Tidy Spaces vs. Messy Spaces

Have you ever said goodnight to your pantyhose? Or thanked your mock turtleneck? Ever tangoed with your bathrobe? If yes, chances are you’re either lonely or you’ve read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. She believes that possessions have feelings.

Good night, pantyhose! See you in the morning.

Good night, pantyhose! See you in the morning.

Recently, I sat down with CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter host, Shelagh Rogers, to discuss the merits of tidy spaces vs. messy spaces.

The premise for Kondo’s book is straightforward: we have too much crap. Too much crap leads to too much clutter. Too much clutter leads to a cluttered state of mind. Kondo recommends you put all your belongings into a room, touch each item, and ask if it sparks joy in you. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, toss it out. This will make your life better.

I followed her process (there are categories and an order you need to follow) and let’s just say I was on a first-name basis with the folks at the town dump by the time I was finished. 

To break it down, here are all my clothes that didn’t spark joy when I touched them:

20 shirts
11 pairs of pants
2 suits
4 jackets
1 blazer
5 hats
3 sweaters
13 t-shirts
5 belts
7 pairs of shoes
1 pair of boots
1 pair of skates
1 partridge in a pear tree

What my living room looked like during the process. Don't judge.

What my living room looked like during the process. Don't judge.

I also got rid of 76 books. Mainly because I don’t reed a lot. 

At the opposite end of the tidy spectrum is Jennifer McCartney’s The Joy of Leaving Your Shit All Over the Place.

As you can guess, her premise is messy is good. We’re born messy, we die messy and we might as well suck it up. 

She argues that messy environments encourage breaking with tradition and conformity and that messiness inspires creativity. 

She points out people, both real and fictional, who were tidy. Like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. And Mussolini. Ted Bundy was apparently neat, too. So consider the company you’re keeping.

McCartney encourages you to own as many appliances as you can. Donut makers, deep fryers, vegetable spiralizers, coffee grinders, ice cream makers, slow cookers, you name it. 

I had a slow cooker, but I got rid of it. Who wants a device that cooks food as slowly as possible? I mean, doesn't that sound like the worst invention ever?

You can listen to my interview here.