Sunday, 22 Sep 2019

Forget about the KonMari method: time for the art of being a mess

Thanks to a new show on Netflix, everyone’s talking about the KonMari method – Marie Kondo’s guide to tidying up and keeping your house organised.

The lemmings on Facebook claim this method can change lives, and to be fair, this is true – it has changed mine but not for the best.

Before I heard about the show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, I was blissfully unaware you could make an entire career out of “putting things away”. Now, I live in the first year of a hellscape period I like to call “AMK” (After Marie Kondo) and I am constantly furious. Every social media platform is currently inundated with pictures of perfectly folded clothes and it makes me sick.

Has the world gone insane? Cleaning is bad, terrible, horrible, and you’re supposed to hate doing it. That’s why Cinderella’s evil sisters made her clean, because it’s a Guantanamo Bay level form of torture. That’s why Snow White had to whistle while she worked, to distract herself from the eternal pain that is tidying up.

To some extent it feels like people are getting a kind of weird cultural kick, trying to live the idyllic way Japanese people do. In my opinion, they should stop. Thanks to Marie Kondo, tidying up is basically a form of cultural appropriation, which I find highly offensive.

So, before you start folding up your clothes into perfect little triangles, let me offer you another way to do things. Here is a different teaching, also led by a Japanese woman (me) who, unlike Marie Kondo, is a champion grub monster. This is the Oyama Method – the Art of Being A Mess.

Greet your house. Kneel on the floor in the lounge room and thank your home for keeping you safe and sheltered. While you’re on the floor, notice a small cockroach scurry under your couch. Thank the cockroach for sharing a home with you. Consider the amount of rent you pay for this shoe box sized room in the inner city. It’s a lot, isn’t it? It’s definitely too much. Think about charging the cockroach rent, and imagine yourself becoming a Landlord of the Roaches. Realise this is a terrible idea, as cockroaches do not barter in human money.

Get all your clothes out and dump them on your bed. Notice some clothing that is too small for you, that you bought a couple of years ago, back when you planned to lose weight. Think about how it makes you feel. Bad? Who cares! Use all your clothes to create a large impenetrable fort. A fort so strong and sturdy it will protect you from facing any and all of your responsibilities.

Greet the fort. Because, let’s be honest, this clothes fort is pretty cool. Thank you, Clothes Fort. Thank you for keeping out the naysayers who think creating structures out of barely worn garments is “weird” or “having a breakdown”.

Take a closer look at the clothes inside your fort. Do not ask; "does this spark joy?" Instead, ask; “does this spark anything?” I’m not talking about emotions, I’m talking about literal sparks. You’re hiding out in a cave made from piles of dry clothes, the perfect tinder for a house fire. Check your pockets for lighters. The goal here is to have fun with your mess, not burn it to the ground. You can not have fun when you are on fire. That’s a fact.

Learn to fold. Fold yourself in half. Now, fold your knees up to your chest, and then fold your arms around your knees. Congratulations. You’ve folded yourself into the foetal position, preferably inside your clothes fort, where you are safer now than ever before. From here you can do many things; for example, you can have a little nap, or a cheeky existential crisis. You can teach

your children to fold themselves in the foetal position as well. Don’t be surprised if they are better than you at this, they were a foetus not that long ago, whereas you have been out of the womb for ages.

All in all, have fun and embrace your grubby home, let it bring a new shambolic energy into your house and into your life. Feel free to share pictures of yourself inside your fort every time you see a perfectly folded T-shirt triangle on social media. Be sure to hash tag it #TheOyamaMethod. Please, I need a Netflix special.

Nina Oyama is a Sydney comedian.

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