I picked up Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up from the library (yes, I’m trying to get out of debt so book buying is not in my budget). I had seen her Tidying Up show on Netflix and my sister had used her method to go through her entire cluttered basement and sell hundreds of dollars worth of stuff on Facebook Marketplace back in January. I was inspired to go through my clothes and hoped that I would be able to find some to sell and make some cash to add to my debt snowball.
What I found was a new confidence and clarity in style. It’s amazing what can happen when you realize that you only have to wear things you love and that you don’t have to keep something that is ill-fitting or not your style. Knowing that I look good in every article of clothing I own is an amazing confidence boost and also helps me confidently style new outfits because I know everything I grab will fit and make me happy. After all, it’s not my body that doesn’t fit the clothes, they don’t fit me. And if they don’t fit, I can find ones that do.
I wanted to read the book before attempting the Konmari method of decluttering and organizing because that is my personality and I like to research and understand everything as best as I can before attempting it. (Yes, I read a lot of books about pregnancy and caring for babies when I was a pregnant first-time-mom :)) I highly recommend the Marie Kondo book to anyone to read before attempting to declutter. I don’t think I would have made nearly as much progress as I did if I had not done my homework first.
First, I really wanted to skip the first step where you pull all your clothes out of the drawers and hangers and put them on my bed in one big pile. That seemed like a lot of work and I knew I wouldn’t finish all in one day and have to deal with this pile when I wanted to go to bed. The book says you can go through each category and pull out only shirts, pants, dresses, etc, but, honestly, I realized that I should just humble myself and follow the plan.
I put all my clothes on the bed and when I was done I was shocked. I have way too many clothes. Granted, many of them are for several different seasons but I was still impressed at the size of this clothes mountain. My kid thought it was great and made herself useful trying to scale the mountain and trying on several of my shirts.
Going through each item started out very difficult for me. I thought at first that I was just going to keep everything I touched. I tried the method Marie Kondo suggests on her Netflix show to start with something that is an obvious yes for you, something that clearly sparks joy. I picked up a yellow dress that I wear often and feel confident and comfortable in. Yes, obvious yes for me. Then I picked up a couple of other items that I felt the same way about. That helped give me a baseline for what I was going for. I noticed as I was going through that I could easily discard items that were really worn.
The hard ones were items that I wore somewhat regularly but that I didn’t really like, either because I didn’t buy them and they were a gift or hand me down so not really my style. Or maybe they just didn’t fit properly and I tugged on the skirt to lengthen it or kept readjusting the waist because it didn’t sit right. Choosing to get rid of these items was only possible when I really asked myself if they sparked joy and if the answer was no I thanked the clothes for the memories and opportunity to wear them and put them in either a sell or donate pile. I love that these items could bring joy to someone else who fits them better (physically and metaphorically) and am selling lots of clothes through Poshmark.
I found that much of what I chose to get rid of were things that had been given to me or things that I felt I needed but didn’t have a replacement for. Kondo addresses gifts in her book and I was glad that I had read that part. Just because someone gave me the item does not mean I need to continue to keep it if I don’t wear it or don’t like it. The person thought of me and lovingly bought me an item and the gift has served its purpose. Now it is time for someone else to love that item. I also found that I had kept things that had been very worn and I had even replaced, merely for the sentimental value. My husband bought me a pair of flat knee high chocolate brown boots for Christmas back in 2009 or 2010. Those boots have long served their purpose and I loved them so I wore them all.the.time. I replaced them last year with another pair of flat brown boots but kept the old ones in my closet. When I picked them up I could see that they were very worn and had a hold in the sole of the shoe (the reason I had replaced them) and were no longer practical to wear or aesthetically pleasing. I told my husband and thanked him again for the boots, thanked the boots, and sent them off to their future life in the trash can. I also have a very hard time parting with items that have to be thrown out because I feel it is wasteful but I figured those boots have gotten a lot of wear and will have to break down somewhere, so I would rather it be in the dump than in my closet.
After purging lots of items and re-discovering many items in my closet that I had forgotten about, I reorganized my closet and started to style new outfits to wear with glee. Now I know that my closet is filled with only items I love, only items that fit me, and only items I would be proud to wear. That confidence boost means that I no longer have to squeeze myself into an ill-fitting shirt or wear a necklace that I hate once in a while because I feel guilty that I don’t wear it. No. I am worth more than that. I don’t have to wear anything except what I love.
I am also immensely practical and kept several items that should probably be purged but I cannot bring myself to get rid of them because I need to wear them. So I started a list of items that I need to buy to replace clothes and shoes in my closet. Yes, I no longer need to wear clothes that are so worn that the Salvation Army will not take them (I really wear the heck out of my clothes and keep things forever…seriously I still had some clothes from high school). I do not have the financial means to throw away everything and replace it, so I took that confidence and decided to use it to direct my future shopping endeavors. Without direction, I find that I just keep buying ankle-length black trousers (I have 3 pairs) and cardigans (I cannot even count how many I own).
I want to create a closet that I feel confident in every day and that means that I need to put some effort into that. I am making lists of the items I need and will buy good quality shoes and clothes that will move me in the style direction I choose. I love a bargain but without direction I will end up with too many replica outfits and then feel boring and want to go shopping again, thus continuing an eternal cycle of spending money and not feeling confident.
Have you tried the Konmari method? How did you feel after going through your clothes and how has it affected your personal style and shopping choices?