Out With the Old

Dear Reader,

Have you ever heard of the KonMari method? Named after its creator Marie Kondo, the method is a simple system for organizing your home by getting rid of items that do not bring you joy. I listened to her audiobook, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a few years ago and feel like it has been referenced in pop culture hundreds of times over. Unlike Marie Kondo, I’m not a very tidy person and it is kind of hard for me to discard things all at once.

Today, I half-heartedly embarked on the task of tidying up. Luckily, for me, this weekend is not that busy and I also have a good opportunity to clean up the apartment. I am not a particularly dirty person, but I am messy. Clothes, books, papers, and even my email inbox are in varying degrees of disarray. This weekend, I would like to get everything in order and then do some actual cleaning.

Tidying up is harder and more time-consuming than I initially expected. When I touch my clothes about 90% of them bring me some sort of weak positive emotion. None of my clothing (save for a few pieces of exercise attire) are particularly new. When I look at each article of clothing, I think about how fitting an item was for a previous occasion. Even if my navy long-sleeved dress is over five years old, it is functional, so I should keep it, right? Also, I have a few sets of business professional attire. I am certainly not married to any of these pieces, but I just need them. They do not bring me joy, but I would be a fool to throw out the paint suits and office dresses that I took so long to acquire.  

After wading through and re-organizing piles of dark clothing, I was able to get rid of just six items. That was hard, but I do not feel as if I accomplished much. After weighing the value of my clothes based on the amount of joy they brought me, I have calculated that the joy factor reads only about at a 4 out of 10. I like nice clothes, but I don’t like buying nice clothes. Most of my clothing is functional and worn, but not damaged. The fact that all my clothing “works” makes me reluctant to buy new “equally functioning” pieces. Perhaps, if my closet were filled with newer, nicer items rather than my worn ones, then they would spark more joy within me.

Part of me wonders whether the problem is not the volume of clothing I have (a normal amount I suppose) or the nice-ness, but, perhaps, the organization of it all. As it stands, some of my shirts and dresses hang from hangers, pants, skirts, and casual attire are folded (or haphazardly placed) on shelves, and undergarments are shoved into a box. The presentation of these garments on a good day looks quite cluttered. Perhaps, I am more concerned with the way my closet is arranged rather than what is actually inside it. Maybe, I just need to reorganize rather than get rid of things.

You know what, Dear Reader, I think Marie Kondo was right. I am unsatisfied with my closet not because of the volume of clothing or the organization of it, but because my clothes just don’t bring me joy. I am sitting here writing these words to you in 8-year old sweatpants and a 6-year old sweatshirt. My outfit could enroll in 3rd and 1st grade respectively…. Perhaps, it is time to go out with the old and in with the new!

I don’t think that I am KonMari-ing correctly, but the method has given me a lot to consider. Other tips of Marie Kondo include: 1. tidying up by type (books, clothes, office supplies, etc.) rather than by location, 2. visualizing your space post-tidying to help you through process, and 3. tidying up all at once. I think I failed the first time around. Like most things in life, in order to be successful, actions must be carried out deliberately and with purpose. I will consider my early stab at the KonMari method to be a prelude of what is sure to be a “life-changing magical” adventure. At the end of the day, Dear Reader, I hope we are all just surrounded by joy.



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