“When I tell people that my job is teaching others how to tidy, I am usually met with looks of amazement.”
I DO NOT recall if I ever actually wrote the notorious essay A Day In The Life of a Sixpence at school but it remains in my consciousness: A writer should be able to write about anything, we were taught. So, write a book about…tidying. A whole book?
Marie has an advantage here. People actually pay her to show them how to tidy their homes. There is a three month waiting list for her services, or was when this was written but by now it will be considerably longer. She has mined a slim, shiny passage into the human condition to the point it seems completely essential to know.
One mark of good writing is sticking to message and Marie does not waver. She is resolute. “Do not tidy one day at a time”, she instructs. Do it as one big project and then never worry about it again. And knowing your subject.
She speaks of her tasks (or your tasks if you instruct her) in the most beautifully enthused fashion. Tidying is not a chore, it is a mission. You must put your days of “potato ball socks” behind you.
I confess to a certain concern looking around my study at just what would happen if Marie came through the door. The same fear her little sister felt when Marie turned her attention to her room.
Fortunately her clients are mostly in Tokyo where she assures me the average woman may own as many as 160 tops (I am safe on that one). One client took her to stand under a secluded waterfall to meditate. “There is,” she assures us, “a significant similarity between meditating under a waterfall and tidying”. This tome is all chutzpah, charm and yes charisma, Miss mindful. And in a way it has got a serious point. The secret, her secret, is to stack vertically, not horizontally. Before that you will have to have encountered the taboo of loungewear, learned how to fold and show respect to those socks and to organise troublesome papers. Quite.