated to appear an integral component of the overall decoration scheme. Every element carefully and artistically considered as part of the whole. Just like my craft room.
OK, so perhaps I don’t quite fit the mould of creatives who showcase their pristine work space on inspirational websites and in coffee-table tomes, but I’m not the only maker who is constantly surrounded by mess (or perhaps “curated chaos” is a better term?). And although every second web article I read seems to be about the lifechanging KonMari method of decluttering, I’m extremely hesitant to get on the bandwagon myself.
Yes, I’d love to not have to pick my way around piles of material or spend half an hour moving random objects just to find my sewing machine, but from what I can gather* there are two main points to Marie Kondo’s method: keeping only things that “spark joy”, and getting rid of things by category rather than cleaning from room to room. Neither of these resonate with me, either as a crafter or even really as just a normal person, and here’s why:
As a crafter: I make things from crap! Or to use “trendy” jargon, “I upcycle waste into usable items”. If I hold the core of a roll of dog poo bags in my hand, for instance, it does not “spark joy” at the time necessarily – but I can see that it has potential to be used for a future project. And if I don’t love it, I can usually dismantle it and make something else. So the “does it spark joy?” question which is meant to determine whether or not you keep something really doesn’t work for me. And the “cleaning by category” thing is slightly tricky too because of the randomness of items in my stash. Currajong pods, beads, string, leather scraps, kimono fabric, other fabric, sequins, clip on earrings, cores from reels of thread etc etc… they all fit in the “stash” category and then into smaller categories but however I look at it, I own a lot of items that defy pigeonholing!
As a normal person (well, fairly normal): The several long-sleeved T-shirts in various shades of grey that I wear under jumpers certainly do not send me into ecstasies. Nor does my collection of underwear. But I have kind of become accustomed to wearing things under my clothes (call me crazy!) and living in Melbourne where the weather changes every five minutes, clothing that can be layered is invaluable. And if I were to categorise things – put all my socks, for example, in a pile to see just how many I have which should prompt me to get rid of some, I could certainly throw out a lot of socks… but if keeping them now (and darning them when they get holes) saves me money down the track, why would I get rid of them?
Don’t get me wrong, I have actually spent a large part of the summer getting stuck into unwanted stuff in the house AND the garage (who wants to go away on holiday when you could clean out the garage instead?!) and hauling boxes to opshops, but as much as I envy people who can, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to operate on the minimalist principles of KonMari.
How about you? Is your craft room something Marie Kondo herself would be proud of or do you operate more on “creative chaos” principles?
PS Another Melbourne crafty lady who is a lot more famous than myself is also having trouble cleaning up…
*I have not actually read her book myself. I prefer to save my eyes for words that “spark joy”.
….And on another note, it amuses me that clutter is so universal that even villagers in remote Ethiopia have to deal with it. In The Tribe, one of the ladies laments the amount of junk in her hut’s attic. Definitely worth a watch for a chuckle at that and other (probably quite edited) “they’re just like us” moments – but also for the beautiful beads and hairstyles which had me glued to the TV for the duration of the show.