I am a serial declutterer (I may have just made up a word). Once every six months to a year, I rummage through closets to get rid of things – like that concert T-shirt that never got worn or the “Alright, I’ll admit my butt is that big” pair of jeans. The process can be cathartic, but before long – clutter overtakes me once again.
Recently my friend, Camille, began an intense decluttering exercise based on the KonMari method in this book. She’s been blogging about it (check out “Wake Up, Mama!“), and it sounded intriguing enough that I decided to jump aboard and try it myself.
The author of the book, Marie Kondo, instructs readers to declutter by category instead of area in your home, beginning with clothing. She further advises taking all of your clothes, placing them in one big pile and ditching anything that doesn’t bring you joy. That’s right, joy. Even those items that you “kind of like” have to go. Real joy is all that can stay.
I can tell you that I was incredibly overwhelmed when I saw all of my clothes out of closets, drawers and dressers and in one gargantuan heap. Initially, flopping down on top of them, I silently cursed Camille (no offense, my friend) but eventually let out a long sigh and got to work.
The task went much easier then anticipated, but it still presented its challenges. I knew which things blatantly made my heart sing and which ones didn’t, but I waffled on several items that hit the “not so sure,” category. That’s when I realized that if I’m having to question whether or not something brings me joy, it doesn’t.
It took two days to go through every piece of clothing I own, and I still have socks, tights and underwear to sort through this coming weekend. So far, however, I have accumulated ten large green garbage bags full of clothes and shoes that don’t bring me joy. TEN!
My initial reaction? ‘Why on earth did I ever buy, keep or wear items that didn’t bring me joy?’ I was then stunned to discover that the items that do bring me joy are the ones that I’ve been wearing the least. This shocking revelation made me downright sad. I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t been wearing them, but it had nothing to do with protecting them or saving them for special occasions. I can only theorize that I left them hanging in the name of conformity. Not to say that my joy garb is outlandish; that’s not the case at all. It’s actually feminine, expressive and happy, but maybe there’s been a little fear associated with letting my true self shine. Who knows?
I think we are all capable of SO much in our most authentic forms of expression, but that comes with entirely new versions of vulnerability. It’s easier to stay stuck in what’s safe, don’t you think?
I now LOVE my closet – truly. I can easily access what I want, and it’s full of only those things that make me truly happy. I am left with no choice but to wear my “joy garb” – that’s all there is to choose from, which really excites me.
Next step, according to the author, is to go through books. I’m bracing myself for that task, but I can already tell that it’s going to be a lot easier than previously anticipated. When I walk into my new and improved closet, I feel an overwhelming desire to have the rest of my apartment give me that same fabulous feeling. Just imagine – an entire living space full of joy!
I want it. I’m ready. Bring it on.
Stay tuned for updates . . .