I have a very vivid memory of my first or second year of school. Namely that my favourite part of class was tidying up. It may have only lasted a week or so (or a day!) but I remember it as being consistently true. After chaos and equipment being distributed to all over the classroom, we’d bring order back to the room by returning each item to its correct home. It’s like putting the square block in the square hole, the triangle in the triangular one.
When I mentioned to someone yesterday that today I’d be alphabetising books for my play she looked horrified. ‘You CAN’T! If you do that you’ll become… a boring person!’ I’ll concede that this might well seem a chore (or simply pointless!), but I felt like I could treat it as a playful activity.
There’s something very cathartic about taking down everything that has long been on the shelf, except when in use, and shoved back wherever it fits till eventually all you have is a bit of a mess. I wiped down the dust and then put my recipe books in piles on the table in vaguely the right order. Then put them one by one back on the shelves. I was pleased at how neatly books by the same chef happened to fit on single shelves without needing to flow over to the next one down.
I probably wouldn’t spend every day organising things for fun, but I’d definitely defend the idea that decluttering is currently a popular /play/ activity. Thanks Marie Kondo. Yes, it results in a more pleasing living environment, but so would painting a mural. Both only if done well.
Oh dear: I may have become a boring person after all!
I have a lot of energy, and if I don’t keep myself busy, I go crazy. I alphabetise the spice rack, separate the Lego from the Playmobile, colour-code the knicker drawers – it’s scary! My house loves it when I’m working so the linen cupboard can get a rest. I just don’t sit around. – Jerry Hall
Ease of play: 4/10
Resemblance to play: 3/10
Potential frequency of play: Low-to-Medium