A few months into lockdown, I decided to do a ‘Marie Kondo’ and reclaim my life. I looked around my home and decided that clothing and books were my major problem. (I didn’t even consider the vast collection of handbags, footwear and knick-knacks.)
Ms. Kondo suggests going about organizing by category and, as per her instructions, I decided to tackle my closets first. I could almost hear the happy sigh from wardrobe number one. It was liberation time for those stretched hangers which regained their original shape as soon as I removed all the clothes and threw them onto the bed.
Looking at the mountain of clothes, I was aghast. I rifled through the ‘all too small’ wardrobe. How on earth had I managed to fit all those clothes in there? Squaring my shoulders, I sorted the clothing into three neat piles. Into the first pile went the clothes that I fitted into – in another lifetime. Catching my reflection in the mirror, I knew that I would have to wait for my re-birth to fit back into them.
The second pile was for clothes that I had worn to my workplace before work-from-home began, and the third was for brand-new items, some with their tags still attached. I stood there, shamefaced. Those ‘end of season’ sales must have been planned for indiscriminate buyers like me.
Sticking to my resolve, I played by Kondo’s rules and began discarding, starting with the first pile. I held each garment up against myself, thanked it sincerely for having served its purpose and considered whether or not it ‘sparked joy’ within me.
At the end of one hour, the first pile remained as it was, and I was busy reliving my college years, my girls’ days out with friends and my graduation dress. The memories were rich and strong. Moreover, I had begun to think that my new exercise and diet plan might just work.
Tackling the last pile, I wondered whether I could take any of them back to the store once lockdown was lifted. Examining my reflection as I held them up, I came to the conclusion that I had made some good purchases and patted myself on the back for being an economical buyer.
By the end of the day, the clothes were back where they belonged, except for a measly pair of leggings and a couple of shirts. I broke out in a cold sweat at the idea of attacking the cupboard that held my collection of saris. Buyer’s remorse was for the faint hearted, I decided, and, settling down to watch a Netflix, promised myself that I would have better luck with books.
I am proud and possessive of my book collection. Any genre is my kind and I like to think I have eclectic taste. Having never been successful at discarding books, I needed all my resolve. After lunch, I started with those books which had crackling pages, yellowed with age. Dusk found me sitting in front of the first shelf leafing through my father’s collection of Reader’s Digest, lost in some forgotten gems. I gave up and treated myself to an ice-cream.
Consulting Ms. Kondo one last time, I asked myself which objects did not spark joy in me. Alas, everything in my house sparked joy: my heaving closet, my tattered books, my chipped teacup. It seems that I am not yet ready for the world of KonMari.
Chandrika R Krishnan likes anything that begins with a ‘T’: talking, teaching, tales and tea! She has published approximately 200 articles online and in print, and her stories are featured in a number of anthologies. In 2020 she won the Wordweavers Drabble Contest and she has been shortlisted three times in Strands international flash fictions. Chandrika is based in Bangalore, India.