Twenty Going in Barbara

Finding Folding Pleasure

When I was a kid my best friend’s mum Barbara used to spend hours ironing in front of the tv. She had a system and seemingly took great joy in the process. She would iron, fold and stack satisfying piles of clothes including pants and socks. I could never get my head round her ironing of pants and socks. Why iron something that is effectively going to iron itself as soon as it is put on. But that’s another story.

I’ve never concerned myself greatly with the arranging of clothes but this has all changed since I read Marie Kondo’s “The life changing magic of tidying“. I have learned the art of folding and can now after 35 years relate to Barbara’s joy. Firstly, Marie writes that you should only surround yourself with objects that bring you joy. I like this principle, I like it a lot. And so it has become a recent new passion verging on obsession to go through all my belongings, edit and curate the things that bring joy.

Kondo splits the process into categories starting with clothing. Once I’d piled all my clothes on the bed, gone through the pile keeping only the right items and charity shopping the rest, the folding process began. Marie’s technique is to find the “sweet spot” of each item and arrange vertically. What a revelation to arrange tops in the drawer standing on end. Gone are the out of sight and forgotten clothes at the bottom of a pile. My clothes are now all equal, easily available, on show, proud and upright. And the new way of storage creates space, a whole drawer and a half became empty.

Folding is just the beginning to a new way of appreciating your belongings. Marie’s book challenges keeping something because you think will “come in” or a gift you feel guilty about getting rid of. Marie suggests we hold onto things because we are afraid of the past and fear the future.

In a world where we are surrounded by so much stuff curating the collection that makes you happy in the here and now can only be a good thing.