Over the years, I have developed skills and methods that I’m constantly adjusting as our needs change. Recently, a couple different friends recommended a book that had just been released and I decided to see what all the excitement was all about. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up- The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo, basically spoke my love language from the very first page. *sigh*
I had always considered myself a very organized person, I mean it’s why I started a blog and business after all. What I found in my own personal space, there were still items that I just couldn’t, no matter how I tried, let go of them. It was within the pages of the book that I had an “ah-hah” moment, several actually, and it made so. much. sense. Not just with me, but also with how I will help my clients. Remember when I said roll up your sleeves? That time would be now… First stop, your closet.
Raise your hand if you’ve done the random grabbing of items and tossing them in the donate or sell pile only to notice that you didn’t really make any headway. I used to do that ALL the time, but then I realized there were items that would sit there for years before I did anything with them. It’s like they hid behind other clothing hoping I wouldn’t see. One of my favorite things to do, is turn my hangers completely around backwards.
As I wore things, I would hang them back in the closet the “normal” way. At the end of the year, whatever was left hanging backwards was donated. It was a good system because it also forced me to try to wear other items. Sort of like being on a rescue mission to save my own clothes. The problem is, a year is a long time and even if I did it by seasons, it still didn’t give me that feeling of accomplishment I was hoping for.
Then I read the book, and one simple question changed my perspective, “Does it spark joy?” When you are holding that item in your hand, does it make you happy? Put aside the fact that you just wore it last week, that it still may have tags on it, that your best friend gave it to you… When you are holding it, does it make you happy? If not, get rid of it be it through donation or selling that item. Trust me. Do it. I spoke with a young lady who said she held on to her rehearsal dinner dress simply because it cost so much money. However, the marriage had ended and every time she looked at it, brought back bad feelings. I told her that having such an item was doing more damage than it ever cost and try to sell it if she could. When she thought of it that way, she said it made perfect sense.
Last year I lost nearly 40 pounds and my body completely changed. Somehow, I still had a lot of clothes that I hadn’t let go because they were my favorite at one time, but now didn’t belong. Knowing that I had no intentions to go back to my old ways, I also had to let go of the clothes that were a part of the old me. As you’re going through your closet, it’s a good idea to try on every piece of clothing. I know that this may sound time consuming, but it’s necessary. It will also give you the chance to see if anything is too bad to repair, has spots/stains, or is just out of style completely.
A good point that Marie Kondo brought up, storing seasonal clothes is an outdated practice, and I have to agree. Most times, these items are stored in plastic containers that are bulky and cumbersome to get to, not to mention easily forgotten. I found with my own closet that many of the items I wear can be worn all year long. Often I use my clothing as layering pieces so I may still wear a cute tank top from the summer under a cardigan in the fall or winter.
After you’ve narrowed down your closet, it’s time to get creative with your pieces. There are various apps out there to help you use items from your own closet to come up with different styles, but my favorite tool to use is Pinterest. If I’m bored with how I wear an item, I simply type it in the search and several options come up. I did this with a denim chambray top and just look:
The key now that you’ve cleared out the clutter is to keep it that way.
1.) When you’re buying items, be sure that you’re completely in love with it and don’t settle. Basically buy intentionally and not on a whim. Those are the clothes that end up staying in your closet with the tags still on and no receipt to be found.
2.)Be cautious when people gift you clothing. While it’s generous, if it’s not your taste, don’t accept it to be nice. Tell them it was very thoughtful, but that you have another item in mind. Or if it has the tag and you know where it’s from, see if you can exchange it if the gift giver didn’t provide the receipt.
3.)Be mindful of your clothing when you’re putting your laundry away. If you find something that’s damaged, ask yourself if you’re really going to fix it and if so do it right then, don’t procrastinate. If you know that you didn’t like the way the article looked on you or the way it fit, now’s the time to let it go before you even put it back in your closet or drawer.
This is going to be a big task, so be diligent and set aside enough time to complete it and not set yourself up for failure. As you touch each item and ask yourself the magic question “Does it make you happy?” I think you’ll be surprised how fast you progress.
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