A Guide to Simplifying Your Life
Real talk: do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of, well, crap you have. For example, have you ever opened your closet desperately seeking something to wear, and even though your closet is jammed packed with clothing, you have nothing to wear? Yeah, me too. Big time.
Minimalism is so trendy right now, every time I open Pinterest or Youtube I'm bombarded by minimalist room tours, simplification tips, and most recently the KonMari method. I found this video series by Youtuber MuchelleB about a 31 day challenge to simplify your life based off of the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (or KonMari) and was instantly hooked. I bought the book and started myself!
I thought I was a pretty tidy person, but after reading this book, I realize I'm not so much of a tidyer, but an organizer. I buy storage bins for everything, cram as much as I can into them, and then hide them behind cupboard or closet doors and I'm happy! This book has changed everything about how I see my home and how I tidy it.
This is different than any decluttering or tidying method I've ever seen, so let me give you a VERY basic rundown. The KonMari method has four basic rules:
1. Tidy by category- her categories are in this order, clothing, books, papers, miscellany (including the things in your kitchen/bathroom), and sentimental items.
2. Take everything out of it's normal space and spread it out so you can see it all and decide one by one which you choose to keep.
3. Only keep items that spark joy in you- that is, they give you a thrill to think about wearing them, using them, or just looking at them.
4. Every object must have a designated space in your home. If you can't find a space for something, you don't have a real use for it anyway.
Kondo also recommends that before you start tidying, you picture your ideal life in your home and you set a deadline for your tidying project. I would like to add that sometimes figuring out what "sparks joy" is harder than it seems, so creating guiding questions for each category of tidying will help you discern which objects to keep. Examples for clothing, today's category, would be things like, "Does this suit me? Does this make me feel confident? Does the feeling of the fabric make me want to wear it right now? Does this look worn?"
Today I thought I would share with you the first part of a little series I'm going to be starting around here about the journey to simplify my home using the KonMari method! I hope this inspires you to simplify your home along with me! So, lets get started!
Your first step is to take every item of clothing out of your wardrobe, your drawers, closets, under your bed, in your car, everywhere! Marie Kondo says that if after you pull all the clothing out and gather it together, any clothing left out can immediately be thrown out since you don't like it enough to remember where it even is. Now, this sounds easy, but gathering every item of clothing that you own and looking at it all piled up is a MAJOR eye opener. I was embarrassed about all the clothes I had accumulated, terrified even! Here is a picture of me for scale to show you just how big the pile was (and just how embarrassed I was).
The next step is to organize your pile into sub categories: tops, bottoms, dresses, socks, underwear, purses, accessories, and shoes. By the time I was done, my clothes took up the entire kitchen/living room space in my house. We're talking fireplace to refrigerator here people.
Once you have everything put into piles you go through them one by one, Kondo instructs you to touch each item of clothing and feel the fabric, ask yourself if it sparks joy. If not discard it, if so, add it to your keep pile. My two largest categories were tops and dresses, I cut my tops from 40 to 31 and my dresses from 41 to 20. Don't worry about the number of clothes you're getting rid of or keeping or you will stress yourself out. Use your guiding questions to make decisions. I freaked out thinking I wouldn't have any clothes left until I was able to call my mom who reminded me that I could always replace them with things that really made me happy.
With the clothes you are donating or getting rid of in one way or another, make sure you get them out of your house immediately! If you leave the bags about where you can see them you might make second thoughts, and you should always go with your gut feeling. If you're having trouble parting with an item, Kondo suggests you thank the article of clothing for the memories and say goodbye to it. This may sound a little cheesy, but it really did help me when coming to terms with giving up something that I have had for years and grown attached to, but no longer sparked joy.
When you've made your decisions, it's time to put everything back into a specific place. If an object has a designated home, you have no excuse to not put it back in that place. I treated myself to these nice velvet hangers and it actually excited me to hang my clothes up. KonMari suggests you fold your clothes vertically so that you can see everything, and so everything stands upright.
This is my before and after. I managed to completely remove that white organizer in my closet that was full of socks and underthings and downsize it into one of those tan crates in my cube organizer. See what a difference matching hangers make? Looking at this makes me so excited! It is hard work getting rid of your clothes. We grow attached to outfits that we wore during special times in our lives, we feel guilty looking at that item we splurged on but never wore, and there is serious anxiety associated with getting rid of a lot of clothing (what if I get invited to a 50's themed party???). However, when you're keeping clothing based on the simple fact that it sparks joy in your life, you will be left with a wardrobe full of things you can't wait to wear, and outfits you look and feel good in! Part with your clothes that no longer spark joy by understanding that they fulfilled an important purpose in your life; they made you happy when you bought them, and they taught you what no longer suits you allowing you to make smarter decisions in your future.
I hope this has inspired you to simplify your wardrobe, and I hope you'll be checking in every Sunday in July for a new post about tidying up using the KonMari method! If you're following along, I'm so proud of you for clearing out your wardrobe! I hope you enjoy the renewed and fresh feeling of all your clothes and get dressed with a smile on your face.