Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up yet? If you haven’t, you need to grab a copy this weekend!
I first read the book when it came out a couple of years ago and at the time, I had just moved so the message didn’t hit home since I’d already purged before moving. However, I’ve recently been on a mission to clear out more space in my tiny closet so I picked it up in hopes that it would be more helpful this time around. Whoa! Let me just say, there is a reason this book has “life-changing magic” in the title. 😉
Marie Kondo is a Japanese cleaning consultant who developed her own system called The KonMari Method to help her clients get rid of clutter. What I love most about the book is her holistic approach and understanding of how our living space affects our bodies and mental and spiritual wellbeing.
It’s a very strange phenomenon, but when we reduce what we own and essentially “detox” our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well. ~Marie Kondo
It’s all about Joy
Marie’s criteria for designating what to keep and what to discard boils down to this: hold the item in your hand and ask yourself,“Does this spark joy?”
I know that sounds simple, but it’s a revolutionary concept. How many things do we hold onto because we think we should have them, we might need them, or they’re simply ties to our past that we’re not ready to let go of?
For me, this message really hit home when it came to weeding the clothes out of my closest. I’ve been on a huge journey this year about my body and body image. I’m sure I’ll share more at some point, but the short version is that I’ve been dealing with some health challenges which have gotten more severe over the past year and recently resulted in me having surgery. As a result of all this, I’ve seen a lot of changes in my body size and shape, which of course, has had a big impact on the clothes that I wear.
I’m pretty good at being a minimalist in most areas of my life, but when it comes to clothes, I’m a bit of a hoarder. My challenge recently has been my fluctuating body size/weight. I wasn’t ready to get rid of certain clothes because I was expecting at some point to be able to wear them, but I also began to notice how keeping clothes around (especially clothes in smaller sizes that I couldn’t fit into) started to impact my body image and self-esteem overall.
When I would attempt to purge my closet before, I’d focus on practical questions like:
- Does this fit and/or do I anticipate it will fit in the near future? (If so, then keep.)
- How much money did I spend on it? (The more money I’d spent, the more likely I was to keep the item.)
- Is it seasonally appropriate? (If not, then it’d go in storage.)
Instead, shifting the conversation and asking myself if the item sparks joy was an absolute game-changer. In a matter of 30 minutes, I had cleared out half of my closest:
I really should have taken a picture from the side so you could see the height of this pile, but it came out to one gigantic garbage bag. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot, but this is the third time in the last couple of months I’ve purged my clothes so altogether it’s made a big impact.
Create space for what you want in your life
In the week since I’ve cleared out my closet using The KonMari Method, I can’t tell you how absolutely amazing it feels when I open the door and see all the cleared space.
On a small scale, it means I now have more room for clothes in my closet that fit well and make me feel confident. On a large scale, this is a metaphor for creating space for what you want in your life.
Earlier this year, I took a break from cooking lunches (not surprisingly, I’ve since come back to making all meals from scratch) because I was feeling burned out. I was absolutely amazed at the space this created for me to do things the things that I needed at that point for my emotional/mental health (e.g. take more walks, get away from my computer, read, etc). I also did some soul searching and decided that after five and a half years, it was time to quit my part-time gig assisting cooking classes. And guess what? That gave me the time and space to finish writing my fourth cookbook which is being published (in print!) this fall.
There are a lot of reasons why we hold onto physical possessions, but with the change in seasons, I think this is the perfect time to consider clearing the space – physically and mentally – to create the life we want. And sometimes, that life simply starts with a cleaner closet. 😉