As you know from yesterday’s post, I’ve recently boarded the KonMari crazy train. Welcome aboard! If you haven’t read my overview of the KonMari Method, I suggest you start there. Otherwise I’ll just look like a lunatic, rather than a lunatic with a guide book.
My plan is to write about purging my house of all things that don’t “spark joy” using the KonMari method, which is detailed in the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This process will continue until my house looks like a vacant building, with nothing but tumbleweed blowing through my rooms, unencumbered by my non-joy-giving appliances.
This one must have escaped out my side door.
I started with my clothes. Like all things KonMari, the suggestion to start with clothes was written with such conviction that I wouldn’t have dared to start anywhere else. That would doom me to certain failure and a guest spot on Hoarders. No thanks!
To start the purging process you gather all of your clothes so you can assess their joy-giving properties. I’m not sure if they were supposed to be dumped in a huge pile like this, but I improvised. So sue me, KonMari.
Nolan is assessing this shirt for joy. I think it goes without saying that this process is expedited by the presence of a toddler.
As I went through my piles of clothes, I consistently ran into a few road blocks:
- Brand name items
- I would come across a barely used, say, Banana Republic sweater that I didn’t like, and I would hold that damn thing in my hands and while it would not spark joy, I would not want to get rid of it. Why? Simple. Because that shit is expensive! Because it is nice! (I realize this is all relative. Banana Republic is kind of like Prada to me). And then I would come across a Lululemon item and all bets were off, because those jackets are basically gold doubloons. And then I remembered that I want a tidy house, not a house filled with gold doubloons, because I don’t even live in medieval Spain. And then I had the power to purge these name brand items. I won’t lie, it was tough.
- Sentimental-ish items
- I’m a sucker for novelty t-shirts made specially for pub crawls. Ditto for anything emblazoned with an old school mascot. Ditto for anything I got as a gift. For years I’ve kept clothes like these jammed into the backs of drawers, unable to part with them because they were special. But as KonMari reminded me, are they really being treated as special if they’re shoved into the back of your closet, never to see the light of day? I had my answer. Out they went. (Except for a few really special things. I’m not a monster).
This sweatshirt is from my first trip with Brian. We went to New Zealand THREE MONTHS after we met! Way to be youthful and spontaneous, Liz!
This photo is from that first trip. And the sweater I’m wearing here I did keep, because it does spark joy. The “I Love Big Dumps” sweatshirt doesn’t really do it for me anymore, weirdly.
- The person I imagined I might be vs. the person I am
- As I was going through my clothes, I had some surprising (and sometimes vaguely painful) realizations. Looking back through years worth of accumulated clothes, I had to recognize that in some ways I hadn’t lived up to my own visions for myself. Our possessions tell us something about the person we wanted to be. Maybe we became that person, and maybe we didn’t. Maybe we once were a version of ourselves that we really loved, and we have to recognize that we’ve outgrown that person. When we part with the things we’ve been clinging to, we acknowledge that we aren’t the person we thought we might have been, or the one we used to be.
The sweatshirt below, for example. I loved it for years. It suited me in my twenties. I felt like myself in it. But you know, I haven’t worn it for a long while now. It doesn’t fit me that well anymore. It’s not really who I am, now.
It turns out that the KonMari Method forces you to confront yourself.
WHAT AN A-HOLE!
Although maybe now, with this new space, what we gain is the chance to find out who we are today. Maybe we need a little space to shake off the old versions of ourselves and let the new ones in.
When I was done with the purge, I had a grand total of 7 large trash bags full of clothes to donate or bring to consignment.
This isn’t a picture of my trash bags. I forgot to take a picture of my trash bags, but since trash bags all look pretty much the same I thought this image would suffice.
Once the non-joy givers were evicted, the folding and putting away process began. I love this part!
Here are my clothes, literally on a platter. I couldn’t figure out how else to transport them from my tv room without ruining my very lovely KonMari folds.
Inside of my drawer. Yeah, that’s right.
Even pajama pants can’t escape my new methods.
Overall I’m really pleased with my results so far. I’m getting unnaturally excited to clean and tidy. And I have some space now (literally) to let the person I am today explore a bit. So far so good, KonMari.
If you’re interested in the book, you can find it here.
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I’m Kondoing myself so I feel your pain. It turns out that the “the person we thought we might have been, or the one we used to be” was a child-free woman who worked in an office and actually went out for fancy dinners a few times a week.
Anyhoo, for those brand name items that I can’t bear to part with but I know I’ll never wear again, I started a poshmark closet so I can consign them but still visit with them in my closet.
Yes! Exactly. I think the person I thought I was going to be was just a little cooler, more hip but not a hipster. I’m not quite sure. I never quite made it!
I’ve started reading the book but haven’t started Tidying yet…this post reminded me of a quote from a random book (God on a Harley, by Joan Brady) offered to someone cleaning out a sentimentally packed closet:”Memories don’t look good on you”
That quote makes me want to read the book! But if I get that book I better read it straightaway, or else it will become clutter and I’ll have to get rid of it ASAP. 😉
I did about as much purging as I could handle when we moved recently but I like the idea of this… the point about brand names and “expensive” items is so true! I have so many things saved simply b/c of where in the world I bought it or because I got a great deal on it! Oh, and I really appreciate your honesty about the trash bags… I was thinking to myself “those really don’t look like Liz’s trash bags… there’s something fishy going on here…” 😉
You really “get” me and my trash bags, Mer.
Liz, about what percent of your clothes did you get rid of? I feel like if I did this, I’d have about 4 things left.
I think I got rid of about half of my things. I’m not sure the exact amount, but I think it was in the ballpark of at least 50%…
My first thought on this was… “Ooh time to hit up the thrift stores to pick up what all the people on this train are pitching out!”. I realize this should be considered a red flag and I should probably skip the thrift store and head straight to the bookstore and get reading! Moving every few years used to keep me and my husband honest and it’s probably time we purged our house (but this time without a move, please!).
You know, I did read that donations were up because of the KonMari madness! I bet you could score some good deals. I mean, of course, that’s not the point of the philosophy at all. But still. Good deals.
So I haven’t read the book but my friend did so basically it’s the same thing, right? Anyway, she said that one of the concepts isn’t about what what you get rid of, but what you keep. Make a big pile and then pull out what you really want to keep. I tried to do that before we did our international move. Kind of. And then I just threw out a bunch of stuff and shipped a bunch of stuff that I’m sure I’ll be confused about when it arrives after its 2 month cruise.
I bet when it arrives after two months you won’t even remember you had it. When I traveled for six months in my 20s I had 1 bag with me and that was IT. I seriously forgot what I owned, so clearly I didn’t miss it all that much!
I can see it now, Casey… you’ll be opening up those boxes soon and yelling “why did I ship all these tampons?!”
I haven’t finished reading yet but since I “heard about” this method at basically every turn I am going to take the plunge. She does say, “Don’t change the method to suit your personality.” Do you think that means I can’t break tastes into smaller chunks? Clothes day becomes: socks and undies day, bottoms day, tops day, winter clothes day. I literally have way way too many clothes in this family for one day, particularly since I only have about 3 hrs of free time daily, if that.
Also, my super clean friend who does this by location said before anything goes back in every inch of every thing (space and items) must be washed first. Then added it would take at least 30 hrs of two of us working to finish my just the inside of my house, not even the garage. This is why I’ve put it off.
So, do you think it screws it up to break it into smaller chunks? Thanks! Love your articles on this.
Hey Anna! Oh I think you definitely should break it into chunks! When I was first reading the book I got the impression that this was all done over the course of a day or two. But no! Kondo says the whole thing can take 6 months! You’re just supposed to keep moving along with it once you get started. You can’t possibly do it all at once, so breaking it down makes sense. I think she even suggests that (i.e. shirts all at once, then pants, etc). As for cleaning everything, I don’t remember reading that and there is no way in hell I’m doing that even if it is written in the book 🙂
Great, thanks! (I did mean tasks, not tastes. LOL) I don’t know if the cleaning part is in there, but my friend said if I’m going to do it that’s the way. She helps people clean/organize. So if you take all the clothes out of a drawer or closet you’d wash every inch of the inside, and hangers, before putting anything back in. And make sure all the clothes aren’t dusty, etc.
I think I will start this with socks.:-)