The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is one of my favourite books and is invaluable in my ongoing journey to simplicity. When I first read it, I did a wardrobe de-clutter and it was so satisfying. I re-phrased ‘does it spark joy?’ to ‘does it add value?’ as it worked better for me. My raincoat doesn’t exactly spark joy but as I live in England, it adds immeasurable value.
However, looking back, I fell into a silly and obvious trap. If, for example, I de-cluttered three worn, ill-fitting or unflattering white shirts, I then bought a single white shirt in their place, that fit my new criteria, or so I thought. I even felt a warm, self-satisfied glow, thinking I had replaced three items with one. If that wasn’t minimalism, what was?!! What I didn’t do, was ask the most basic question of ‘do I actually need a white shirt?’. Having three shirts or one was not the problem. Having one of any item that I don’t wear or have a need for, is not helping the simplicity journey!
While I am so pleased that I carried out the initial overall wardrobe de-clutter, I now carry out a seasonal, smaller de-clutter that works better for me. When I transition my clothes from one season to another, I review what I loved wearing and why and what I didn’t reach for and why. The majority of pieces are either carried forward for a future capsule or I let them go, in the hope that someone else will find a use for and a pleasure in them, which had eluded me.
I then try on every piece that I had put aside for the forthcoming season and subject them to the same scrutiny. I find the overlapping review of seasons – past and future – is a better indicator, especially now, when I have been losing some weight over the past year. Although a season is only three months, weight loss can make a difference – and far more so with bottoms, than tops, I’ve noticed.
I still read Marie Kondo’s helpful book and dip in and out of it quite often. She does frame her method as being a one-off tidying exercise and, if done properly, it never has to be done again. However, I see my seasonal weeding out as an ongoing review of what suits me and my lifestyle, rather than a significant de-cluttering task. It feels like a mindful and intentional way of reviewing and appreciating the clothes I am so lucky to have.