If you haven’t yet heard of Marie Kondo and her ‘lifestyle brand’ KonMari, where have you been? She’s a consultant on neatness, the guru of storage and de-cluttering, and she’s all about teaching people to “choose joy and complete their tidying adventures”.
Note the word ‘complete’.
I’d like to think my house is in a relatively orderly state, but in truth there’s a hefty dose of clutter decorating each room. A thousand (give or take a few) magazines that I aim to browse through for my own cuttings, then file or throw in the recycling. Before my son was born, in a fit of ‘nesting’ fever, I had a massive clear out to make everything clean and tidy for his arrival, and now there is baby stuff everywhere. I have a kitchen ‘junk drawer’ (surely everyone has one of these?) that has somehow morphed into FOUR junk drawers. And all those other things I keep, a constant flow of random ‘things’, that ‘might come in useful one day’.
Newsflash: they never do. I’m very good at starting to organise things or planning to have a proper clear out on a rainy day, but somehow the ‘completion’ part of these tasks always eludes me.
Anyway, the benefit of my horse being stabled 15 mins away from my house is at least I don’t have a host of tack and equipment cluttering up my already quite messy home. Okay, that’s not quite true. In the garage, I have an odd selection of broken overreach boots, almost empty bottles of ShowSheen and shampoo, rusty headcollars, long -forgotten bits and parts of bridlework that I have no idea what to do with. They’re stuck in tidying limbo, not worth taking to the yard to store there or be used, but not quite at the stage of being thrown into landfill.
So I leave them at home, because I do at least try to be neat at the stables. I keep my mare on a pro eventer’s yard, and I think it’s only polite to try to keep my things relatively tidy, if for no other reason than I don’t want my stuff to get mixed up with the mass of gear needed for a yard of competition horses. I have a trunk outside my stable and a shelving unit opposite, and when I arrived I spent time filing my gear into cubby holes – my mare’s boots here, my boots there, grooming kit above, etc., etc.
I’ve been in tack rooms where everything is pristine, where the saddles gleam in uniform row. I know they exist, but not for me.
But it’s always one step away from chaos, and I’m always putting off those infrequent days when I start throwing stuff out, cleaning off the worst of the mud and refiling things in their proper place. The problem is, and maybe this is just me, but horsey kit just gets filthy and broken the minute it goes near a horse. My rugs are piled on the rack in towering piles, my saddlecloths are more crusty-crusty than matchy-matchy, and whenever I’m looking for a pair of anything, I can only ever find one. Things are constantly missing, and when I go to a show I invariably forget something – my show jacket (twice) and my long boots (once).
I’ve been in tack rooms where everything is pristine, where the saddles gleam in uniform rows and the metal work shines, and the colour-coordinated rugs and saddlecloths are folded to perfection. I know they exist, but not for me. I bet those riders don’t lose or forget things. I bet they regularly declutter. What is their secret?
Help me Marie Kondo, you’re my only hope.