I recently read Marie Kondo’s book, the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. Of all the many books and articles I’ve read about de-cluttering, this one has struck a real chord with me. She advocates going through your things by category and instead of discarding what you don’t want, keep only what brings you joy.
She also advises to start with your clothes…and that has been something I’ve procrastinated about forever. It’s on the top of my list of de-cluttering tasks and yet I always have reasons why it’s not the right time to tackle it. No more. Like most women, I have clothing in multiple sizes. The idea of following all the best advice, to throw out what you haven’t worn in a year and to never keep things that are too small for you on the if-come that they will fit again, sent me into a procrastinating spin. So, naturally, I’ve modified the rules to break my procrastination cycle.
A few years ago, I lost a nice amount of weight. Then, with continued running and training for a few half-marathons, my body changed shape and that was a good thing. I got rid of some worn “big girl” clothes and felt pretty good about it.Since then, I’ve kept a box in my closet where I throw nice things that are now too big for me for eventual donating or selling. Then, after all that healthful living, I started having some physical issues that slowed me down significantly and interfered with my running. Then winter hit with a few of those nasty polar vortexes and my weight crept up. According to my younger daughter, I was still looking good…the muscle I’d built up really helped!
Two weeks ago, I had surgery to fix my problem. I’m healing up nicely and with some time on my hands while on short-term disability, it’s finally time to tackle my closet. Ms. Kondo recommends breaking clothing down into categories if you have a lot of items. Oh, yes, that applies to me. I have had to create way more sub-categories than even Ms. Kondo recommended! I decided to start with socks. Yes, socks. I have no emotional attachment to my socks, so this was a good place to start! After sorting out about a hundred pairs of socks, I found that I have a lot of sports-related socks. I tossed all socks with stretched-out or dried-out elastic or that had stains or holes. I also had no problem tossing some older socks into the donate bin…like the Nike socks I wore the last time I was on a golf league…20 years ago! I’ll hand it to Nike, those socks were still white and stretchy, just like new!
After my success with socks, I moved onto underwear with similar success. Then, naturally, I moved on to pajamas. This is where things started to get tough. I love pajamas! When I pick up each one and ask myself if this item of clothing gives me joy, the answer is more often yes than no. This is also where I first had to deal with size…what fits me now and what doesn’t. I decided on two additional categories to the “Konmari” method…Clothes that fit me last year and clothes that were smaller than that…that I’d planned to fit into before my physical issues overwhelmed me. My accommodation for having multiple sizes is to segregate them and to keep the smaller items out of my closet until they fit me or until I “give up” on ever fitting into them.
Next I moved on to sweatshirts…turns out I only have eight. My younger daughter commandeered 2 right away. One was a softball sweatshirt from her school, and one of the Tower of London (any remote connection to One Direction gets her attention…even just the country of origin). I kept three…an oddly short-sleeved sweatshirt from my undergraduate university, a Cardinals Baseball sweatshirt, and an 826Michigan sweatshirt. The discarded three are, a $4 grey Hanes sweatshirt from Target…no clue why I bought that. A Hard Rock Cafe Pheonix sweatshirt in hot pink that I don’t recall buying and that my younger daughter declared, “so hilariously 90’s, Mom!”, and a college sweatshirt from Germany that my father-in-law gave me years and years ago, even before I was married. It is horribly stained, but my younger daughter has her eye on it anyway…she wants me to soak it in Oxyclean and see if it is salvageable before I toss it.
So, two days into this project, I have one bag of trash (it’s at the curb, I promise!), a large box of donations, two stacks of PJ’s that are too small for me but which I really like, and the tiny hint of added closet space. I’m into this…I do believe it will change my life and help me meet other goals.
Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy in focusing on what you truly love and letting go of the rest!