The Sex and the City movie just happened to be on several nights in a row as I began my discarding process, and I felt a bit at odds with KonMari at the time. In her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, Kondo advises that we should commune with our stuff in private and in complete silence.
In the movie, when Carrie cleans through the closet at her old apartment before moving in with Big, she has her three best friends with her – plus adorable little Lily – along with lots of champagne and great music to help guide her in deciding what should stay and what should go. Well, Carrie’s way seems so much more fun! Alas, I stuck to the KonMari way.
The KonMari Method is not that far off from my own personal experience with moving. During previous moves – including moving my Mom – I’d already begun to sort, discard and pack according to category, long before KonMari had made its way into my life. I started to sort that way because it was too confusing and difficult to gauge how much of any item I had until I gathered like items all in one place, then eliminated as needed. So, in essence, I had begun doing a very similar tidying on my own. Still, this book helped me to take it one step further.
Moving is a great time to purge and if you have the time, do it well in advance. That way, you can pack all the vases, mementos, cookbooks and so on in the same boxes. That will make it so much easier to unpack at your new home. If you pack by room, the items might not go into the same room at your new place. Clothing, of course, is different, but you might decide to create a library and the books that once went into your office or master bedroom are now going into your magnificent new library.
One of the great things about the KonMari method is it takes you out of the mindset of looking for ways to display or store things and into questioning whether or not you need them in the first place. Also, by categorizing your belongings, you not only see the quantity of items you own, you can determine how many near-duplicates you have and just how many your lifestyle requires.
Kondo prompts us to ask ourselves about each item, “Does this spark joy?” I’ve added a caveat to that: “Am I willing to pay to move it?” If I don’t feel the least bit interested in paying to move it next time I move, it goes in the pile. That has taken me off the fence several times.
I have to also admit that using the Stylebook app in conjunction with the closet cleanse has been a real eye-opener for me. Not only was I required to touch every single item in my wardrobe and choose what brings me joy, I also have an inventory which will help me to make better buying decisions in the future, as well as better utilizing my wardrobe in general. More on that when I discuss my closet in-depth.
Seems I’ve always had an eBay pile which has held up my tidying, but this time I’m going full force. i probably added another 30 items easily to the eBay pile just from my closet. Kondo doesn’t really cover the idea of selling your discards in her book, but in a transcript of a Q&A she gave which I found online, she said if it brings you joy to sell it, then do so, but it will take time and are you willing to put your joy on hold while you do? Good question but at the present time, I’d say it’s a yes for me.
One thought I had along the way is that, God forbid, should I not walk this earth tomorrow, all my belongings would just be stuff, stuff that gets donated or sold at a garage sale or parceled out among my family or trashed. So, while I may have an emotional attachment to an item, no one else probably will, at which point I have to ask myself, why should I? If something truly sparks joy, that’s not an issue. It’s always the things we ruminate about that are the culprits, energy wasters, power takers.
Kondo solves the problem of where to begin. Other books offer alternative methods of cleaning and organizing, and I have found a few that delve into the psychology of why we have what we have. But Kondo uses a very pragmatic approach to discover which belongings truly bring us joy, and provides a gameplan to attack in a specific order. Does she answer all my questions as I’m going through the process? No, but it’s OK to think for ourselves and that’s part of the reason I started to blog about it. You might have similar questions.
I’m very excited to be on this journey, and I hope that you’ll be inspired to begin your own and to share your thoughts. I can’t wait to see how much I’ve discarded in the end!
So, enough talking, let’s get to work! Next up: Clothing.