Picture this. Barney’s New York Warehouse sale. Or. Any bargain bin sale. Sample sale. Whatever. Piles and piles of clothes. Staring at all of my clothes in the center of my room feels much like one of those sales! Minus the grabby hands of others of course. Here. In my room. In the center of my floor. It’s just me. And all of my clothes. I mean ALL of them. Not all are shiny and new either. What garments in all of these garments “sparks joy” is now the question. Over and over again. Being human, throw in seasons, memories and whatevers associates with these garments, it’s not always so easy to let go. Or really be honest with oneself to what really brings us joy. Feeling joy. Not thinking joy, feeling joy. Not just with clothes either. We’ll start there for the sake of this post and order of process for decluttering according to Marie Kondo.
I am approaching my 39th birthday. My bestie of almost twenty years mentions a book to me that she is reading. I am in the middle of one book at the moment and given the recommended participation with that book, I am not really interested in another book that calls me to action. I listen anyway. She had seen successes immediately. The Life-Changing Magic of Tiding: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. Having seen and read about this book on GOOP some time ago and watching the demonstration videos GOOP so kindly provided, I think okay, okay. This is the second mention. May be time to check it out. Speaking of checking it out, does the Beverly Hills Library have it? Yes they do. I am wait listed. What? Could everyone be reading and participating in clearing out clutter? Will the city of Los Angeles soon be organized and folding their garments KonMari method? Two months pass. I miss the first hard copy available to me. I want to think I don’t need it and I neglect to pick it up as a result. I check availability again. Wait listed again. Another wait list? Seriously? A shorter one this time thanks to Alice the librarian genius. There are several wait lists. I still can’t believe it. Finally and email notice in my inbox. The book is now available and ready in my queue. The accelerated version. Audio. Four hours or so later I am have finished listening to the unabridged version. Ms. Kondo writes, “Once.” I will only have to do this once. U-huh. Does she know how many things I have? Maybe my things really hold me back? I love my things. Mostly high quality luxury goods purchased from a retail resale houses (I pride myself on knowing how to shop) or gifted to me, I think, I can’t imagine that there is anything I would want to get rid of. I already roll my t-shirts and color coordinate my closet. I do feel stuck though. I have been working more than one job most of my life. Freelancing and a steady health insurance kind of job combo. One balancing out the other you know. Maybe clearing could provide the “life-changing” magic for me in my work life. I recently downsized in my in my upgraded life. Maybe now is as good a time as any to take a closer look at what is in my home. Maybe my home and things could really be bringing me down. In asking myself does this “spark joy” and if I don’t know why, in asking the WHYs, will I really begin to find out the answers? One way to find out. Start.
Survey before starting: Discarding by category
This is certainly an approach I have not taken before. At first I am overwhelmed and anxious at the amount of clothing and stuff I have. Where on earth had all this come from? The psychology of “does this bring you joy” certainly begins to make sense. I only want things that bring me joy after looking at all these clothes and jewelries and shoes unworn and kept from seeing the light of day (and night for that matter) now piled in the center of my floor. A yes pile, no pile. GoodWill pile, maybe pile. I don’t know pile. Somehow I feel as if I am not making headway, just moving item from pile to pile. My bestie, again the person responsible for recommending this book, comes over to check in on me and rummage through my GoodWill bag. I don’t think anyone is suppose to help and it does become a little harder. While I am happy to see her, the only easy in having her come by is that she assists me in carrying several large garbage bags to my car. Opinions aren’t supposed to factor in and fast is key. Thinking about items will cause problems and lapses in discarding as I understand. I don’t feel peace right away that is for sure and all I want to do is eat pretzels and Nutella. Oh boy! That’s new too! I am not an emotional eater ( not these days anyway!) Oh my!
By category starting with clothes looks something like this. Borrowed a hard copy. Tangible reference required. I need to discard in order. Clothes first. (I hope I can follow through with the order)
A little more sorting and discarding of clothes, costume jewelry and cosmetics..
To GoodWill. Mid-day. Day two. Mid-sorting. I can’t take it. I need to get out of my apartment! Too many garbage bags. Too much stuff. How had I accumulated all this stuff again? Must get rid of immediately.
Books and some Miscellaneous..
Collecting books from all over the apartment. How would I even know is some of these books brings me joy when I can’t even see the titles. Apparently the words needed to be covered. I had covered all of my books in brown paper. I clap. Decision making could be easier from this action according to Ms. Kondo. I really need an energy shift. I read more magazines anyway.
I am still discarding and clearing out clutter. I haven’t even really begun to find a place for everything. I do see magic though! I always believe in magic and that I am magical so this already belief probably helps me see magic in the clearing. The reason I post the photo of me in the first few days is that in the clearing of clutter I begin to see clearer through my blurred vision, more humor and myself becoming more “freed-up” in ways unexpected. With less and dressing in less clothing. My uniform as a kid was mostly a swimsuit so less in some ways is more for me. Beach day? Anyway, standing in my underpinnings and t-shirt for end of day three photo, I know I am not looking like a swimsuit model. However, staring at myself in the mirror through my camera lens, and not having exercised for the the last two months and eating way more than my fair share of Nutella and pretzels (yep, I went there) , how could I, and yet I feel beautiful. A beginning of feeling more peace, a clearing of the path in front of me and above all happiness. Isn’t that the point after all?
My 39th Birthday has come and gone (see photos below). I am a year older. Things are clearer. Mostly from purging unwanted non joy giving items than me being a year older. Clearer none the less. And lighter too! Literately and metaphorically. And no more pilates ball in my shower. I am still discarding, so mountain moving results, TBD. I’ll keep you posted.
I do hope you have enjoyed my unfiltered, somewhat unedited real life documentation of my decluttering. I hope this glimpse has provided you with inspiration and not the inclination to run the other way. I say glimpse as you know it is a glimpse. I, of course, took many many more photos than shown. How many bags of “stuff” does one really need to see. If you have read and participated using the KonMari method let me know your experience. If not, perhaps your interest has peaked just enough for your to read or even listen to this book. As for me, after I find a place for everything, I will be hanging out more in my LBD’s (little black dresses) editing photos on my iPhone 6 or whatever version is next, eating cake and drinking champagne. And water. And Kombucha. Oh and lighting sparklers and only surrounding myself with things that truly “spark joy”. That, I know for sure.
Until Next Time…
*****All photos are intentionally different*****
Related and example of photos from warehouse sales: